Kids connect at convention

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Service and fun marked the days for kids 

There was something for everyone during the 2008 U.S. Conference gatherings. The importance that organizers placed on providing activities for children and teens impressed Ben Marquez, the youth director at First MB Church, Wichita, Kan., who organized the youth activities for the Pastors’ Conference. “This is a denomination that seems to value the idea of a connected church,” said denominational newcomer Marquez in an interview during the conference. 

First MB Church of Wichita, Kan., organized the children and youth activities for the Pastors’ Conference while volunteers from Hillsboro (Kan.) MB Church and Parkview MB Church, Hillsboro, took over for the National Convention. Volunteers from congregations in Wichita and Hillsboro provided on-site infant and toddler care.

Youth activities at both locations offered kids the opportunity to serve, connect with other teens and have fun. The five youth attending the Pastors’ Conference spent time at Morningstar Ranch, a leadership training ministry of World Impact located near Florence, Kan., working at the facility, visiting with director Jim Elam and swimming. That evening the conference guests joined members of the First MB junior high youth group for a party.

The dozen teens that attended the National Convention in Hillsboro spent Saturday morning painting and weeding around the Tabor College campus and distributed bottled water around the city as a “random act of kindness” under the direction of Tabor College education department faculty, David and Joanne Loewen. The group had a pizza picnic and swam at an aquatic center in neighboring McPherson, Kan. The group had the unexpected opportunity to befriend a lone little boy who was in the park and joined them for their devotional and meal. 

Liz Schmidt oversaw activities in Wichita for elementary school-aged children. Kids spent Thursday morning at Exploration Place, a children’s museum, and Friday morning the teens joined them for a visit to the Sedgwick County Zoo. The children spent the evenings learning about God’s protection and care in the life of Daniel from “Schooner,” the puppet chicken, via Bible story skits performed by Schmidt’s three children and through related crafts.

In Hillsboro, Rachel Hein and Jamie Richardson organized children’s activities for Friday evening and all day Saturday. The kids spent time at the local bowling alley, playing in the city park and swimming at the pool. They played games, did crafts and learned from Bob the Tomato and Larry the Cucumber via Veggie Tales videos.—CF

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