LTJ: A Special Party!

 

Written by Louise Tucker Jones in the January 2011 Issue

The New Year sneaked up on me again! Just when I finally relaxed enough to enjoy Christmas, January came skidding around the corner. While the ball was dropping in Times Square, I was wondering where Christmas went. Each year I promise to be ready for both celebrations, but it hasn’t happened lately.

And even though I didn’t get to attend every Christmas program I planned for December, I definitely made it to the best show in town—the annual Special Ministries Christmas Party at Henderson Hills Baptist Church. Every year, dozens of people with special needs are treated to a banquet, a portrait of themselves with family or friends in front of the Christmas tree, along with a special gift. But the best part comes after the meal, when the audience kicks back and enjoys a talent show put on by the guests of honor.

For over an hour, individuals sing, dance, or play musical instruments. One young lady even twirls a
baton. Joe Stone, our oldest member at 77 years young, entertained the group with a rendition of White Christmas, inviting the audience to sing along. Lee Ann brought a reverence to the program with O Holy Night, Brain sang The Christmas Song, and a young Elvis impersonator got the crowd clapping along while he sang and played the guitar. There were thirty or more jaw-dropping, awe-
inspiring performances.

It was a marvelous night and as you might guess, it took a multitude of volunteers to pull off this feat.
Teachers, parents, friends, family and people from all walks of life — old and young alike, members and non-members of our church — made this gathering the best of the best with an attendance of more than 200 people.

And in case you’re wondering, yes, HHBC presents lots of other opportunities for challenged individuals throughout the year. There are special events in the spring and fall, camps for teens and adults during the summer as well as Vacation Bible School for the young ones. A choir performs at numerous venues throughout the year, not to mention the many opportunities provided for all age groups on Sunday mornings.

But the greatest thing of all is the love our students have for others and for the Lord. Each Sunday I am greeted with hugs, smiles and happy conversation. Some have known me so long they call me their second mother. One man is especially fond of brochures and books from Texas. He waits at the door each Sunday to see what my husband brings him and often exclaims, “I love Carl Jones.” Joe always asks about my mother, having met her at church a few times. Robert hands me my bulletin. Preston sometimes hugs me and tells me he is praying for me, while several other adults help with the offering.

So, if you missed their big Christmas show this year, you might want to grab an apron, a camera, a cart of drinks or some decorations and show up next year as a volunteer. Better yet, find someplace to volunteer right now. It doesn’t have to be at my church; it can be anywhere. Make it your New Year’s resolution to become friends with a challenged individual this year. One caution — don’t think you will be the one doing the blessing — you will definitely be the recipient.

It’s amazing what a difference one person can make. If you don’t believe me just look at the large group of people with special needs at HHBC. And it all started more than 25 years ago with only one child — my son, Jay!

Happy New Year!

1 Comment

LINDA BARTOLINA MORTON (DONALD GENES SISTER) Says:
January 8th, 2011 at 10:41 pm
LOUISE I HAVE NEVER READ ONE OF YOUR STORIES BEFORE BUT PHYLLIS SHEPHERD BROUGHT YOUR JANUARY STORY TO MY ATTENTION , I WILL BE READING THEM MORE OFTEN. DO YOU EVER SEE DONALD GENE AND DARLENE, THERE IN EDMOND.
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