By Jessica Brantmeier

I made a lot of great connections with many of the kids in Kids’ Discovery Club. Each child had their own personality and reacted to everything differently. At first, this was extremely challenging, but as the summer went on, we got to understand them better. We were able to see each of their personalities shine through in a million different ways each day.

I saw God through each of the children, through their lenses. It was awesome to hear and see God moments in such a childlike ways. There are parts of each of the children that I will take away with me. Mike’s curiosity, John’s enthusiasm for absolutely everything, Samuel’s and Patrick’s humor and hugs, and George’s leadership. One girl in particular, though, stands out to me. Her name is Mary.

Mary was in my faith time. She was so encouraging, especially in the beginning. Teaching is not my strong suit, I am much more used to explaining things in conversation. I had never even planned a lesson. Mary was always extremely engaged and tried to make a point to ask questions and help to carry conversations when the other kids weren’t really speaking up. She would also give me advice on what she and the other kids enjoyed or didn’t enjoy and what they were interested in.

The very first faith time, Mary told me she wanted to be challenged. I was surprised enough that a kid would do ‘homework’ outside of Kids’ Club, but I was even more surprised she was asking for it. Mary would sit down with her sister at home and read the stories I would use for the next day. I tried to make some sort of challenge every day; admittedly this became harder towards the end of the summer.

I soon found out that her parents are divorced. The side of the family they live with during the school year does not believe as much as her side of the family here in Athens. She seemed to want to learn as much as she could this summer. It was as if she was trying to stock up on Jesus before she went back to school. This was an everyday God moment for me. At her age, I know that was the last thing on my mind. To see her eagerness to learn just fueled my eagerness every time I opened a Bible. When I sit down to read, I try to picture her sitting on the edge of her chair every time before I told them where the Scripture was. I want to have that eagerness in my own walk with God.

Mary’s compassion was also another aspect of her that I loved. She was always looking for a way to help. She would always ask if we needed help with anything, always offer the other kid’s a hand, and ask questions of the Kid Club leaders about other children to try to get to know them better. She even once gave her allowance to Emily to donate to Good Works. She always had the best attitude, helping the other kids to get more excited about what we were doing. Her patience was astounding.

At the end of each week before we moved onto another theme, I stressed the main points of the week. I really hope that at least these main points stick with Mary as she moves into Jr. High. She always asked real life questions and I enjoyed giving real life answers. I hope she remembers some of these conversations and really takes them to heart. I wish her the best of luck.