Since my last blog was about how we need to make Easter and much bigger celebration I thought I would tell you all how it went.
I did the three week advent with all 23 girls, the house mom’s, my kids and Ryan. We all gathered in the multipurpose room every night at about 7. The girls had never done an advent before so this was very new to them. The first few times were at bit awkward; the girls were slow to come, and it felt like something was missing. It didn’t help that I am not a teacher or preacher and thus usually didn’t have much to say about passage we had just read. But after a few meetings I remembered that when the girls did devotionals in their houses they often sang first, so we started doing that and it really livened it up!
After a little more time I noticed that the girls were not lagging in coming anymore and that more and more of the teenagers were participating.( I had one girl come up and read the passage in front of everyone and then that person got to put the ornament on the cross.)
The last week of the advent was by far the best. By this time I had some girls coming up to me in the middle of the day asking “what are we doing at devotions tonight?” obviously excited! Things really picked up the wednesday before Easter. We had read about how Jesus washed the disciples feet. So following the reading every single person in the room got their feet washed! But for me the best part was not washing the girls feet but listening to them as they sang praises to the God of the universe the whole half hour it took me to wash. Then Thursday we read about Jesus celebrating passover with His disciples and the first communion. So we did a passover! It wasn’t the real two hour thing, it was a very simple version but everyone seemed to enjoy it and they learned a lot. Then friday, well friday did not go nearly as well as I had hoped it would. We obviously read about Jesus being crucified and then I had worship music playing softly, only the light of a few candles ( trying to set a more worshipful atmosphere) and everyone had to come and nail and nail into the cross. I asked them to really think about what Jesus did for them and that it’s because of their sin that he was nailed there. Anyway the girls don’t nail very often so they are not very good at nailing and the wood was very very hard so many of them did not get the nail in very far and then when the next person came up to nail in their nail the previous person’s nail would fall on the floor, thus resulting in laughter! I was so hoping for tears and a really special time of worship but that didn’t happen, I was pretty disappointed. If anything I learned that I can set the mood but I can’t get peoples hearts into a worshipful state, only the Spirit can do that. We also put Jesus in His tomb. Saturday we read about the soldiers put to guard the tomb and then I put a ban on all music and games being as it was “sad Saturday” but the girls did watch The Passion of the Christ. On Saturday night the girls went to their church because Sunday was pedestrian day and there would be no church. Three of our girls accepted Jesus that night! But I have be honest with you all, I was jealous I guess, why didn’t they make a confession of faith here at my devotions? What did I do wrong and what did the pastor do right? Stupid right? A person coming to Jesus has nothing to do with me but the spirit convicting them that they need a savior! And who knows maybe, just maybe, the devotions helped in the conviction process, I will never know.
Anyway so Easter was a HUGE party! First the girls came running to see that the tomb was empty! Then I sent them on a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood to find him. I split them into teams and had prizes for the ones who found Jesus. They had a BLAST! Since it was pedestrian day lots of people were out and at one point one of our neighbors asked one of the groups “what are you looking for?” and our little four year old shouted “JESUS!” Needless to say the neighbor was slightly confused 🙂
After Jesus was found we read about His resurrection, assention and 2nd coming. That was followed by a DANCE PARTY!! Not everyone danced but the ones who did had a great time! I even got a little teary eyed thinking as I danced, “ this is to celebrate you Jesus!” Then it was the making a eating of a great lunch, followed by an afternoon of games. In the evening the girls presented their dramas. I am always amazed at how creative they are in the drama it’s self and the costumes, everything! Anyway one of the houses did the crucifixion/ resurrection as it actually happened and the other house did it as they think it would happen if Jesus had died in 2015. This one was very interesting to watch! Both houses did a great job! Then we finished the night with fireworks to celebrate the freedom of our souls b/c Jesus rose!
I defiantly had doubts if the girls really liked it all and if they got anything out of it but Sunday I got quite a bit of positive feedback and lots of asking if we will do it again next year 🙂 We obviously didn’t implement all of the ideas I put on my last blog but I am hoping to add more next year. For those of you who are reading this I hope you are challenged to make Easter a bigger deal, you have a year to prepare.. no excuses 🙂