Friday, July 3, 2009

The Blessed Tree Swing

-Sunday morning, 9:00 AM. -


I looked out the kitchen window to our backyard. I had my suspicions as to who was making all the commotion, and what I saw confirmed I had guessed correctly. Four little boys all trying to pile at once onto our little green tree swing. Four little boys all yelling at the top of their lungs. Four little boys running around our tiny backyard and tackling each other mercilessly.

"It's the neighborhood posse, come to make their rounds!" Dad announced from the family room, where he was ironing his shirt in preparation for church later that morning . I grinned at him. This "posse" was a regular visitor at our house because of our fun swing, and also because of the "free" water and suckers we are so well known for in these parts. :)

Let me back up a little bit. Four years ago, we had our handyman, Mr. G, put up a cute little green swing that matched our cute little green picket fence from our huge sycamore tree in our backyard. For several years now, our backyard has been a "hotspot" among many neighborhood children because of that swing, and we loved the many open doors this has provided for us to get to know and reach out to these children. Most or all of them come from not - so - good families, and don't have a clue as to what it means to know Christ personally. So we go out to give them "underdoggies" on the swing, and give them water and suckers (and bananas and apples...) and talk to them about Jesus.

So when we were informed just recently that our huge tree was dying, or mostly dead, we were terribly disappointed! If we cut down the tree, then this meant no more swing, and no more swing meant no more children. So we came up with an idea: why not just cut down all but the trunk and the one branch that the swing hung from?

Yes, you may laugh (and all our neighbors did! :)) but the kids keep coming, and there is still enough life in that trunk and one branch to give the kids many more hours of fun! :)

So back to Sunday morning, the noisy boys soon ambled up to our sliding glass door to ask for a drink. They claim we have the best water they've ever tasted!! Then they asked me to come out and give them underdoggies, since I'm bigger than they are and can push them higher. :) So I did, even though I was dressed for church, and right in the middle of lunch preparations to take to our church potluck.

Soon, to my surprise, spiritual conversation came up. Coy...

...9 years old and the most outspoken, told us "Victor doesn't believe in Jesus."

Victor is 10 and twins with James. (I'm sad to say that I don't have pictures of either of them!) They are sweet little guys, and don't actually live in the neighborhood, but come to visit their grandparents every once in a while who live on our street.

So we were off and running, talking about Jesus, and soon Dad joined us to talk some more. At one point, when Dad was talking about heaven and hell, Coy looked up aghast at Dad and questioned, "isn't that a bad word??" lol!! There was some obvious interest from the three of them, and it became very apparent that Victor, in fact, was open to Jesus, but there was one other boy, Gavin - 9 years - that seemed distant. He left for a while, and we thought that he probably wouldn't come back.

While he was gone, the three other boys all expressed that they were ready to ask Jesus into their hearts!! We were so excited, and made sure that they understood the decision that they were making. Just when we were about to pray, Gavin came back, and bowed his head with the rest, repeating the words after Dad to make the Lord their Savior. Praise the Lord!!

Victor looked up after the prayer. "Why is my heart burning??" he asked slyly. Coy joined in: "and why is everything changing colors??" Ha ha, you silly guys! It was so fun to hear all the cute, fun things they had to say.

Gavin, normally the most wild, was surprisingly a bit more sober than all of them. We found out why just a few moments later. His uncle had been murdered just the night before, and his whole family was in shock and grief. So we were able to go over and talk to his parents, who are not Christians at all, and offer our help in any way that we could.

So we completely missed church, but we made church in our backyard instead that morning! God works in wonderful ways, and we praise His Name!

We are not sure if these boys were sincere or not in their decision that morning, but we do know that seeds were planted, and we fully intend to follow them up!

Would you join us in praying for each one of these four boys and their families: Coy, Gavin, James and Victor? Also for Gavin's little sisters Audrye and Jana (pictures below). Thank you!!


  1. AWESOME PTL. That is so neat. We will be praying for each of them and for your continued ministry around your home. Blessings

  2. So, so, so exciting to hear how the Lord has used you all to reach out to the people in your neighborhood! Hope we get to meet them when we come in a few weeks! :)

  3. When we are willing to give up our schedules and the need for our space (keeping the cute short fence versus a big one for privacy), He uses us in ways we could never have imagined. Thanks for sharing! And very glad you kept the swing! :)

  4. Your entire blogspot is beautiful and I found myself caught up in reading the descriptions and viewing the beautiful ohotos. I am also challengned by how you are allowing the Lord to use you, develope you, and guide you. It was great seeing you, even briefly, after service at First Free in Moline this summer, and I'm so glad you could meet my little boy Taylor! Love in Him, Pat McGill