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Bible Club

Cooking at the Treehouse

You may have heard of green eggs and ham, but have you ever tried spaghetti topped with a scoop of ice cream? You simply can't imagine the delicacies created by the four- and five-year-old kids of Marks Village this past Sunday during Bible Club. Food Network, LOOK OUT!

One of the many blessings of our new facility, the Treehouse, is a room especially fitted for the imagination and growth of preschoolers, complete with a child size sink, oven, refrigerator, table, and chairs. Fun? Yes! But, for these kids, Biblical worldview-changing. When tables and chairs are scarce at home, the concept of family dinner around the table is a foreign concept. However, this week at Bible Club, we enjoyed a royal family feast as we sat around our kid-sized table and ate gourmet, plastic treats from french fries to fried eggs and hotdogs. We said the blessing over and over with each meal. 

Yes indeed, God is great. God is good. We all thank Him for our food. By his hands we all are fed. Thank you God for our daily bread. May we never take for granted God’s goodness when we gather at the table.

We are Thankful!


I am so thankful for little moments that remind us of God's bigger plan. This past Sunday a Puppeteer Group from McElwain Baptist Church came and kicked off the holidays with a Christmas Musical Sing-Along! We had a great time! The preschoolers all wanted to know if the puppets were real and even the 5th grade boys were dancing to the music. 

I especially loved the story I heard afterwards from one of our volunteers: 

I spent this week's Bible Club with my arm around the waist of one of our little girls. Her little form was too excited to sit still without help. It was nearly Christmas and Bible Club was putting on a musical puppet show! She had also heard whispered rumors of presents to be handed out at the end of the day and it was almost too much to handle.

She was in constant motion: clapping to the songs, whispering familiar lyrics, poking my ribs to ask innumerable questions.

Suddenly, she went still. Her eyes fell on one puppet that had just arisen to join the choir. Her finger pointed an accusation, quivering.

"What's wrong, sweetie?" I asked.

"It's a king puppet! It's an old king!"

I glanced at the crown sitting on the white mop of hair and nodded.

"Wait!" She tugged on my arm again. "Is that the old king puppet from the other story? You know, the old king with the castle who tried to have a party at his house but all of the rich people were busy, and his friends said they couldn't come. So then he asked all the poor people to come and his servants went out and they said yes so he had a big party?"

I stared in shock at such an accurate rendition of the Matthew 22 parable we had demonstrated with puppets -- how long ago? "Sweetie, that story was months ago. How did you remember that?"

She just shrugged and giggled and contentedly went back to clapping along.

Given how loud and frenetic our little Bible Club can become it is comforting to remember that little ears are listening and absorbing every minute of it.

~ Abby

"What's your name?"

Our wonderful Bible Club volunteer, Bobby, told me this story from a recent day:

Okay, so two little children came in together to Bible Club, and I began the registration process. I asked the little boy his name. I could not understand him, but finally figured out he was saying Marquis (first name). Then, I asked what grade he was in. “Kindergarten," he said. Then the little girl said, "No, he's in the second grade." I asked him, "Kindergarten or second grade?" He said, “Yes." I finally figured it out - Kindergarten. So, I then asked the little girl her name.  She said, “Marquis.” I  told her she could not be Marquis also. Then one of the other Bible Club volunteers who had overheard our conversation wisely asked the little girl, "What does the teacher call you at school?” The little girl said, "Sit down."

Jesus: Masseuse

Don’t kids just bring everything into perspective sometimes!  Yesterday during Bible Club, we were reviewing Jesus’ final acts during Passover the night before His crucifixion.  I turned to one of my 1st grade boys Anthony and asked, “Anthony, do you remember what Jesus did to serve His 12 friends and teach them about serving others?”  Looking at the picture prompts being using to help the kids remember, Anthony boldly replied, “He gave them a foot massage.” 

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I would love a good foot massage from Jesus!  In all seriousness, I need Jesus to touch my feet - make these tired feet into feet that would carry the Gospel into dark places, into broken homes, into hurting hearts, into the souls of His children who desperately need to be touched by the nail pierced hands that purchased our salvation and restored us to our Father. 

Yes, Jesus, my feet need a good foot rub!

Reflections on 2015


2015 has been a wonderful, yet unusual year. It feels like it has spanned two years because of all of the changes that have happened. Halfway through the year, God called me to leave my job as a classroom teacher and step into the unknown with a yet unformed and unnamed non-profit. I thought I would be running a five-day after-school program beginning in the fall and yet God had other plans. Over the next several months, God taught me to trust and love him. When I had no idea what the next day would bring, God was constant. When working from home, instead of among a classroom of children, God was constant. When I missed my students, God was right there. Someone told me recently, “Good for you! You stepped out of your comfort zone, even though it could be uncomfortable.” Well, in some ways they were right, a lot of things about my new life were uncomfortable while God was teaching me, but I have a joy I never could have experienced had God not radically changed my life. So, I think that though it may seem that stepping out of your comfort zone is difficult, I have found joy in letting go. I think not following God is where you will really be uncomfortable.

Our first year as a non-profit, God has truly blessed Oak Tree. These are just a few of the many things that come to mind. During Reading Club before Christmas break, I saw many students during snack time chewing with their mouths closed and one said “excuse me” as she squeezed past me in the doorway. One student walked up to me as soon as she got to club and said, “Ms. Halie, I already had my warning on the bus, so if I be bad today, you need to put me in time out.” I was overjoyed! While manners or even one instance of honesty may seem little, I am so proud of what they are learning so quickly! These 14 students love being with their buddies, they love sharing about their day, and they are excited about reading! What more could we ask?

During Bible Club this fall, every child began learning our new behavioral system and they are thriving! They have learned so much about Jesus and his miracles and I am so excited to see what they absorb through his parables next year. God has given our ministry a building and volunteers to help us clear out the inside. God has deepened our relationships with the families in Marks Village. We are no longer strangers or mere acquaintances; he is making us friends and family.  

While my last semester of teaching feels like a distant memory and the last six months of ministry feels like at least a year, I am thankful for all that God has taught me and all that he has done. God is not done working as midnight rolls around and the New Year dawns. He is busy and I am excited to work with him!