The Ruffled Mango team is thrilled to have our sweet friend Sasha as our very first guest poster! She’s a very talented creative type, helpful wife to her husband Jared, and great mama to their two daughters. When I learned about a recent special project that she and their oldest daughter are knee-deep in, I immediately asked her to write a guest post about it. I know some of you will find inspiration in her fantastic idea! ~Kristen
These girls at the Ruffled Mango are some of my closest friends. When Kristen asked me to write a guest post about a project I’ve been doing with my oldest daughter I was humbled, nervous, and excited. This blog has some really great posts in it! I’m honored that they’ve asked me to contribute, and I hope that my words today can give you some ideas for helping our kids use their talents for God and others.
It can be a challenge for the church to teach kids to use their gifts to glorify God. What gifts do they have? Most of the time they don’t have the money or the means to go around and do big things for people! But one of the biggest gifts young people have is the ability to make people smile and feel loved. My child doesn’t know the full gospel yet, but she can show the love that God has for others through little acts of her own.
Our congregation, the Henderson Church of Christ, is raising money to help the Pearl Harbor congregation in Hawaii to buy the land where their church building has been for many years. This congregation has served military families and Christians from all over the world for 59 years and now is at risk of losing their building. It is the largest congregation in Hawaii. The Christian Chronicle wrote an article about this congregation, its history, and its struggle.
Above Image taken from the Henderson Church website
On October 25th, during our mission emphasis Sunday at the Henderson Church of Christ, there will be a collection taken up from our children to help our brothers and sisters in Hawaii. The kids have been challenged to save money all summer. Lately, we’ve been in full swing trying to raise money and put a smile on our friends and families faces by making what we call “Ohana Bracelets.”
What does “Ohana” mean? In Hawaiian culture “Ohana” means family, but not just our immediate family. It includes relatives, friends, neighbors, and the community around us. I love this word because the Church is a family too. It is a family of believers and followers of Christ. It is the body of Christ and Christians are brothers and sisters. In Romans 12: 4-8 the Bible teaches us that we should use the gifts we’ve been given to take care of each other:
For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; The one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. ESV
How did we come up with the idea for the Ohana bracelets? My oldest daughter has always liked to play with beads. Since before she was two, I would put her on a baby quilt with pony beads and let her plink them in a glass jar one at a time. This would keep her interested for at least an hour and she quickly learned that mommy wants to keep the beads on the blanket! My 15-month-old loves to do this now while her older sister makes bracelets. Oh the mess it can make!! There are too many pretty beads and the youngest tends to launch them into space when she gets excited! Now we try to keep her contained to the largest quilt I can find! After cleaning up two spills today, guests will just have to ignore any letter beads they find in or under the couch…
Our cute little distraction thinks she is making bracelets too!
This tiny destructor now gets her own beading area…
At first making bracelets to raise money didn’t go quite like I expected. I had it in mind that we would make several bracelets before we sold them. Then, after we had options to pick from, my daughter could find close friends and family to sell them to for $1. But, after we finished the first bracelet she started to come up with a list of people to give her bracelets to. She didn’t really have the concept of selling – just giving. I about scrapped this idea because I didn’t want her to lose her love for “giving” in exchange for “selling”. We made a few bracelets to give to close friends and family who we worship with. They were a huge hit! She had designed each bracelet for the person she gave it to. It really seemed to make people happy to receive her special gift.
Soon, she wanted to make everyone she talked to a bracelet and put me on the spot so many times saying, “let’s make so-and-so a bracelet too!” I tried my best to remember the names of people she had said this to and I wrote them down once I got home. Over the next couple of days we made bracelets for the new people she asked to make bracelets for. Afterwards, I snapped a picture and put it on Instagram describing what she is doing and letting our friends know that if they want to help her raise money for the Pearl Harbor Church of Christ they can also get a personalized bracelet for $1 ($1.50 if shipped).
The response has been greater than I ever imagined. It snowballed after her first round of bracelets sold on August 16th. As of the moment I’m writing this article she has made 64 bracelets and has 66 to go. That is quite the job for a 3 yr old and her overseeing mama! It takes roughly 2-3 hours to make 10 bracelets if she is really focused. If she is distracted by sorting beads into collections (shapes, colors, etc.), the baby is super needy, and there is something to clean up, it will take 2 hours to make 5!
Bless her heart! She may be in marketing when she grows up because she is starting to tell everyone about her bracelets and asks if they want one. I’m happy that she is excited about what we are doing. She is taking an active part in helping the Church. She is learning to think about others and what they might like to have on their bracelet. She is learning responsibility. I’m so proud of my girl! She has a beautiful and loving heart, and it makes my heart burst with pride that she is learning to use her gifts for God.
I also want to share some more service ideas for young people. My husband and I, along with others, work with the youth group at Henderson. Throughout this past year our teens have been working through service projects to help meet the needs of different groups of people. We call this project 52 Lights. It’s been a blessing to see our teens interact with our older members, younger members, and neighbors in our local community. I’ve listed some examples of projects they’ve been doing below. Hopefully, you can use some of these to help encourage service in your youth wherever you are. If you have additional ideas, be sure to leave those in the comments section below!
- Encouraging notes for new students at their schools
- Anonymous Valentine’s Cards for those who need a pick-me-up
- Game nights with our older church members’ classes
- Sit with a Stranger day during worship (i.e….sit with an older member, a kid, or someone you don’t normally sit beside)
- Teacher Appreciation- gifts to teachers before school let out
- Neighbor Treats
- Gift Card Drive- collecting used or new gift cards to go to others that need them
- Cookies for Widows/Widowers
- Missionary Care Packages
- Nursing Home Worship Services
- Quarter Bags- a dollar’s worth of quarters and a card from the church taped up around town where you might need a dollar (i.e. drink machines, newspaper boxes, gas pumps, laundromats, etc.)
- Cards for groups heading out on mission trips
- Blanket drive- blankets are donated to shelters, police, fire depts. etc.
Below images are taken from the Henderson Youth Group’s Instagram account
Let no man despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech,
in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12
Train up a child in the way he should go;
even when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6.
Sasha is happily married to Jared and they have two beautiful little girls. She’s a former music teacher and now enjoys being a stay-at-home mom. Her favorite things are eating sushi, painting, watching Korean dramas on TV (with subtitles), getting together with groups from church; she also likes to piddle in jewelry making, sewing, card making, and needlework.