Don’t worry…The Time Travel Machine, Part 9 in the series will continue right after this post. 🙂
It was a hot, muggy Wednesday night at Care Group. Usually, I wasn’t a huge part of the group: I said hi to people before leaving to my bedroom, and that was it. Kids weren’t really allowed, and I knew that. But last Wednesday was different.
My dad’s Care Group had decided to join another Care Group. We met at Chapin Station, a nearby park in Winter Garden. My parents told me that the reason we were going to the park was so that we could invite people to our church. And the way that we were to attempt that was first inviting people to eat with us. And people told me I could do it. An 11 year-old girl.
I was excited yet frightened to invite people. And so was one of my best friends, Olivia Peine. I asked what I was supposed to do, and Mr. Michaelis carefully instructed me on what to say. I was to ask people in the park area if they would like to join us for dinner. If they said no, I would move on and give them a card about our church.
I decided it was best to practice before doing the real thing, and pretended Olivia was my target. “First be the person that says yes,” I commanded, slowly backing up the sidewalk. She laughed, and agreed. But it was strange asking your friend to join the church she already attended.
“Hi!” I said, approaching Olivia. “I’m Allison. We’re having a-” I stopped abruptly. Olivia was smiling at me, teeth showing. “What?” I asked, feeling weird.
“Nothing,” she answered with a grin. I sighed.
After a while of trying, Olivia and I asked when dinner would be ready. Mr. Derry, a rosy-cheeked man with the appearance of Santa, answered: “Uh- whenever the dogs are ready, really.”
I nodded. After that, I looked out for people. But I was scared to go up and invite people myself…and Olivia wasn’t up to it either. Anyway, it was time for dinner. I filled my paper plate with a hot dog and other delicious foods. Sitting down on the top of a playground platform, I ate with my friend. I really want to invite someone! I thought stubbornly.
Just then, a lady with her three kids entered the playground. The squealing children raced up onto a jumpy bridge. This is it! I scrambled up and left my plate. I walked over, and one of them said, “Are you having a birthday party?”
Excited, I answered, “No, but it’s kinda like your birthday. You can come if you want! We have dinner.” The kids got excited as well.
“Mommy, they’re having a birthday party! They said we can go!”
The woman, surprised, answered, “No…”
Coming to the rescue, I answered: “Actually, you guys are totally welcome.” Stepping forward, I explained the situation, although the lady still seemed un-sure.
“Are you sure?” she asked. I nodded.
“Totally. I’m not kidding. I can get my mom if you want!”
The guest waited, as I tore down the sidewalk to the pavilion. “Mom! Mom! There’s a lady, but I think she needs a parent to say it really is okay to come.” So my mom walked with me, and reassured the lady, who we learned was named Sharon.
Sharon decided to come, and even cried, my mom reported. I was so happy. Olivia and I helped watch her kids and others, and felt like we really were doing something. Cause we were.
And to top it all off, Sharon even showed up to church today with her husband and kids. Sharon’s family has been looking for a smaller church. And guess what? She’s looking in the right place.