Gracehaven Outreach -- 15 Jul 2017
On the 15th of July, the Young Adults Ministry spent a morning with the children from the Gracehaven home. Hannah Yeo reflects on the time spent with the children and encourages us to keep telling of Jesus, the only one who can change us from restless rebels into sons and daughters of God.
Three Saturdays ago, a good number of young adults gathered under a shelter in West Coast Park, as a group of around 14 children and teenagers from Gracehaven came over to join us. Most of us were new to each other; our intended joint activity was cycling, but the rain meant re-organising the plans.
Gamemaster Toby’s big group icebreakers games required coordination, confidence and concentration though not everyone was warmed up. Slowly, tentatively, they came out of their shells as we learnt to call their names and encouraged them to join in. Breaking up into smaller groups, we learnt about each other through playing ‘2 Truths and A Lie’, a simple way to open up about our lives and provide clues to conversation starters later on.
Next came the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus – about reaching out to the outsider, repentance and restoration. I thought we wouldn’t hold their attention, especially since there was a huge pile of biscuits and sweets in the front but I was wrong! They really listened! When Glen spoke of sin in his earlier struggles with family relationships, some even remarked, “Eh, like me like that!” One turned round to confess “Ya me, I like to beat people”. I was surprised at how aware they were of the messiness in their own lives, surprised but also really encouraged. Jesus did not come to save the righteous but the sinner and they did not pretend to be above reproach.
By the time the message ended, the sun had returned and cycling was now possible, and the kids loved it, even those who had to re-learn how to cycle. My favourite part of the whole afternoon was the 5-minute walk to the bike shop with the girl I was partnered with. I loved it because we were able to have a good chat without being triggered by the other kids. At the same time I noticed she was quickly distracted and would kick up a big fuss at a squirrel, dog, police car, or most of all if her friends walked by. Our walk-chase made me think about Zephaniah 3:17 and how knowing God enables us to find rest and calm in Him. Even so, I made the mistake of trying to manage the relationship by attempting to 'quiet her with my love' too. Instead of spending time talking about God, I tried to be like God.
Our time with the Gracehaven kids pointed me to our sin and need of a Saviour. I saw my own folly when I tried to fix behaviour and forgot the real issue was spiritual. I cannot save her, myself or anyone – only a relationship with God can. So I hope we keep telling of Jesus, the only one who can change us from restless rebels into sons and daughters of God.
Can we make our church a home for everyone? Will we be ok if we start looking less like a model Singaporean family and more like the crazy grace-conceived family of the Almighty God? Luke 15:7 reminds us there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who think they need no repentance; let’s not forget how we were saved.
God has taken us out of our darkness into His light and now we are His children with equal status in King Jesus. This means we must act like His children and honour the Father’s name. While we worship God for revealing His Son to us, let’s pray for and labour in love over those He is still bringing home.
The next Gracehaven outreach will be on 16 Sep 2017, contact Sandy Tung at email@example.com or Helen Yeo at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to find out more.