David & Jeanie have been holding Backyard Bible Clubs all over the Portland Metro area for the past 40 some years. Their faithfulness to Christ, their gentle love for children, and their humble teachable spirits are qualities I hope to emulate.
The summer we first moved to Portland, I heard David talk about Backyard Bible Clubs during one of Hinson’s Sunday evening services. I thought, “I want to do that!” So, after purchasing our home in Beaverton, we hosted our first club last summer. It was the hottest week of the summer, but we pulled out our heat survival tricks from living in Phoenix, and braved the week.
I was most impressed with David’s & Jeanie’s gracious spirits and love for children that pictured well Christ’s open-armed welcome, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them.” (Luke 18:15)
This year, we hosted the club again, and even more kids/teens came. We had a total of 26 in all! While hosting took some effort and occupied the better part of the day, David and Jeanie work with a team of people all throughout the winter to ensure a smooth (and free!) club week. They invest many, many hours beyond what the kids see at the club.
Since our church, Hinson is 25 minutes away, Stephen and I are thankful for the chance to bring a little bit of Hinson to our neighborhood. More importantly, it gives us opportunities to share the good news of the gospel with our neighbors and friends. Five neighbor kids from our cul-de-sac came, and lots more from the surrounding community attended. I even had neighbors offering to help or to donate towards the club.
The missionary story of the week was about Hudson Taylor, missionary to China. The first missionary I can remember learning about is Hudson Taylor. My dad would tell puppet stories about him in AWANA clubs when I was just 3 years old. Dad eventually created a cartoon book about Hudson Taylor (among other missionaries), so the story brought back a lot of childhood memories for me.
Each morning we would welcome each child, help them say Bible verses, and award them money for use at the club store. The colors-of-the-day followed the Wordless Book colors. Monday was dark to represent the darkness of sin, Tuesday was red for Jesus’ death on the cross, Wednesday was white to show the cleansing from sin Jesus accomplishes, Thursday was gold for heaven where we can live with God, and Friday was green for growing in grace.
The kids played organized games in the backyard during registration, and then sang songs. During the Bible story time David taught the truths in ways children could easily understand and pointed them to faith in Jesus. After snack, the kids reassembled for the missionary story. Then it was crafts and shopping at the club store.
My kids loved the club, and I pray each child felt the love of Christ through us.