What a way to start off the 2016-2017 school year! This year, seven Back-2-School events were held throughout Moses Lake. Each event took on a personality all it's own and offered fun and services uniquely catered to their specific communities. It was a great joy to attend the events and bear witness to the positive and life-giving atmosphere. I found it nearly impossible NOT to smile the entire time. The care and respect shown to each student and family in attendance was humbling. Not to mention the evidence of hours of organization and preparation lovingly put in by the teams of volunteers. Keep reading for a brief highlight (and lots of pictures!) from each event.
Larson Heights Elementary
"I'm so grateful for the event. Since it’s inception it has been a great opportunity to build a positive view of the school in the minds of the children and families. People may have had a bad experience at a school in the past, but the positive energy at the event helps them to feel more comfortable and at ease at school. It's an event that honors families and children."
- Diana McFaul, Principal at Larson Heights Elementary
Garden Heights Elementary
The Garden Heights Elementary Event was a grand carnival night with games and prizes. Kathy Jingling, who has volunteered each year for the Larson Event, took the lead in organizing the Garden Heights Event. Kathy and The Assembly Church have been holding a tutoring program for the Garden Heights students for the past 5 years. She has made herself a helpful and available presence at the school to build relationships with both staff and students. As a result, their Back-2-School Event came naturally and was designed specifically for the community in which they're placed.
"I really believe that as Christians we need to live out our faith in front of others, and that opens doors for us to present the gospel. For us, this is a door opening activity." -Kathy Jingling, The Assemby at Moses Lake
According to organizers Jo Ann Schaadt (Moses Lake United Methodist Church) and Matt Baughman (Lakeview Missionary Church), the champions of the Lakeview Elementary Event were the school's teachers and staff. There were over a dozen of them in attendance at the event ready to greet the kids and help welcome them to the school. Also in attendance was a youth group from a Seattle-area Methodist Church, these kids used this as a missions opportunity to help share the gospel with kids at the event through puppet shows!
Knolls Vista Elementary
The Knolls Vista Event seemed to arise so naturally from the existing ministry at Lake City Foursquare Church. Seeing so many families walking to the event made it feel like a true neighborhood outreach. Games, food, and school supplies were ready for the students as they arrived, and the event ended with an outdoor movie on the side of the building (a regular summer occurrence for this church)! It was a great opportunity to witness the church's presence as a light in their community.
This was the second year for the event to be held at Peninsula Elementary. With an abundance of smiling faces and gratitude, this dynamic event lent itself to opportunity for volunteers to really connect with students and their families. The Columbia Basin Herald was at the event as well; check out their quick re-cap of the day!
Endeavor Middle School
With over 150 students (plus their families) Endeavor Middle School turned out a great crowd of families and volunteers. Students received a very stylish Adidas cinch pack and some necessary supplies. Here are some great pics of the day as captured by the Grace Harvest Church volunteer team. There were opportunities for connection and conversations. Families were grateful and felt cared for and respected by the churches hosting the event. Way to go guys! Another year, another light shining bright!
Moses Lake High School
David Thomas, Youth Pastor at the Alliance Church, shared about his opportunity to re-connect with a High School Student from last year. She was blown away that someone would remember her, pray for her; that someone cared for her.
These stories are happening each year. We might think that our efforts to reach out go unnoticed. However, students are being shown that they are seen and cared for. The church and God's people are able to tangibly show the love of Jesus in small and large ways. Then we trust God to use our efforts for his glory in each life. Thank you to each person who helped make this year's Back-2-School Events happen. We are excited to see what this leads to for next year! And remember, if you were not involved in an event this year, contact us and we will help you start thinking of ways you can reach out to the students in your community!