The third week of June we were part of the Midwest Joni & Friends Family Retreat at Maranatha. I (Dave) had the opportunity to serve as the Retreat Pastor. Being able to laugh, cry, hear the stories and share part of life with so many families from all over the midwest has been a life giving and life changing experience. One person shared with me about the importance of doing small things because of a big love and how anyone can make a difference doing small things. Another mom of an amazing young man with some special challenges said how great it would be to be in a church where her son would be allowed to welcome people, to be himself alongside others. We’re looking forward to this expression of the church in Grand Rapids!
The other day a young boy with a disability was able to do something many of us take for granted. He just wanted to come up on a stage where he could dance and be allowed to be in the same space as other kids. When I helped him get up to the stage I realized again what it means to even do the simple things, how lives and families are affected by compassion and love when they see others genuinely care for them.
God moves through moments when others aren’t afraid to be part of their world in some way.
Submitted by Dave Vander Woude for City Hope GR (A Church for All Abilities)
New Church Development Quarterly report