Notes from Brother Jay

By Guest Writer Hillary Heitzman

   “You are only as good as your grades.” “You can’t pay attention.” “You’re not smart enough. Good enough. Strong enough. Enough.” This can be the daily rhetoric for some kids. This might be their normal. This is the start of a sad story. We need heroes that can change that. That will be brave and bold enough to say, “No! You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are smart. You are good. You are enough. You ARE important.” But, wait. I witnessed just this kind of declaration at an unlikely place this past week. I watched people file into a building, pledge dollar after dollar of support. I watched kids who felt important, special even, line up to help these people. My heart overflowed with joy. Here’s the beautiful thing:

      It happened here. In this church. YOU are the hero of this story.

      Thank you isn’t enough. I could say thank you for the money, donations, time, showing up. I could say thank you for the fish supper. But, it’s simply not enough. Because it was more than all those things. It was more than a “simple” bake sale. Ocilla United Methodist Church, the United Methodist Men, and YOU showed a group of kids LOVE. You took a stand on Monday night against that negative rhetoric. Those kids will never be the same for witnessing your care, concern, and sharing. And for that, I am eternally grateful. See, I was one of those kids not too long ago. (Well, let’s be honest, it’s been a while.)   I remember adults who were not in my immediate family pouring into me: teaching me in Sunday school, being my mentor through Confirmation, giving me keepsakes, telling me they were happy to see me, and letting me serve in my church. I know that what this congregation and visitors did on Monday night was more than show up. You showed out. You showed the love of Christ. Thank you for giving, sharing, praying, showing up, and being used by God. Thank you for allowing God to move in our church and impact our youth in a way that is changing lives daily. Thank you for being the heroes of our story and helping us share the gospel with our youngest generations. The bake sale is a legacy. It’s not something that people outside of our church understand. I heard one visitor mutter incredulously, “Did that cake just go for two HUNDRED something dollars?!?!?!” I whispered back, “It seems unusual, but this is tradition. I promise, these people are opening their wallets for more than just cake.”

      I am excited to watch even more stories unfold as we, together, continue to show love and be heroes in our church and community.

Hillary Heitzman

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