This summer, I had the pleasure of working as the intern for the Children’s Ministry. We had a shorter summer this year due to the change of the public school schedule, and therefore we had four straight weeks of camps!

After VBS, we had a short basketball camp led by Mike and Matt Epps. I had the opportunity to lead the kids in a devotion two out of the three days. Leading a devotion opened my eyes to the opportunity I had to teach the kids about what it means to be a Christian. Taking care of babies and playing with toddlers on a Sunday morning is one thing but teaching our elementary-age kids about how to show God’s love (even through basketball) showed me that there are opportunities for everybody all the time to be Christian role models.

My favorite camp this summer was Passport! Although I fell down some steps on the second day, I never felt like I missed out on the activities. The main reason I still felt so included even while I could not walk very far, was because of our students. I had the privilege to ride in the backseat with the four girls for the three hour trip up there. I can remember when some of these girls were born, so it was exciting to see how they had grown up. Unfortunately, there were some quite memorable (and not fun) mishaps, but these girls continued to participate with unwavering energy. It was an amazing experience to get to know these girls on a more personal level. The most special moment for me during the entire time we were there was at lunchtime after I fell down the steps. I hobbled my way over to the dining room and waited for the girls to come from their craft rotation. When they saw me, they ran up and hugged me all at once and presented me with a gift they made for me after they heard I got hurt. I’ll be honest, I almost started crying. In just a short amount of time of getting to know them, these girls showed compassion in such a genuine way. They continued to show compassion by sharing their snacks and giving me a nickname (please don’t ask me what it is) and checking up on me. I am grateful that I can say that I am truly friends with these girls.

Another reason Passport was my favorite camp this summer was because our new Minister for Children and Families came along. In fact, the drive up there was his first day! I had a wonderful time getting to know him and seeing how he interacts with our students. I felt nervous that he would take over and leave me and Ellen in the dust. However, I was put to ease when I saw how he regarded both me and Ellen in our respective roles. Even though I am not going into ministry or education, I felt seen and heard as an equal. To be honest, being an adult in this church is a new position for me since coming back from college. I am being granted responsibility that I have never had before as a student or youth, and sometimes I feel like I need an Adult to help me before I remember that I am the Adult. So, to be respected as an Adult even when I don’t feel like an Adult, gives me the strength and the inspiration to be an Adult.

If you liked hearing about my summer with the Children’s Ministry, then I invite everybody this Sunday to hear from our children and youth themselves. Although this has been a shorter summer, it has been no less eventful. This Sunday, we also encourage all children and youth to bring their backpacks (textbooks not required) to church, but not for a math lesson. During the service, we will be doing the Blessing of the Backpacks where we ask for blessings for our kids as they start a new school year. As we start another wonderful year of learning, I am excited to watch our children grow.

Gretchen LeGrand