“They are like my family.” These were the words of one of the students who attended last year’s Camp Hutchison when asked about the volunteers that were helping her throughout the summer. What a great way to sum up the experience of the students and volunteers at Camp Hutchison 2011!

I have asked myself why helping children living in poverty or difficult situations strike such a chord with the people of Floris United Methodist Church. It is so evident in the work we do in the community and the world. Let me give you a few examples:

We recently had a team return from Haiti. While they worked to rebuild the church in the community of La Tremblay, many children would come to visit the team. Many of these children came from families that could not afford to pay for school. After learning the story of two boys that visited regularly, the team decided to use part of their mission funds to pay for a year of school for both of them. This generosity will undoubtedly make a huge impact on the lives of those boys.

We collected and delivered 600 Easter Baskets to children living in shelters and transitional housing through our Easter Basket Ministry. Tom said that even though the children didn’t “need” these baskets, this generosity brought immeasurable joy to children living in difficult situations. Also, I think it was fun for all of you to make these baskets with your family.

There were 150 volunteers for Camp Hutchison last year. It was one of our largest Serve related endeavors in years and because of the time that you gave, 92 students had wonderful experiences learning and playing in a safe and loving environment. On April 22, you’ll be able to sign up for Camp Hutchison 2012 and be a part of a life-changing experience for children.

So why does Floris care so much for children? Shaun Casey, a member of the church and professor at Wesley Seminary, summed up the love for children very well in one of the devotionals he wrote for Camp Hutchison based on Mark 10:13-16:

“People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, ‘Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.’ And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.”

Shaun wrote:Where one finds the kingdom of God, one will likely find a community of people who welcome and care for children as one of their central activities. It seems that Jesus saw the vulnerability and powerlessness of children as the reasons they are primary beneficiaries of the reign of God.

Our love for children is evident in our children’s programming, our community outreach, and our missions around the world. Throughout 2012, opportunities to help children in our community and our world will be available to you, starting with our Camp Hutchison recruitment beginning this Sunday. I encourage you to be a part of the transforming work of Floris as we impact the lives of children.

A Haiti mission team member interacting with local children.

Students attending last year's Camp Hutchison

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