St. paul || north hollywood, ca
Katie Zietlow, Grace Schultz, and Megan Lepke || Kingdom Workers Volunteers
So far, my experience here at St. Paul's First has been great! I got to know the faculty and families of both the church and school very quickly. They are all so welcoming and have made for an enjoyable summer so far. The children we teach come from very unique backgrounds, so sometimes it's challenging to connect with all of them. However, they all have such warm hearts and are willing to help us get to know them and help them learn! This has definitely opened my eyes to see how God's work is done outside of the Midwest. When I was younger, my dad was a pastor in several mission churches around the country. Now my family is happily settled in a large developed church in central Wisconsin. This experience in California has been such an amazing opportunity for me because it has reopened my eyes to the work that needs to be done not only in the Midwest, but all over the world! I love the reactions I get when I tell little kids about their Savior for the first time, and I feel like those reactions aren't very common in Montello, Wisconsin or New Ulm, Minnesota. God wants us to spread out across the globe for a reason! So many people still haven't heard the Word of God, and it's such a blessing and honor that God is using me to help him in this project. To Him be the glory!
This past week was vacation Bible school and we got to lead groups in the morning and then lead summer camp in the afternoon. Many of the children in my group were not from St. Paul's. One little girl had some different beliefs at the beginning of the week but by the end, she was one who was answering all the questions about the Bible stories. It is amazing to see how the Holy Spirit is working in the littlest of children.
It has been an amazing opportunity to be able to be a camp counselor here in North Hollywood. Being able to share God's Word with these children is a cool experience. Over the past couple of weeks, numerous kids have said, "I'm going to miss you when you guys go back to school" as well as asking if we can come back next year, and begging us to do so. To think that just over a month ago I couldn't remember 10 kids’ names and now I know all 55+ kids that come to camp from week to week. It is a blessing to know that our work here is being blessed! I am thankful for this opportunity to share my faith and know the faith of the children may be strengthened but also that mine has!
My summer in North Hollywood was an experience I will never forget. Each and every day I was able to walk into such a mission-driven school and work with a very diverse group of children. I wasn't sure what to expect being from the Midwest, but the children were so loving and fun! They would constantly remind us Kingdom Workers how much they cared about us. St. Paul's is a huge mission field, and it was very common to see children from families who weren't being taught about Jesus at home. It was such a blessing to spread my faith each and every day.
Throughout the summer, I would hear children bringing Jesus into every day conversations and it would put such a big smile on my face. This summer camp also helped the children stay active and be able to have new experiences. Some of these experiences included learning about and holding snakes, going to a science museum, learning karate, and just being able to go to the local swimming pool.
Our nine weeks were planned out through themes. It was so fun being able to incorporate ones that all the children may not have been as familiar with. For example, my family loves to go camping. I had asked my students how many of them had ever been camping and no hands were raised. I decided that I wanted them to have a similar experience so I built a camping scene in our classroom.
I have so many fun and fond memories from the 10 weeks I spent in California. I can't thank everyone enough who helped make this summer possible for me. It was truly a life changing experience.
This summer was an awesome opportunity for the other girls and me. Going into it, I was not expecting to have so many kids to myself every day. When I found out that I would be in charge of anywhere from 5-30 kids to myself, I was a little shocked. I was under the impression that I would be some kind of an assistant to a teacher and help them with smaller things. I had never worked with so many kids by myself before, but I was excited and ready to take on the challenge.
The first couple of weeks were challenging, but once the children had gotten comfortable with me and I with them, things flowed much more smoothly. I learned how to control them, which was a feat in and of itself. A few of the kids gave me especially hard times, but I found out some tricks that helped me calm them down and give me more respect. A couple of the teachers also gave me some great advice on how to handle the troublemakers. So many of the kids down there come from broken or challenging home situations, and it just breaks my heart seeing what some of them go through every day. It was hard for me to hear how some of them didn't want to go home for whatever reasons. It was a great outreach opportunity, though. Most of the kids weren't members of the church, and only about half were students at the school. I tried to bring God into as many conversations as possible, and it made me so happy to hear them talk about Him, too. Every once in a while, I'd have parents come to me and ask about future enrollment in the school, or how to get involved in the church. It was very encouraging to see young families getting involved with the church and school.
Going to North Hollywood really opened my eyes to a lot of things. The first thing I noticed was how diverse everything was down there. I asked some of the teachers to describe their community for me in one word, and they all said, "eclectic". This is the only way I can describe it to you, as well. The people, the way they dress, how they talk, how they walk, what they do, what they say, everyone is their own person. I can't say I was completely surprised with this, I just wasn't used to it. With time, I got more comfortable with the area, the people, the church, and the school. Most of the kids had English as their first language, but could also speak other languages, so that was something to get used to. I also had the privilege of working with some kids with disabilities. I can honestly say I enjoyed every moment of working with those kids. They have some of the biggest hearts and I grew so much as a person and as a future teacher by being able to work with them.
I thought it was wonderful how the camp was mainly run by young adults. The four people that ran the camp were all college students. We alo had a young member of the congregation with us to show us how to run the camp. He had already been a counselor for a few years, so he was a huge help. It was very encouraging to see someone our age showing his faith on a daily basis, and so eager to share God's Word. It just shows that it doesn't matter what vocation you choose. God works in so many ways through so many people to do His work. We also had some teachers help out in the morning and on days we had field trips, but for the most part, it was just the four of us.
I am thankful the Lord led me to serve at St. Paul's First Lutheran this summer.
Want to support this ministry? Give a gift [HERE]
Share this with your circle