A Busy New Year Ahead!
Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you all had a great CHRISTmas Season. I am sad to see that it is all over but at the same time can't wait to get back to a normal routine. Today I am hoping to take down the Christmas decorations, but I am slightly avoiding it because I don't have anywhere to put that giant Christmas tree. The only extra storage we have is in our spare bathtub and it is full. I miss having a garage!
This previous month was very full for us. I feel like I probably say that every month but December really was VERY full. We had our Children's Christmas Program, 32 renewal visits, a cookie decorating event, three Christmas dinners, two grandmas to visit and a partridge in a pear tree!
So the most prominent thing last month was the Christmas program. We had a total of 14 kids performing in this program. We practiced with the kids every Sunday starting mid November ending with a dress rehearsal the week before. Unfortunately with us being in a movie theatre it created a challenge as to where to put everything. I didn't even consider the fact that the theatre we practiced in was set up differently than the theatre that we preformed in. So a majority of the time the audience couldn't see the cast. But everyone still loved it, we got the point across, and the kids had a blast, so I guess it worked out. I definitely have learned some lessons for next year. Every year the program is something I look forward, dread, love doing, and love when it's over, all at the same time. We had to do a lot of prep for this, luckily I had quite a bit of help. The band helped me change sets between scenes, some youth helped me entertain the kids between scenes, I had an amazing lady named Renee make all the angel costumes and her husband, Rob, made shepherds staffs. I also have an awesome husband that made the set, Jeremy figured out all my technical issues, and my number one go to girl, Krysta, helped me corral kids during the play. Without all these people and more I could not have done it! So Thankful for a church family willing to support us like that!
We also had a Birthday party for Jesus after our dress rehearsal. I love doing this with my students because it is so easy for us to get wrapped up in presents. (pun intended) I try to make the sole focus of Christmas on Christ and I think that a birthday party is a really good tangible way to make that happen for kids. We only had cake at our party due to time restrains but I still loved it. Despite a few bumps in the road, everything worked out fine with both the party and the program.
Apartment Life is also still going well. Our work load is getting bigger so we were thankful that we were able to ease into it. This month we did a Cookie Decorating class as our event. We found a professional baker from our community and asked her to come in to teach the residents how to decorate cookies. I personally had a lot of fun decorating cookies and was very proud of how well they turned out. I wouldn't let Layne eat them. I just wanted to look at them. Eventually I did give them to our pastors family and I am sure the kids loved them.
In addition to events Layne and I are also required to do welcome and renewal visits. So if we have a new resident move in, we give them a month to settle in then we will come by to introduce ourselves and welcome them to the building. For those whose lease is about to expire we will go visit them 4 months in advance to make sure they have had a good experience living here and get their feedback. That feedback we give to our apartment staff and they use that info to help reduce turnover. This month we had over thirty renewal visits. Honestly, Layne and I hate doing these, they always feel awkward and disruptive, but we have gotten to know one or two people by doing so. We take Thaddeus along with us and totally use him as an ice breaker and people usually enjoy him.
Aside from those awkward visits, we are loving Apartment Life! This year the apartment complex has included Apartment Life into the budget which means we are able to go two events a month. But the hardest part has been advertising for our events. We want a high attendance so that we have the opportunity to start new relationships. Our one poster in the elevator isn't quite doing the job. We have finally been granted permission to start a Facebook Group to use as a community engagement tool. Though I am excited for all this, it will add to the work load.
This month we will also be starting our Quarterly Family Nights. This is a new ministry that I am hoping to take off with the children's ministry and really get the parents involved. Children's Ministry is not limited to a Children's Ministry Program, it goes way further than what we do on Sunday mornings. I am hoping to train and equip the parents through these events and start to unite the ministry with the rest of the church.
Lots going on this month which means lots to pray for:
1. Family Nights
2. Apartment Life Events
3. Welcome and Renewal Visits