Steve Blanchard, our Minister of Christian Compassion, is recovering nicely from his recent hospitalization and surgery (to relieve swelling and pressure on the brain following a fall from an eight-foot ladder). I can tell because on Thursday I got about twelve emails from him, all work-related. One of them was an update on the partnership between Richmond’s First Baptist Church and Glen Lea Elementary School in this year-long, every-member mission trip we call KOH2RVA.
I’ve told you about Karen, who finally got off the bus and discovered what a joy it is to read to second-graders at Glen Lea. And I’ve told you about Brenda, the artist, who was inspired to invite Glen Lea students to participate in the church’s recent art show (I love the photo above). Yesterday I learned that Raylene is helping out once a week in a kindergarten class, so that an exhausted teacher can get a few minutes’ rest. Karen and Brenda and Raylene are heroes, but if you take a look at the list below you will see that lots of people have been doing lots of things to bring heaven to earth at Glen Lea. You will also see that there are some opportunities coming up for those who are still looking for a way to get involved. If that’s you, let Steve know you’d like to help by sending email to: Blanchard@fbcrichmond.org. He’s feeling better. He’ll help you get off the bus. He may even hold your hand and tell you to watch your step.
Participation at Glen Lea through KOH2RVA
• October 15 Teacher Appreciation (done by Ruth Szucs and 11th grade girls)
• November 5 Provided dinner to teachers and staff during Parent/Teacher Conferences
• November 10 Sponsored cake walk and book giveaway table at fall festival
• November 19 Provided shuttle service to Community Workshop
• February 14 Sponsored Love To Read book collection
• April 15 Sponsored essay contest. Essays picked up May 6 with winner receiving Chuck E. Cheese package.
• May 7 Provide 70 gifts to teachers for Teacher Appreciation Day
• June 12 Provide Appreciation Dinner for staff
• Approximately twenty volunteers giving time and gifts to the school
• Provided school supplies for students and teachers
• Sponsored homework club prizes for various classes
• Art students presenting their art at FBC Art Show
Do you remember Karen, the woman who was looking for a way to “get off the bus” and onto the mission field? After the tragic shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, she made up her mind to do whatever she could for a local elementary school, and chose the school First Baptist has partnered with this year: Glen Lea Elementary. Karen took the principal, Kim Lee, a small gift bag that included some Shenandoah Valley apples (that’s where Karen grew up), and made a promise to visit the school once a month and pray for the school every day. Apparently she is making good on that promise: I got this email from Karen while I was in Arizona last week.
Hi, Jim. I hope you are having a nice trip. It is cold and snowy here. But I’m not complaining. I visited Kim Lee today. I took her a pretty mug and hot chocolate. Future visits include having lunch together, reading to a lower level classroom, and helping at a game night sponsored by the PTA. She enthusiastically told me about the success of a behavioral cart and a similar initiative dealing with homework all to encourage and build model students. Not sure who felt more blessed as I left. Regards Karen
I’m really proud of Karen. Even though it hasn’t come easily or naturally for her she is finding her way onto the mission field, step by step. The last time she wrote to me I told her:
Karen, this is wonderful news. But be careful (smile). These things have a way of getting into your heart and then you know what happens…
I think she’s about to find out.
Today I’m thankful for Louis and Linda Watts, new members of Richmond’s First Baptist Church who are taking KOH2RVA to heart. While you’re waiting for the turkey, take some time to read the letter Linda sent to Steve Blanchard yesterday:
My husband, Louis and I just got the greatest blessing at Glen Lea Elementary School! When Kim Lee came and spoke to our church, I knew I wanted to do something to help their school and KOH2RVA. When Louis’s mother was in a nursing home, relatives of the residents were asked to bring a home-baked goodie the day before Thanksgiving and they were all shared with the staff since they were working and did not have time to bake. It occurred to me that teachers are in the same situation since they have to work today and also have no time to bake. So I contacted Kim Lee and asked her if I could bring all her faculty and staff members a loaf of my homemade pumpkin bread as a gift for Thanksgiving. She thought it was a great idea and asked that we bring it today. Louis and I just left there and were so blessed.
Kim was thrilled, the teachers were so happy, and we even got to see a few students. Just so you know, it was a joint effort. Louis is not a baker, but he did all the prep work for the pumpkin. He cut it all and then ran it through the food mill for me after it was cooked. I baked the 52 loaves of bread and Louis hand-wrote 52 personal notes to put on each loaf of bread. Kim was pleased that each loaf had a personal note. Louis and I both realized that all the time we spent the past few days was worth every minute to make so many people happy. We got back in our car feeling so blessed and very ready to celebrate Thanksgiving! I am so glad you invited Kim to speak to our church so that we could partner with them and help fulfill some of their needs. They are very grateful for all that First Baptist is doing.
Louis and LInda Watts
I don’t know about you, but I think the Kingdom of Heaven came to Richmond, Virginia, yesterday.
May it come to you and yours today.