Sunday, October 5, 2008

Faith and Mission Work

Last weekend at church, we picked up a packet for our neighborhood food drive. Faith and I worked on it last weekend, filling out the fliers with our info, and then stuffing them into bags. Then we loaded up the wagon and went door to door. We managed to actually talk to most of our neighbors as we were going door to door, instead of leaving the bags on the doors.

Faith was SO CUTE. She'd go up, ring the bell and when someone would answer she would say, "We're collecting food for hungry people who don't have food."
After this, the person at the door would look at me for a translation.
"Food drive." I'd say, and recognition would dawn.
"Ah!" they would say, "Cans?"
"Yes. Cans or boxes." I'd reply.
And then, off to their kitchen while they found something. No one who talked to her turned her down. Some only had one or two things. Some gave so much Faith couldn't carry it back to the wagon. Our retired 1st grade teacher neighbor invited her in and had her choose whatever she wanted out of her (well stocked) pantry. Faith chose many, with a little help and a lot of encouragement by J. :)

Saturday, we went back around (as our fliers said we would) looking to see if any of the houses we'd left fliers for had left anything for us. (They hadn't. All of 3 houses worth, I'll admit.) We came back home and boxed up our gatherings. Two full (and heavy!) boxes worth. Not bad for a 5 year old, an afternoon, and a single block's worth of door to door. We loaded them into the car and took them over to the church. We dropped them off with the volunteer who was helping gather the collections and back home we went.

Not bad, if you ask me.

However, Faith isn't satisfied with this. "Where are the hungry people who need the food, Mom?"
"Where are the hungry people who we collected the food for? I want to give the food to them."

Wow. Um. I explained to her that the food would be sorted and taken to the people who need it over the next few weeks. She's not satisfied. Even this morning she told me she wants to go give the food to people who are hungry. I guess we're going to have to find a local food pantry or soup kitchen who will allow a 5 year old in to help. I know most of them around here require kids to be at least 12 to help out... so this may be an interesting task. I have contacts in this regard though, and so I will make inquiries on Tuesday, when we get back to work. If that fails, I guess maybe we can pack up some sack lunches and head to the areas in town where homeless folks hang out, and have her help hand those out.

I just love what a huge heart she has toward others. She is such a giving kid. Don't get me wrong, she has her selfish moments. (She is 5 after all!) Twice in the past week she has bought lolly pops. Once, with her points at church, another with her Way-To-Go! points at school- both of which she had to work hard to earn, I'll add- and both times she not only got one for herself, but one for her sister. And waited to eat hers until her sister had one too. Even if it meant waiting hours.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Elementary School

This week marks a new beginning in our lives: Elementary School.

That's right. Faith started Kindergarten this week. She has been SO EXCITED for school to start since February, and it's finally here. The night before school started she got nervous for the first time. For a kid who has been begging to take the bus to school since she was 3, asking Mommy to take her to her class the first day was shocking to us. After talking with her some, I realized that she thought she'd be all alone trying to find her class room. I assured her she wouldn't be alone, that there would be lots of friends and teachers and adults to help her. Besides, her good friend from just two houses up the street would be going to the very same room with her, as well as riding the bus. That calmed her down a bunch.

She had a great first day, and was so happy. And tired. Not quite tired enough to take a nap when she got home, but close. I think she has gone to bed around 6:30 all week so far.

It only took until the second day before she got in trouble for talking in class. I am so not surprised. She is a little chatterbug, and always has been. To Faith's credit, she told us about it at dinner. Her teacher didn't send a note home though, so it wasn't a huge deal. Hopefully she'll learn to control that voice of hers soon.

Here's hoping for a really good year. I hope her enthusiasm lasts and doesn't wane as the days go by.

*wipes off the dust*

I realize that while I've had this account for nearly a year now, I haven't actually used it much. While reading (and enjoying) several of my coworkers blogs this morning (in between bouts of work) I decided that I should post more here. Not that I think I have all that much to say... but I'm sure I can come up with something. The truth is that I've been blogging for years- just not in a public forum. Now to get used to blogging here as well.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Autistic Children in Church

I just came across this article regarding a family with an autistic son who have been kicked out of their church. To summarize, the boy, a very large 13 year old, has severe autism and, according to the church is considered a distraction and his behavior has been classified as "harassment." The church has filed a restraining order against the family, and the court upheld it upon appeal.

I understand that there are two sides to every story. Having worked with autistic children myself, I know that they can sometimes be quite out of control or display behavior that would be quite disruptive in a public worship setting. Having worked with families of autistic children, I know just how important it is to continue with things that are important and meaningful, and how life cannot completely stop when you have a child with autism. I understand the church wants to create an environment that is safe to all the people there and doesn't want to be liable for any injuries an out of control autistic child may accidentally inflict.

Stories like this one make me very appreciative of the church I attend and work for here. We are very accepting of people with disabilities or problems. We also have a ministry set up to assist people with severe disabilities and their families. Our ministry has many volunteers who work one on one with kids (and some adults) while their families are allowed to worship.

Now, clearly I don't know the whole story behind the article... but it does make me sad to see headlines like this one in the news. There are alternatives, for both sides, and it doesn't have to come to legal action from a church against their own parishioners.