Teaching, Loving and connecting with children have been a big part of our (Seth and Theresa) story. We love to be silly, play hard, listen and love the children who God puts in our lives. We spent 5 years camp counseling together as we gave and received God’s Love to/from campers and staff. Seth has worked with youth and children in the church for over 10 years. We are also both trained teachers (Seth was formerly taught Special Education here in the Valley, and Theresa continues to teach ESL part-time). And now Eliana, our daughter is part of our family. We feel deeply rooted in Jesus’ call to care for “the least of these”: those with little voices. The LORD continues to lead us into this new (but old) chapter of walking with churches as they share God’s Love in their local neighborhoods.
Eastside has been a huge blessing in our lives. Eastside supported our call to ministry as Seth attended Seminary from 2012-2015. Eastside provided significant backing with both human and financial resources as we walked with together with other congregations that wanted to share God’s Love with kids in their neighborhoods. We have been richly blessed. We are thankful for a church community that has prayed for us and labored with us as we discovered what God was calling us to do.
In August of 2015 our family officially began a 2 year term as local mission workers through Virginia Mennonite Missions. Our directive: to partner with several local congregations here in the Shenandoah Valley, walking with them as they share and receive God’s love while living in relationship with their neighbors. We have created space and worked to encourage congregational partnerships where churches are working TOGETHER instead of working alone. So far, this work has included starting 3 after school Bible programs for children ages 4-12. Each meets once a week at a local church, and we call it “Kids Club.” Three nights a week, we get to help lead Kids Club at three different churches. While the format of each evening varies, we always sing together, do a craft or game, have a snack and share a story from the Bible. We visit with many of the children’s families when we pick them up and take them home in a “walking bus.” It is God’s work, and it’s beautiful.
Three aspects of this ministry include ministering to children who attend (from the church and from the community), to the children’s families, and to the congregation that is seeking to share/receive God’s Love while in relationship with their neighbors. We see all three (kids, families, congregations) as places where God has called us to be.
We continue to follow the Holy Spirit’s leading as we continue to discover how this calling on our lives fits with God’s Mission in the world. Please join as we pray daily for the children in Shenandoah Valley who have attended or will attend a Kids Club this year. Pray that they would experience the Good News we have in Jesus Christ. Pray for their families, and for the churches with whom we are co-laboring.
(Seth, Theresa and Eliana)