Several changes are afoot for the traditional Synod-organised, state-wide youth ministry events such as Live Life Loud and SA Youth Camp Out (SAYCO). Tim Littleford explains in this letter.
One boy's big heart
Posted in Family
Earlier this year, a young boy and his mother had a serious discussion about refugees. The boy, Noah, had seen his mother looking at photos of Syrian refugees on her phone, and he began asking questions.
“Why are they sleeping on the floor? Don’t they have a bed?”
“Why don’t they have a place to live?”
The boy’s mother, Kylie, explained that some people don’t have these things; that not all countries are safe like Australia.
A four-year old problem-solver, Noah quickly tried to come up with solutions:
“They could come live with us!”
“We can build them new houses.”
Some time later, as Noah and Kylie were attending Messy Church at Para Vista Uniting Church, the subject was broached again. On this particular day, Messy Church was speaking on “The Widow’s Offering”, the story of a poor widow who gave everything she had into an offering for the temple treasury (Mark 12:41-44, Luke 21:1-4). One of the Messy Church activities involved making a “Generosity Jar”, which families took home with them.
The next day, Noah and Kylie spoke about who they might be able to help with their Generosity Jar. Despite it being weeks after the original conversation, Noah again brought up people who had lost their homes. The pair decided that they would put their Generosity Jar money towards this cause, and Kylie asked Noah whether he would like to ask others to help, too. He quickly agreed this was a great idea.
Out of these conversations, the Noah’s HeART fundraiser was born.
Held at Modbury Uniting Church on Sunday 3 July, Noah’s HeART aimed to raise money for emergency relief through UnitingWorld, the Uniting Church’s international aid organisation.
The event was specifically geared towards creative kids, with opportunities for children to display their “inventions” and to build cardboard houses. It also featured music, dance, face painting and food, and featured banners with information the Campaign for Australian Aid.
The community were very supportive and encouraging as this event was planned, but it was Noah who was the true driver. He was involved in every aspect of the event – from planning to poster design, activities to displays.
“Noah turned five during the planning stages of the event, and he’s grown so much in confidence,” says Kylie. “He has had support from local churches, Bunnings, his kindy and local shops – putting up posters, or donating money, food or resources. All towards Noah’s vision of helping people without homes.”
All of this hard work paid off. With approximately 60 people attending the event, Noah’s HeART raised over $1,000 for UnitingWorld. These funds will go towards supporting people in emergency situations – providing food, shelter, clothes, and more to people who have lost their homes.
As she reflects on the event, Kylie is quick to encourage people to take children’s ideas seriously and to empower them to take action.
“Noah is a very compassionate boy, and we wanted to encourage him to put this compassion into action,” she says. “Children can make a difference in the world. No matter how young you are, if you hear about something that you think is sad or unfair, you can take action and help make things better.”
Online donations for Noah’s HeART will be open for several more days here.
Do you have an encouraging story you’d like to share from your church community? Maybe there’s a child whose “big idea” you can support? Share your stories with New Times by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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