“Suffer little children, and forbid them not…

Jun
12

…to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matt 19:14b

Can you imagine for a minute what life would be like if everyone was grown up and there were no little people? I have a bad feeling we would all tend to be more hard-hearted, selfish, complex thinkers, and, …more grumpy.
God has a way of using children to soften hard hearts, help us learn selflessness, simplify big things, and bring lots of love and smiles into our lives.

It’s fun to have different titles/nicknames and when you’re around certain people, they call you that “special name”. A couple of week ago I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go back to Nashville for the ATI Family conference and be “Miss Abbie” at Children’s Institute for the week!!! =)

During the week I played the piano for the songs, helped with kids who needed a little extra attention, served as the door greeter/guard/kid chaser for any little people who decided to try and escape, and wherever needed at other times.


I have made some really special friends over the 4 years I’ve been there, and LOVE to see my little buddies again every time I go back! You go there hoping to be a blessing and serve, yet are incredibly blessed in return by bright-eyes, contagious smiles, and big hugs. I love it. =)

This little lady was on my small group team 4 years ago and has been there every year since. She is one of my highlights at the conference! =)


Outside games…burning off a little energy before rest time. =)


The Ferraro family is super sweet! Since I didn’t have any of my family members at the conference with me, they adopted me as their “sister for the week”. =)


It was a pleasure to work alongside these ladies once again! =)

I got to spend some one-on-one time with this little guy on the first day – he’s pretty fun. =)

Another highlight from my week was meeting and interacting with some of the younger moms. This was a new and very encouraging opportunity.

2014 Nashville CI team!

We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done…That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born;…That they might set their hope in God…” Psalm 78:4-7a

I am grateful for all the people in my life, but I’m sure glad he didn’t make us all grown-ups! =)

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Impossible? …not with GOD!

Jul
11

During the ATI conference in Big Sandy, we heard a really good message by Mr. David Gibbs on asking God for the impossible.

After I heard this message, I started praying that God would provide a way for me to go to the ATI conference that is held way out in Sacramento, California. I wanted to help out with the Children’s Institute (CI) -  a program for kids, ages 4-7. This was quite a prayer, because if folks go out there from around here, they usually fly.

Guess what God did?! Almost 2 weeks before the conference started, we found out that a mom and daughter from Texas, who Hannah knows and has worked with, were planning on going to Sacramento, and they were going to DRIVE!!! They let us know they would be happy for me to ride with them out there, but that they were leaving the conference early to vacation in Colorado for the summer. I was thrilled God had provided the way!

I hadn’t even thought to pray for a ride home – I’d only been praying for a ride out. :) So I started praying, and the very next day, God provided the money for a plane ticket home!!! I’ve been doing some studying on faith recently, and like it says in 2 Thess. 1:3, my faith grew exceedingly!

About 10 days later, I left for the exciting adventure…I love to travel!

 Abbie first train ride

I rode the train for the first time, down to Ft. Worth, TX, where Mrs. Smith picked me up. I stayed the night with their family. Riding the train was great! I had a beautiful view from the upper level.

Abbie and Danielle Smith

The next morning, we got up early and headed out. We drove to Arizona and spent the night. It was such a blessing to spend time with Danielle and her mom, they are both so sweet and encouraging!

    

Abbie and Danielle Smith

We drove again all day, spent the night in California, then on Sunday around noon, we finally arrived in Sacramento. We were so blessed to have no problems with our vehicle and the hand of the Lord to protect us all the way there.

California   

Driving through California, we saw all these beautiful flowers in
the median that went on for miles and miles.

These were DELISH!

Palm trees. Not an everyday sight in Oklahoma. :)

Hannah flew in to Sac. on Monday, (She was the Commit coordinator) and we both got to help set-up for the conference. In that picture she is decorating the stage.

I love this job!

Helping set up the book tables was one of the highlights of my
whole trip! It would have to be labeled ‘an organizer’s dream job!’ :)

On Wednesday, all the classes started. I really enjoyed helping
teach one of the small group teams.

"miss Abbie"

My team drew ‘Miss Abbie’ on the board for an object lesson. ;)

   

Another high-light of my trip was sharing the gospel with my
group of children. One of the girls asked SO many questions about
the gospel and was like a sponge!  I know seeds were planted in
her heart.

my little buddys :)

I really enjoyed seeing some of my buddies from last year. =)

 

Hannah and I had the opportunity to play two special music pieces while we
were there. The pieces we played were “O, the Deep Deep Love of Jesus”
and “Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb.”

“Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.” Mark 10:15

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Nashville, TN

Jun
18

A couple weeks ago, Hannah, Abbie, and I traveled out to TN with some friends to help at the ATI conference. We had a great time teaching and also getting to fellowship with friends that live far away.  
 
Photo courtesy: Carissa Koehn
Traveling in a RV was…an experience! 


Taking a supper break while Mr. B tried to figure out what was wrong with the RV.

After several stops (one to leave the broken down RV with a mechanic and then a stop at Braums for ice-cream!) we made it safely there!


Mr. Mechanic had a very nice truck! ;)

Hannah was in charge of COMMIT, but unfortunately we don’t have any pictures of her!


Abbie and Laura having fun doing CI registration – Abbie was on the Children’s Institute staff and played the piano for large group. The kids really love her!

DSC_0037
And I helped teach CI, and had a group of 12 kids.

Photo courtesy: Carissa Koehn
Me and my little shadow :)


Abbie really enjoyed seeing some of the children she got to teach last year, and also made some new little friends. =)

water gameswater games

Photo courtesy: Carissa Koehn
I’m so thankful that the Lord made a way for me go! We all had a wonderful time together!

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.”    Col 3:23-24

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Children are a blessing

Aug
10

Kids are great, and this summer the Lord opened the door for me to travel to 3 of the ATI regional home-school conferences and help out with the Children’s Institute (CI) -  a program for kids ages 4-7.

The first conference was in Nashville, TN. I was thrilled with the opportunity to go and help lead a team, but I had no idea that the Lord had a huge lesson for me on this trip!

10 days before the conference began, I was asked if I could or would want to play the piano for the CI. Now you need to understand something. I am not “the pianist” in our family – Hannah is, and she does a great job! =) I can play, but reading music isn’t my “forte”. ;) Well even in spite of that, I decided to give it a try…and back out if I couldn’t get the songs down good enough in time. =) …so I practiced and practiced the next week, and got really stressed about playing. So stressed, I even started losing my appetite, which by the way is VERY UNUSUAL! =) I was so consumed with trying to get these songs down.

One morning, 4 days before we were planning to leave for the conference, something really cool happened. I was still in bed, and felt prompted to go back and read Joshua 1 which I kind of set as ‘my chapter for the year’. So I did. Listen to this: “…I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and of a good courage: …Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever(even Nashville :) thou goest.” The verses spoke directly to me about my fear of playing! Isn’t God awesome!

So we went, and I played the piano. It wasn’t always ‘perfect’, but over-all it went well. And guess what? It was a blast! I loved it! Praise the Lord!

Now for some pictures. :D

Abbie and Olivia

This is Olivia, she was a very special girl in my group. :)

Abbie at Nashville

I helped lead a team of 16 kids (when they were all there) along with 2 other teachers. The Lord really blessed me with patience that week – it is fascinating how far your brain can stretch! =)  The theme we taught through the week was about The Armor of God, which is what I learned about 13 years ago when I first attended CI! :)

 Abbie, Victoria, and Grace

Yay team!

Getting ready to load the kids on a bus/van, to do a parent presentation.

Abbie and Amanda

Guess we worked her too hard. :)

Nashville CI

Praise the Lord for an awesome week!

 

The next conference was in Sacramento, CA. Hannah and I both went, but were on different flights, as she had already booked hers when I found out I was going. Needless to say, I had some great opportunities to share with the people I sat by on the plane, going there and on the way home…but that is a whole other story. ;)

Hannah E. and Abbie

Helping with CI registration.

Abbie and Andrew 

At this conference I helped do prep work for the CI, get together crafts for the teachers leading teams, helped with Scripture during large group, and helped with some kids who needed some “extra attention.”

Lana, Abbie, and Eden

Even though I didn’t actually lead a team here, I still made some great little friends. =)

Abbie and Zechariah

Abbie in Sac. 

  The little guy in the red shirt was so sweet! He would give me a great energy-giving smile! =)

 

And last but not least, was the conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. Mom and 3 of us girls drove out there and had a great time together! =)

Hannah, Charity, Abbie, and Mom

  Abbie and Matthew

This was my little buddy Matthew, and he has Down’s Syndrome. It was a new experience to work with him, but I am glad I got to. =) Doesn’t he have a great smile!?

 Abbie at Indy

I got to be the pianist again! It is so cool how the Lord blessed me with the opportunity to play the piano. It’s not like something I dreamed about doing, but God knew how much I would enjoy it. I count it as a special blessing from Him. =)

Abbie at Indy

And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Cor. 12:9

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