“I had a hard time seeing God at work through me at the beginning because I didn’t see how playing with kids qualified as ‘service.’” I had defined service as life-changing acts such as building as house. Throughout the week, though, I realized that service is sometimes just playing with a kid so they know they matter. I really appreciated my time here and how it changed my perspective of how God can use me.“ -King’s Academy student. Every year King’s Academy (Sunnyvale) partners with BCM to serve our students for a week during the month of April. This year, 5 adult leaders and 14 King’s Academy juniors and seniors immersed themselves in our community for a week. Their experience consisted of supporting BCM programs and hosting our annual Family Fun Day (complete with a staff Easter egg hunt!), leading recess activities at Ravenswood Middle School, and supporting New Creation Home Ministries. In addition to serving, they also spent time learning about the history and present-day dynamics of our community, including learning modules on immigration and mass incarceration. We caught up with Mary Jane and Sarah from King’s Academy; read on to hear about the trip from their perspectives.
Mary Jane (King’s Academy Adult Leader)
Why does the King’s Academy Team continue to serve BCM/EPA? King’s does a lot of immersion trips, about 10 each year, and we are starting to have more local immersion trips because we have a lot of amazing ministries like BCM. We have a lot to give and a lot to receive and we hope our students create an ongoing relationship with local ministries. Exposing Kings’ students to people that have different experiences and who live just 5 miles away will raise their awareness and give them the opportunity to get to know people in the local community. We love BCM and enjoy stepping into BCM’s ministry.
What aspects are rewarding? I love being with kids of any age; I’m a teacher and have committed my life to kids. I liked to be able to play with kids during recess and get to know them, have Bible Club and teach them about Christ and it’s been very fun tutoring the kids through KidSmart.
What has been challenging? Working with King’s students who may be nervous about how to interact with BCM students.
How was this year compared to last year? We have a different group of students this year and I really feel like they have hit the ground running and been very involved and willing to get to know the kids and build relationships.
What do you see the King’s students gaining from this experience?
The learning modules and the overview of the history of EPA and the system of mass incarceration have been very impactful and insightful. The students have been very well prepared in learning about the community of EPA.
Any last thoughts? Partnering with BCM is a very important ministry for King’s to continue. BCM’s learning modules are great and give King’s kids the opportunity to serve well while learning about the community. I really hope and pray that we will continue to maintain this partnership with BCM.
Sarah (King's Academy High School Student)
Why did you decide to serve at BCM/EPA this year? My sister Emily was on the trip last year and she said that it was a lot of fun and that I should try it out. I also really like working with local ministries because it is a good way to learn about my own community.
How has your experience been? I’m loving it! I love working with the kids and getting to know them one on one, especially during tutoring or simply playing with them during recess. I was greatly impacted by the kids and their sweet personalities. I thought that I was going to come in and make a difference, but I ended up learning and being impacted more than I expected.
What has been challenging? Second guessing if the kids will like me or not and being hesitant because of that fear.
What aspects are rewarding? Learning about the issues in EPA and being able to connect people and stories to these issues. I can’t just sit back and pretend that these issues, like mass incarceration and immigration, are just pollical and being blown out of proportion because I see the people with my own eyes who are being affected.
Would you recommend this trip to friends? Yes! I love how much the trip brings people together, and it’s been very eye opening being able to see the people being affected by the issues in this community; it puts things into perspective.