I am a firm believer in having a Bucket List. I believe in it so much that it is a frequent topic of conversation for me with my kids at church. A couple of summers ago, we were on our way to Chicago for a missions trip, and I brought up this topic. Having several hours in church van together, I challenged them to create a bucketlist of 100 items, or “Buckets.” Many immediately thought there was no way they could think of 100 Buckets they wanted to achieve before they died. I chuckled, I scoffed, and I put on my best coach game face telling them they absolutely could do it. When I give my pep talks, I am not sure if I am more like Mickey from the Rocky movies or Rick Moranis in Little Giants. Either way, I gave them my speech. Bucket Lists are not just sky diving and whirling dervishes. They are lifetime goals, and simple acts, and spiritual pursuits. So, much to this youth pastor’s delight, they created some wonderful lists. One item specifically stuck with me. Jeremiah Boylan said he wanted to throw birthday parties for children who could not otherwise afford one.
On February 27, we made that Bucket a reality. Our Refuge Leadership team, hosted a birthday party for 6 kids who needed it. It was fantastic! We had balloons, cake, and Mountain Dew (the real stuff, not Mountain Lightning that I typically use for church stuff)! Our team set up a couple of bounce houses, and played parachute games. The birthday boys and girls were ecstatic to say the least. That is, once they arrived. When I picked them up, most were completely unsure and therefore hesitant. Except one sweet little girl who saw me at the van and immediately exclaimed, “It’s my birthday, It’s my birthday.” This is an important note, because it really wasn’t her birthday, or any their birthdays for that matter. We decided we wanted to throw birthday parties for these kids and it was needed now. We didn’t let a silly fact like the actual date of birth get in our way.
Seeing this young girl so excited completely confirmed our suspicions that the birth dates would not matter. After arriving, the birthday boys and girls were immediately welcomed with our team that had noisemakers, cheers, and smiles. I was so proud of our team. They treated these kids like princes and princesses. They laughed with them and played games. They gave them high fives and were just the right kind of silly at just the right moments. Our students were phenomenal as I know they would be. We threw a birthday party for kids we didn’t know, and it was so good. It was a great day in Refuge history. It was a day I hope those children will always remember, and we will not forget.
Tomorrow I will share the two lessons I learned that day.
For the sake of privacy, I have excluded the children and their parents in the pics. Only our team is pictured. I hope you will understand.