Why I Serve

When I was an overwhelmed, sleep-deprived mom of toddlers, I had an older mom tell me to “hang in there, because the days are long, but the years are short.” It seemed like crazy talk at the time, but now that I am that older mom of 18 and 15 year old daughters, I find myself repeating those same words, because I understand the truth behind them. My girls have been a part of Hope Park since they were 5 and 2. I can’t even imagine the countless volunteers that have poured into them over the years. After serving in the student ministry, my husband, Robert, and I were asked to move down and serve with the fifth graders in Grapple. It was the first year the fifth graders had their own class and they were excited. These are the “seniors” of elementary school. They think they know what’s up, but are still trying to figure out what it means to be a big kid. 

We are now in our third year serving in Grapple. Every year brings a different group of kids, each with a different dynamic, but all who are willing and eager to learn about Jesus. They come in as timid, somewhat quiet kids, and leave with a little more spirit and a lot more words. Some groups love candy, while others love to play hangman or Mr. Robert’s “ball game.” Some love to put on plays or read Scripture out loud. Every week with them is another chance to remind them how much God loves them and wants to know them. 

I once read a quote that says, “Ministry is not a job or a Sunday routine. It’s a privilege to be chosen and used by Jesus.” Getting back to that truth is what brings us back serving each year. The privilege of seeing our previous kids in the hallway and giving them a hug or a fist bump always makes me smile. They may not remember all the Bible stories they heard, but if they leave our class knowing that Jesus loves them and can take that truth with them into Middle and High School, then it has been worth it. Yes, those years are short, but having a ministry like Hope Park gives all the children of Living Hope a foundation of knowing the truth and love of Jesus. 

- Shannon Shearon 

Living Hope