“Is this your first time at Children’s Chapel?” a little girl in a blue sweat suit questioned, scooting closer to me on the tile floor. I nodded, smiling as she reached for my notebook and pencil. “We have lots of fun here. Sometimes we get to color or go outside,” she continued, doodling on my pad. A few more children began to file into the room, plopping down on carpet squares scattered across the floor. One little boy lifted the edges of his carpet seat imagining it was a magic carpet as he slid across the room.
“Hello everyone!” said Ruth Voorhees, that evening’s Children Chapel volunteer. She held a small Bible in her hands as she greeted a few of the children by name, sitting down in a chair amongst the group. Eager faces looked up at her, rattling off questions.
“Can we color today?” called out one little boy as he hopped up and down excitedly. “I lost a tooth today!” another girl announced, sitting close to one of her friends, displaying the new gap in her front teeth. Mrs. Voorhees smiled and opened up the children’s Bible and began to read the lesson. “Yes,we can color right after our Bible story, Xavier. Today we’re going to learn about Nehemiah.”
Whether you’re just looking for something to do in your spare time, or you have a passion for a particular subject or hobby, there are always ways to volunteer at the Rescue Mission’s Women and Children’s Center. For Ruth Voorhees it started off as a combination of both. Six years ago, she called the Mission looking for something to do in her spare time. As the Rescue Mission worked with her to find out what volunteer project would work best, they discovered that she had a long history working with children. She soon began coming to the mission once a week to volunteer for their Children’s Chapel.
Children’s Chapel is a hands-on volunteering activity held every Monday-Thrusday for children at the shelter. People from the community volunteer each night to teach Bible stories to the children as well as create crafts and games for them throughout the evening. Ruth Vorhees has been coming to the Rescue Mission every Monday night for the past 6 years to invest in the lives of the many children that pass through the mission. When asked what motivates her to continue her work, Voorhees replied, “It’s nice to do something to help someone out who’s just down on their luck.” She has been a faithful volunteer with the ministry, rarely missing a week. “I get more from the children than I could ever give to them,” she smiled.
Recently, the mission has had to divide Children’s Church’s attendants into two groups for the lesson due to the increasing number of residents staying at the shelter. Voorhees explained that there had been up to 28 children each night and that it was becoming too large. This month they began holding separate lessons for children ages 3-12. Voorhees teaches the children 7 and under, while Lynne Pope, the Rescue Mission’s Children Chaplain, taught the older group that evening.
Monday night, Mrs. Pope’s lesson was 1 Peter 1:24-25. As the children colored worksheets and crossword puzzles, Pope discussed the strength of the Lord. “Everything else withers away, pansies, irises, and grass. But the word of the Lord stands for how long?” she asked. “Forever!” the children cried in unison. “Yes,” Pope, smiled, “forever.”