New Ways to Serve: A Virtual Learning Center
As 2020 has limited our church’s traditional outreach projects, we have looked for new ways to show God’s love in our community. One of the best ways we’ve been able to do that is through our new virtual learning center for children of teachers at Spring Run Elementary School, led by myself and Bre Neudeck. This was a great opportunity to foster our ongoing connection with Spring Run.
So what does a Virtual Learning Center look like?
Representing three elementary schools and two middle schools, our K-6th grade students arrive anywhere between 7:30-9:00am. Every student has a 6ft. table where they have their own county-provided Chromebook, set of headphones, and all supplies needed for a full day of school. Each child has their school schedule taped to their desk so the volunteer on duty that day is aware of what they are supposed to be doing at all times. Kids have movement breaks, screen breaks, and brain breaks throughout the day and lunch schedules all range within a two hour time period.
A Failed Chromebook and A Gospel Conversation
As with everything in 2020, things don’t always go as planned! One particular day, we had a little girl whose Chromebook was not working. She missed quite a bit of class time in the early morning, and it wasn’t long before we received a phone call from her mother who was in a panic wondering if her daughter was going to miss the entire day of school. We reassured her that the problem had been resolved – We had picked up the replacement Chromebook from the support center and the student was back in class already!
We found out later that this one situation opened the door for one of the teachers at the school to share the gospel and love of Christ with the mom of this girl. The mom didn’t understand why we would go to such lengths to help her daughter who we barely knew, and the other teacher was able to explain Gods love in action.
Never once did we think that our school would provide an opportunity for other teachers in the school building to have gospel conversations! Our prayer was that we would be able to do that with the kids here, unknowing that God had planned to allow that to happen inside the school as well!
During each school day, our volunteers sit in the back of the room monitoring the students as they work. Bre and I have noticed that over the past 10 weeks, each of our volunteers has brought their Bible and used their time to study on their own. This has also opened the doors for conversations about Jesus. Volunteers have had the chance to share with the children about their faith on different occasions, something we prayed for from the beginning.
This is not what any of us pictured the 2020-2021 school year would look like when we were sent home from school for two weeks last March. However, this has become the new norm and God has used it to graciously open doors to allow Swift Creek to show His love to families and children in our community in a new way. Throughout the past 10 weeks, we have received multiple thank you cards from parents who are extremely grateful for what we are offering letting us know how much their children love coming to church to do school. It’s been such an encouraging ministry to be a part of. Please pray for these efforts as we continue to find opportunities to share Jesus with our students and their parents!