Special needs sunday photo

Shining His Light In Uncertain Times

By Alise Ramseyer | April 21, 2021

On Sunday, April 11 at 11:11am, our North Campus room 190 was filled with huge smiles, tons of air high fives and nonstop “chicken wing” (elbow) bumps as our adults with special needs returned to campus for the first time in over a year. Our Special Needs Leadership Team had been praying for wisdom through the pandemic to know when it would be the right time to return to in-person class, and April 2021 became just the right time.

After getting a feel for the pandemic in April 2020, we decided to try Zooming with our adult class on Sunday mornings. We were unsure how many would be able to navigate Zoom, have Internet access at home, or even have a device that could operate the program. It was amazing to see 20+ Fellowship of Friends students join us for our first week of class virtually. After having so much success connecting and learning this way during the pandemic, we decided to add every other Wednesday, that rotated between Girls & Guys Nights and Small Group Nights. For a year we continued to Zoom every Sunday and every other Wednesday and our Zoom group grew to almost 40. Our prayers consistently included praise and thanks for technology that allowed us to consistently connect in such an uncertain time. Although we continue to offer a Zoom option for those who need more time at home, nothing beats standing face to face with our students who have shown an amazing level of patience in this season, grace with all our tech issues and flexibility and understanding with so many changes.

On Sunday, April 11, there was so much joy that filled the room you could hear it outside the doors! For 2021, our class focus shifted to how we can take the current situation we’re in and use it to shine the light of Jesus to others instead of continuing to sit and wait for things to “go back to normal.” Our students were given a BINGO card with multiple ways they could serve others safely in this season and many have already completed 20 squares! We didn’t know how many students would show up for our first in-person class, so we decided to keep it casual and play a real game of BINGO. Every time a student got 5 in a row they had the chance to share how they’ve been serving others around them this season and how they’ve been shining the light of Jesus to others. I’m so proud of each and every one of our students and hope that what they are doing this season encourages you to look at all the ways you too can share the love of Jesus with your circles and community.

Matthew 5:14-16
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”