I taught Vacation Bible School last week at a church we don't even belong to. The program they used sounded amazing, so I signed the kids up. It's run by the LifeWay Christian stores and it was called Outrigger Island (I didn't actually know what an "outrigger" was until last week). After I signed the kids up the director asked if I knew anyone who could teach because she needed volunteers. I said, "Um... I have 7 years of Sunday school experience...." She said, "Oh great because I have no 3rd or 4th or 5th grade teachers!"
I taught 4th grade so that I could have Louisa in my class. (Next time I think I'll teach a different class!) We had a blast! I had 20 kids in my class and they were amazing. The faith these kids had was inspiring. I loved going every day. I enjoyed preparing the lesson plans and teaching them the word of God and that Jesus is God's son! I loved that I got through to so many of them, and how much they all taught me. One boy who I spent time working with told the youth director on the last day that he was ready to take Jesus into his heart. I don't "get" the whole born-again thing, but I can't tell you how happy it made me that this boy knew his time was right! I really felt God working in this church. I left every day just so emotionally drained, so I know God was working in me, too.
Drew, Louisa, and Hunter had a great week as well. Drew was in a class of 1st graders. We knew his teacher because she's in our playgroup, so I didn't have to worry about him. I knew he was going to be fine. He had a friend in the class, and made a few more. I asked his teacher at the end of the week if he did okay and was he up to par with the rest of the first graders. After all, my homeschooling methods were a tad unconventional and didn't consist of sitting at a table doing worksheets. Her reply, "Oh my gosh, he's so far beyond those kids! He was quick witted, he *got* everything I was saying, his reading far surpassed the kids.... He'll be fine in school next year!" Whew! That's a relief! She also said that she could tell when he got bored because he'd act up, so I need to keep on those teachers next year to keep him busy.
Hunter was in a little 2-year-old room. He already knew his teacher as well. She was one half of the couple who were Drew's cub scout leaders this year. We spent a lot of time with her and Hunter was comfortable with her. That didn't stop him from crying when I left, though. He clung to me both Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday the other teacher in the room ran up to him when she saw him and said, "Hunter! I'm so excited to see you this morning!" and that was enough to get him off my leg and holding her hand as he waved good-bye to me. Then Thursday and Friday he gave me hugs and kisses and he was off in a dash. The 2-year-olds had a curriculum just like us older kids did. They had crafts and songs and "dummied-down" verses.
Now my conflict. This church is Southern Baptist, or So Bap as I like to say! I'm from the north. We don't have So Bap churches up there. What we do have is a bunch of ultra conservative Christians running around telling us that my family's centuries old Irish Catholic foundation is wrong. I don't like to be told what's wrong. Especially when it comes from a person and not the Bible, and when it pertains to something that we can trace back for centuries in our family. I may have given up my Catholic ways, but most of my mom's family hasn't. I grew up with a good, Catholic grandmother who I know is floating around in heaven as I sit here and type. But up north, these ultra conservative Christians like to tell us the Catholic faith is wrong. They teach their youth that God doesn't reside in "dead" churches like Catholic and Lutheran. Another faith very close to my heart.
So I come down here and there's this church with the word "Baptist" in the title. I'm not sure because up north I heard so many bad things about Baptists. I'm confused. But this church seems very nice. I know so many people who go here. People from all walks of life, people I've met here on the army base, people I see every day. And the things this church teaches really makes sense. And yes I've given my heart to Jesus, and yes I live every day walking the walk and talking the talk. I minister to children and I talk to my friends and I give to anyone who needs anything and I'm an obedient wife and daughter and .... yes I do all I can do.
So what's stopping me? What is holding me back from just checking this church out and giving it a chance?
I have some praying and soul searching to do. And I need to stop making "Baptist" a bad word in my head.