Compassion in Action

Several weekends ago, I opened my Facebook to find that a WMU friend was taking her Girls in Action members to visit the Baptist Friendship House in New Orleans, Louisiana. I immediately sent her a private message and asked her to take plenty of pictures of her GAs while they were there.

I’ll admit it—I wanted to see the projects her girls were going to do and snag a few ideas for my own GA group.

I watched for her posts all day, and finally, when she shared pictures, I saw sweet girls wearing purple GA vests experiencing something we all should strive to share with our GAs: compassion in action.

Later, I received several emails containing pictures and an account of what this group experienced and learned during their trip to Baptist Friendship House.

Read the following excerpts from Susan’s emails for yourself:

The GAs and WMU from Pleasant View Baptist Church, Foley, Alabama, took a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana, to visit Dr. Kay Bennett, Kendall Wolz, and PJ—missionaries at the Baptist Friendship House. What a great day we had!

We have been studying BFH in our GA material, and I wanted the girls to know that there are children just like them—same age, same grade for school, who have some of the same thoughts, concerns, and fears as they do. Things weren’t easy for them, though.

I wanted our girls to talk to homeless children and see how blessed they themselves are. I didn’t want them to take pity on others, but to offer hope, help, and love. We all need to know that Jesus loves us regardless of our race, where we live, or how we dress. Children are children.

The GAs and WMU ladies took birthday supplies and personal hygiene items packed in refillable water bottles. We decided to take our birthday items in bags, separate them for girls and boys, and call them “Birthday in a Bag.” Everything you need for a birthday party is in the bag—cake mix and icing, balloons, candles, birthday plates, cups, napkins, party favors, and so much more. When children come into the shelter, most of the time they don’t know when their birthday is or have never had a birthday party. Kay and Kendall can grab a “Birthday in a Bag” and everything they need for a birthday party is right there in the bag.

Our refillable water bottles were packed with personal hygiene items for the women who come into the shelter—a gift just for them. Such great little things turn out to be great big things when God is in it.

We learned so much during our day spent at the BFH. We had a cookout with the homeless families in the area, listened to them share stories of survival, and played “tag” with the children and pushed them on the swings. We were able to give everyone a brand new pair of Crocs shoes, donated by the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. We learned that BFH helps individuals find jobs and teaches individuals how to fill out applications for jobs. They help with schooling and day care for children. They also provide lessons on cooking, reading, and writing, just to name a few.

Through GA materials, our girls already knew that BFH was a haven for many women and children in New Orleans. Because of their visit there, they have now experienced what it means to serve each other as Jesus did. BFH is a place that does so much to help those less fortunate restart their lives.

We were able to share God’s great love with those being ministered to at BFH not only by love and action, but also by telling, going, and giving! By the end of the day we saw many smiles and even gave and received a few hugs along the way.

Susan Bartholomew
GA Director
Pleasant View Baptist Church
Foley, Alabama

The Baptist Friendship House is one of two Baptist Centers that were featured in our February 2014 curriculum. Kay Bennett and the BFH staff regularly meet the needs of homeless women and children while fighting human trafficking in New Orleans. Bennett is a NAMB LoveLoud missionary. For more information on Baptist Friendship House, visit baptistfriendshiphouse.org.

 

Heather Keller is the children's ministry consultant for Girls in Action and Children in Action.

 

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