as i mentioned before, i have the great pleasure of volunteering with the special needs ministry at our church. ok, it's not always a great pleasure. i've been slapped, tackled, and assaulted by very very loud and piercing screams and cries. some days are harder than others, but for the most part, it's a great way to spend an hour every sunday.
at the 11:59am hour, we have 6 kids with diagnosises (that's not a real word, is it?...) ranging from autism, mental retardation, and downs syndrome. when the 6 are together, it makes for a pretty loud hour. but for the last few months, we were lucky enough to have another classroom space open up, so we have been able to seperate the kids. it has made a world of difference volume-wise, which is great for me and the other volunteers, but more importantly than that- the kids are starting to thrive in a super-small classroom setting.
i have two kids that show up regularly- D and E. one has mental retardation and does not relate well to his peers and prefers to hang out with adults. the other has autism and doesn't relate well to... almost anyone. but they have been forced to hang out, pretty much just the two of them, with their 1-on-1 helper, every sunday, for the last few months. and this week- miracle of miracle, we had breakthroughs. like a million of em:
E showed up on sunday with his tired mama. E had a terrible week and had to be picked up early from school 3 times last week! he wasn't sleeping well (thus mama and dad were not sleeping well either) and no one knew what cause the change. maybe he was getting sick? no one knew. so mama E was telling us all this and said that we shouldn't feel bad if we needed to call her out of service. we never call the parents out of service- they need a break! and a break with Jesus is all the better. D was listening to mama E and said: "i'll bring E some sleeping powder next week!" ok D. that's sweet. so mama E left and E calmed down very quickly. then D and E went to music time with the other elementary kids. E loves music and singing praises to Jesus! but sunday was an off day for him, so he started crying during music time, and expressed that he was scared. his helper held him and gave him tight squeezes and then E asked for D. so they stood together and sang for the rest of music time. then during our small class time, we listened to a story, did a craft, had a snack and then played. regular stuff. the boys played together, setting up an obstacle course in our little room, and racing around the room, laughing like crazy all the while. it was so wonderful! what a great sunday.
then i got a couple e-mails today.
the first one was from D's mom. she wrote that D had been praying for E several times a day since sunday. he was praying specifically that E would sleep well. D's mom was just so proud of her little boy, who has been growing in confidence over the last few months, for standing up for his friend in need, before the Lord. what a great story.
that e-mail was passed along to all the 11:59am volunteers and E's parents. then E's parents wrote back. she said she had been very tired and frustrated because there was no rhyme or reason to E's change in behavior. he had been sleeping so well, and was doing well at school. but all of a sudden, he was waking up 4-5 times a night, staying awake for hours on end. no fun for anyone. and then sunday night- E slept well. and he did again monday, and tuesday as well. now THAT's a great story!
thank you Jesus, for the special needs ministry at our church. thanks for the kids that we are able to serve, and in turn their families. thanks for loving all of us equally and not judging us according to our abilities or our needs. but thanks for giving us different needs and allowing us to lift up those needs to you in prayer. thanks for providing for our needs and regarding them, not as annoying or cumbersome, but as really kinda special.
(this is a shameful plug, but if you are at all interested in serving in the special needs ministry at sun valley cc, please feel free to leave a comment or throw me an e-mail!)