Every week we have a gym night at the middle school. The purpose of the program is youth outreach. Last year we were able to connect with over 200 kids who probably wouldn’t have ever set foot in our church. One of the guys who started the program over 10 years ago said it best last night when he said “I could make you a list 10 pages long of all the reasons the program should have failed by now” … It’s all God – we just try our best to keep up.
The night custodian has been with us since the program started. She lets us in and makes sure we have everything we need. She’s been there a lot longer than me. She loves the kids and they love her. She knows them all by name and always asks them questions about their lives. When they need to get into the locker room for something or they need a safety pin – they go straight to her. She always reminds them that they’re blessed to have the Rec program and they should be grateful to the leaders. We always remind them of the same things about her. Our ministry would look much different if it wasn’t for her love and support.
Last year when she lost someone close to her, we got her flowers and all the students signed a card for her. She was moved to tears and hugged as many kids as she could get her hands on. At the end of the school year, before we let out for the summer, we called her into the gym during ‘halftime’ and presented her with a framed picture of all the kids. The students went wild in applause and cheering for her. She is the rock star of our Rec program. We pray for her regularly and thank God for her. She has a special place in our ministry. She is a vital and irreplaceable part of our team and she does it all without being asked.
Tuesday night I was reminded of what a lovely woman she is and how much I value our relationship. She came in before the end of the night to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and hand out hugs to the students. It was a calmer night than most so she and I were able to sit and talk about our holiday plans and hopes for the new year. I am blessed by her friendship.
I hope we’re openly modeling to our students what it means to appreciate and love someone. I hope she knows what a great teacher of service and love SHE is. I hope she knows how much we care for her. I hope she knows what a vital part she plays in the lives of students.
I hope I NEVER forget to remind her of those things.