One fourth grade girl and her four brothers—one older and three younger— lived in the neighborhood surrounding Hillside Baptist Church, Greeley. They attended Vacation Bible School and came one Wednesday night after that because, as Martias put it, “This is the first time white people have been nice to us.” I invited them to attend our church’s weekly tutoring ministry, and they did.
The children’s parents are from Guatemala and attend a Spanish-speaking Pentecostal church. The kids, though they attend with their mother, call Hillside our church. I overheard them one night during Wednesday night supper telling another group of children, “Mom wanted us to go to her church for Easter, but we said that we wanted to come to our church.”
The family has accepted and embraced the children’s connection to Hillside. When one of the boys died unexpectedly, the funeral was held at “his church”. God was truly honored that day. Both churches participated equally in the service. Every speaker was translated so that everyone would understand what was said. Fellowship Hall was filled that day with God’s unity as the congregations ate side-by-side and comforted each other.
The family came to those in Hillside when it was time for the teens to get drivers licenses, find jobs, and get references for loans. Cooking and sewing lessons, gingerbread house contests, birdhouse building—we have done it all with this family.
Fast-forward a few years, and our church is seeing the results of our investment in tutoring this family’s children. Several of them have come to faith in Christ. We have celebrated two high school graduations and look forward to two more and, perhaps, a college graduation or two.
When those children accepted my invitation to attend our tutoring classes, my life changed! Our friendship has enhanced my life to the point that I can’t imagine it without them. We have laughed, celebrated, and mourned together. They are God’s gift to me, a sort of reward for saying yes when He called me to Literacy Missions ministries. –Claudean Boatman, CBGC Literacy Missions Coordinator
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