A Young Disciple – Emma’s Story
“The moms at Brightmoor have to reuse their babies’ diapers! So I was glad to help provide clean new diapers for them,” Emma said as she sits at the table with one of the Harry Potter books that she is reading for a second time in front of her. “At the middle school retreat I helped unpack 400 diapers from large boxes into smaller bags of 10 diapers each.” She continues, “They (the Brightmoor babies) can only get 9 diapers a week and that makes me sad.”
Listening to Emma talk about her love of helping others, you might think she is much older than her young 11-year-old self. For only being in the 6th grade, she has enjoyed multiple church- related activities, with the most recent being the Middle School Retreat to a ski resort in Cadillac. “It was my first time skiing and I fell a lot! But Ms. Youn and Petrina (Hone) were with me and it was a lot of fun.”
Leading the 15 students at the retreat were Pastor Susie Hierholzer and Petrina Hone, Middle School Coordinator, and 5 volunteer parents. “The kids had a great time on the middle school retreat,” says Pastor Susie. “They went skiing, snowboarding, tubing, and played broom ball. Then we had a time of devotion and a mission project. We packaged diapers with a note of encouragement and they will be given to the people of Brightmoor. So proud of these kids for their thoughtful discussion and putting their faith into action to help others!” One of Emma’s favorite parts of the retreat was writing encouraging notes and tucking them into the packages of diapers. “I would tell them that that they are amazing,” she said.
What was her most challenging part of the service? Emma admitted, “Attending a different church on Sunday. I was nervous that it wouldn’t be a friendly place.” The retreat participants attended Faith UMC in Coleman, Michigan and experienced comforting hospitality. Emma continued, “But everyone at that church was very friendly and smiled a lot. They talked with us about our retreat and made us feel very welcomed.”
When asked, “What changes might you make in your life after going on this retreat?” Emma did not hesitate and quickly responded, “I will continue to donate a lot of my time. The more help you give others, the better. I would rather help others than myself.” Emma has given many hours of her 11 years being the hands and feet of God. She has participated in multiple 45C mission trips as a 4th and 5th grader. She participates in youth group, choir, and choir camp, which she proclaims “is the best place to be!” She also enjoys helping her mom with our Angel Tree Project where Birmingham First members donate gifts and meals to children with incarcerated parents. “When we deliver gifts to Angel Tree families, we are helping them know they are loved,” responds Emma.
Emma loves her church so much that she adds, “I know my friend, Sofia, who doesn’t go to church, would like church and I have invited her to come to many activities. She finally said yes and is going bowling with me and the youth group.”
Eleven years old. A passion for serving. Inviting others to join her. Emma IS a disciple and is helping to build new ones!
Thanks to your generosity, youth like Emma are not only growing in their faith, but sharing the Good News as well.
For more information on our youth programs, please visit our Student Ministries page.