Day 22: A Big Impact
Leading up to Grace Church's 25th Anniversary, we are counting down the days by posting 25 blog posts in 25 days by 25 authors (well, 24... Dave wrote twice)! The post below is one of these posts. Need tickets to the 25th Anniversary celebration at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on September 11, 2016? Get tickets here: gracechurch.us/25. Want more 25th Anniversary blog posts by awesome authors? Check this out!
BY MAGGIE PERRY, LIFT VOLUNTEER
In 2011, shortly after my husband, Michael and I were married, we decided that we wanted to become more involved in the Grace community. Both having a passion for special needs, we decided to volunteer for the LIFT (Loving Individuals & Families Together) ministry. Little did we know how volunteering for LIFT would truly impact our lives. I was paired with a little girl with Down syndrome, and instantly fell in love! My favorite part of each week quickly became the hour I spent with my sweet buddy, Anna. Watching Anna worship with unhindered joy was food for my soul. At a young age, Anna knew Jesus. Over the years, Anna’s family became like our own family. Still to this day, Anna’s family probably does not realize the huge impact that Anna played in our lives.
Early in our relationship, Michael and I discussed that we were both interested in adopting a child with Down syndrome. Our growing relationship with Anna and her family, solidified this dream for us. After three years of serving in the LIFT ministry, on February 14, 2014, God told us out of the blue (while at serving as small group leaders on the Merge winter retreat) that it was our time to adopt a baby with Down syndrome. In the span of ten months, God provided the funds and the means to allow us to go get our son, Rhett. Anna’s family played a large role in helping us bring Rhett home. We picked Rhett up in Bulgaria on December 14, 2015, exactly 10 months after God called us to adopt him.
Over the past nine months, the LIFT ministry has played an integral role in our lives, now as parents of a child with special needs. When Rhett came home, he had a whole host of medical issues, including failure to thrive. We went through several tough months of appointments and hospital stays. Needless to say, Michael and I were tired and craved community and time to rejuvenate each Sunday morning. Yet, we knew that Rhett needed more assistance than the other children his age. We would have not been able to take him to church if it wasn’t for LIFT. The gift of the LIFT ministry has been indescribable. To know that we can take our son to learn about Jesus, and receive the attention and care that he needs, while we worship as a couple is irreplaceable. Rhett is embraced with open arms, and is loved so well by everyone in LIFT. He is now thriving in his health and has been matched with a buddy who will assist him in the class that is specific for his age group.
Michael and I cannot thank Grace enough for LIFT and the fact that we are not held back from attending church because our son has special needs!
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I first met Maggie at a LIFT training session (probably in 2011). She introduced herself to the group by saying, "Hi my name is Maggie and I love kids with Downs". She proceeded to state that they wanted to adopt a child with Down syndrome. So glad that the dream has come true! Rhett is a lucky boy!
Posted by Kevin Thompson on September 7, 2016 @ 8:40 am