Working regularly with 3- and 4-year-old children is always an adventure—but well worth the energy and effort required! I remember that portion of scripture where Jesus said, “Whoever welcomes a little child like this in My name welcomes Me” (Matthew 18:5). Sometimes I forget this in the thick of things at Busy Bees Playroom. Much of the time the tasks just don’t seem very spiritual: wiping noses, breaking up wrestling matches, “Keep your dress down, please,” “Please don’t pour the sand over your friend’s head,” teaching the formation of letters and encouraging the correct crayon grip, trying hard to understand everything each child wants to tell me, singing enthusiastically while suggesting “please take the rhythm sticks out of your mouth.” But overall there is joy in being with these 11 little ones and in getting to know their families.
I wish you could be there to see one little boy whose face lights up each week when I say it is time for chapel. He absolutely loves when we all walk upstairs to the little chapel and have a Bible story with the flannelgraph pictures. It is his favorite school thing. Aside from recess.
December was special as we had our short Christmas program in the chapel for the families. The children stood remarkably still (mostly) and even sang. It was a miracle! Then, thanks to the efforts of Michelle Akins and Sandra Fish, we were able to give a special gift to each family. Michelle and Sandra had taken “school pictures” of each child and made photos in various sizes and presented the packages to the parents. And NFC’s knitting group asked if they could provide a winter hat for each busy bee. The ladies made the most wonderful hats, and I wrapped them up along with a Bible story book and a little toy and gave them to the children as well. They looked so cute as they proudly wore their new hats to school the last week before break!
Maybe you can catch the essence of the Busy Bees ministry if I spotlight a few of our moments from the fall:
• Meeting one afternoon with a mom to chat about her son and how he was doing and getting to just be a listening ear for about an hour and a half; knowing better how to pray for her.
• Rejoicing with one family as the dad finally got a job (after joining them in prayer about it for several months).
• Watching Sandra free her time on a Monday to take a struggling mom out for coffee while Michelle and I spent the afternoon with her kids.
• Putting my foot in my mouth when commenting to one dad on how nice he looked in his coat and tie and that he must be heading off to work—only to be corrected that he was heading off to court. (I was embarrassed, but told him I would be praying for him. (I’m so glad God doesn’t require us to be “smooth” all the time in order for him to use us.)
• The ongoing blessing of eight wonderful volunteers who rotate in as my helpers. They show up every Monday and Tuesday afternoon to play, do projects, enjoy (and often provide) snacks, pray, read stories, and teach letters and numbers and shapes and colors and how to get along with each other to these lively children God has brought to this class.
I’m already giving thought and planning to next year’s program, trusting that God will continue to provide the strength, the volunteers, and the families who are to be a part of this Busy Bees Playroom ministry. Let me know if you want to come for a visit and to join the fun!