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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Encouragement (02/23/12)

TITLE: Give and Take
By Laura Manley


Five years ago, when her Pastor asked for church ministry volunteers, Nadine all-too-eagerly was one of the first to add her name to the list. Two weeks later, he approached her before the morning service.

“Nadine, I have a ministry I think is perfect for you!” her Pastor said with excitement

“What is the ministry, Pastor?” she asked with the same enthusiasm he had projected.

“How would you like to be The Pocket Lady at our church?” he asked and then explained that at his home church, before coming to pastor hers, they had a lady who, during the Sunday school hour went to the classrooms of grades four down to the two and three year old class. She wore an apron with several pockets sewn onto the front. If a child knew his/her memory verse, they got to pick whatever was in one of the pockets.

They talked for some time and by the time the Pastor finished telling her about her new ministry, Nadine was full of anticipation.

“How marvelous!” Nadine almost screamed with excitement. “When do I start?” she asked.

“Once you get an apron made, you’re officially The Pocket Lady,” he said with shared excitement. She had sewn since she was a child so making the apron with pockets would be no challenge.

The next Sunday, Nadine brought her apron with its twelve pockets. She filled the pockets that morning with tootsie roll pops and other candy she had bought over the weekend. That done, she was ready for her assignment! She was excited and hoped the children would be equally excited.

She gently opened the door of the first classroom and introduced herself as the church’s first Pocket Lady. She saw some confusion on the children’s faces, but she was ready to explain why she was there.

“Good morning,” she began. “I am The Pocket Lady of our church now. What my main purpose here is to encourage you all to learn your weekly memory verses. But, if you know your memory verse for the week, you will come up front where I am and reach into one of my pockets. In my pockets, I have prizes that are anything from candy to stickers and anything in between! I will be choosing two of your to recite the verse each week. Now, who knows their verse for this week?”

Several children in the 4th grade classroom quickly raised their hands.

“Okay, then, how about the girl right over there with the pretty pink bow in her hair,” Nadine said. “And what is your name?” Nadine asked.

“Laurie,” answered the girl. She recited her verse perfectly and as she finished, Nadine said, “Laurie that was very good. I am so proud of you! Do you know what an encouragement that is to hear you recite your verse so well? Very well done!”

“Thank you ma’am, she answered!” She put her hand into one of the apron’s pockets, at the go-ahead from Nadine, and pulled out a tootsie roll pop!

“Oh, this is my favorite! Thank you, Pocket Lady!” Laurie said with a smile as big as a Halloween pumpkin.

As Nadine went to each classroom that morning, there were many blessings to be had. Little did she know then the love that would grow between her and the students.

Over the next few months, she began to be known as “Pocket Lady” instead of Ms. Nadine. Joy filled her heart as she watched these children grow over the months and years, not only as Sunday school students, but their personalities grow as well.

She thought with fondness of the twin boys in the two and three year old class who would barely acknowledge her presence at first, who now came up to her weekly and gave her hugs. And how the bus kids in each classroom started to come out of their shells and watched for the Pocket Lady to come to their classroom each week. After a time, she felt she brought something to them each week beyond the candy; that they felt her love for them. In that exchange, she wondered if they knew, that in her encouraging them to learn their Bible verses, she was being encouraged by the growth she saw in their precious faces each week!

Author’s note: This is a true story, but I have changed the name in my story so my identity would not be revealed.

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This article has been read 395 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Donna Wilcher03/02/12
Wow! I love this, especially because it is true. What a lovely idea. I hope you don't mind, but I am encouraged to share this idea with our youth group leaders...Thanks!
Nancy Bucca03/04/12
I love this creative take on the topic, and I relate to it in that I have a daughter named Nadine who is a big encouragement to me.
Jean C Prentice03/07/12
I love your story, and what a wonderful way to encourge children. If you do not mind, I would love to talk to my Pastor about this.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/12
This is a lovely ministry. It would be such fun and what a great way to encourage the kids as well as the parents. Nice fresh take on the topic.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/08/12
Congratulations for ranking 6th in level one!