Fishers UMC Blog

Making a Difference—One Person at a Time

Last month, thirty-eight people of all ages gathered on an unseasonably cold Saturday morning to simply be love in action for a senior neighbor in our community.  They scraped paint, power washed an ENTIRE house, prepared flowerbeds, delivered care packages they had assembled, and the list goes on… I went out to visit those who were serving, feeling a bit sheepish that I had gotten them into this endeavor on such a chilly and damp day.  However, as I walked up to each group, they expressed disappointment that the weather was preventing them from doing more, and that they were enjoying their time getting to know their new neighbor.  

Fishers UMC partnered with Shepherd’s Center of Hamilton County to give us an opportunity to bless seniors in our community, but also to build relationships, as it is in the context of relationship that lives are transformed.  Besides serving the group shared a light breakfast together; it provided a chance to talk and fellowship, to make a connection.  

Below are some of the stories that were a result of this time together. The first describes the experience of a small group that served:

The Seekers Sunday school class signed up for the day of caring with the hope of establishing a continuing friendship with a community member. Eight class members with varying skills, even a few brandishing power tools, showed up to weed, clean out flowerbeds, plant geraniums & mulch. It was obvious that the homeowner, a woman who'd had some recent health problems, had once taken lots of pride in her yard. It was easy to sense her frustration at not being able to attack the problem herself. She began watching the work from her windows, but as we asked more questions on what she'd like done, she decided to put on a jacket & supervise from the driveway. The suggestion that some trees could be trimmed brought a big smile. The happy homeowner was able to give specific directions as she sat on the seat of her walker. Having lost control of some parts of her life, it was clear to see her joy in having a pretty yard, again.  We will return to help & learn from this sweet lady!

Another participant wrote, “In the short time we knew so much about her and she may be interested in coming to church but does not drive anymore.”  Both she, and another volunteer, have since felt a tug to begin bringing their new friends to worship with them on Sundays.  

Next is a thank you note from Rebecca describing how the day impacted her life.

Dear Congregation of Fishers United Methodist Church,

            On Saturday, May 14th, I was the grateful recipient of your outreach ministries who connected with me through The Shepherd Center of Hamilton County. Five grace filled young women came to my home bearing an essentials gift basket and helped me with a variety of tasks from fixing my closet doors to weeding and preparing my garden, among other things. They worked diligently in the freezing cold to reach out and help me showing the love of Christ in action in the world through the good hearts and willing hands of these lovely ladies. And handsome Max brought me a lovely card decorated with his own original artwork.

Such goodwill is remembered by God and so appreciated by those of us in need of help. God bless each of them, your ministries and your whole congregation with His gracious love. Thank you all!

The heart of outreach ministry is engaging with people in our community, whether it is being love in action or providing a cookout at the park.  Simply and naturally building relationships with members of our community is nothing extraordinary.  It is an opportunity to express care and gratitude for our neighbors—to welcome them into relationship.  If you missed the first Day of Caring, no worries, we will be back at it again in the fall helping rake leaves and prepare yards for winter.  In the meantime, come to Fun Friday at Holland Park July 15th starting at 5:30pm for a cookout to bless and connect with our neighbors.   Hope to see you there!

Oh, and I can’t forget a huge THANK YOU to all who served!  Well done!

Susan Hobson
Outreach Ministry Coordinator
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Grandparenting

It was a great day for fishing on Lake Barclay located in upstate New York. The cloudy skies and moderate temperatures made for a perfect day for catching fish. My grandfather and I (then 10 years old) in a metal rowboat had found the sweet spot. As we talked we did not notice the white clouds turning darker, the slight chop of the waves, “made our bait even more effective”. As we busily took fish after fish off the hook, we heard a slight rumble in the distance.  We continue to fish until we saw, my dad running along shore shouting something and waving his arms. What was wrong?   Did someone get hurt?  We waved at him, which seemed to frustrate him more. He started pointing at the sky and waving us in. The clouds were getting darker. We pulled in our lines, pulled up the anchor, put our stringer of fish in the boat and I began to row towards the cabin away from my dad, the wind was blowing towards the cabin.  He was frantically waving us towards him. I turned the boat into the wind and headed towards Dad. As I rowed the boat my Grandfather is encouraging me, the wind is getting stronger, the waves a little bouncier, sky turned darker and thunder increased in volume. We were getting closer to shore and Dad was shouting I thought I heard the words “tornado warning”. As I struggled to get to shore the hard rain started and lightning lit up the sky. We docked the boat and headed towards the cabin.

As I rowed the boat I was reminded by grandfather, of Jesus calming the storm, of Peter walking on the water and his calm faith that everything we would be OK.

I share this memory with you because our journey of faith, is not personal but generational. In Deuteronomy 4:9 we are encouraged to teach the faithfulness of God to the generations. As a grandparent I have a responsibility to teach and share my faith with my grandchildren. I have a responsibility to be intentional about faith building in their lives. When they spend the night,  pray over and with them at bedtime.  Find the opportunity bring faith into everyday experiences as shared above. Encourage them to attend church, to read their Bible and to love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind. Accept the  responsibility to be present as much as possible, and to invest the time you have. Grandparenting is not a spectator activity but needs real involvement in matters of faith. Recent multiple studies show that it is easier and more likely for kids to talk about faith issues with grandparents than parents.

I believe it is time for grandparents to take a stand of faith and engage our grandchildren in spiritual conversations. Believe it or not our grandchildren are looking to us for wisdom, encouragement and unconditional love. As you proceed in your God given responsibility to disciple and spiritually lead your grandchildren, here are a couple of cautions to keep in mind:

  • It is not easy, life is sometimes messy, busy and complicated.     
  • Share life experiences and faith , Do not Preach.
  • Be intentional in the moments you have.
  • Not all people in this role are blood related, some are granted by proximity.
  • Engage the parents in conversation as well.
  • Listen first and offer to help
  • Provide resources needed: Bible, devotional, money for spiritual experiences (camps, mission trips, youth groups, children’s ministry etc)
  • Go forward with the power and presence of God.

YOU ARE BUILDING MEMORIES

For encouragement check out these online resources
 
 
Larry Crane
Director of Children's Ministries 
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