Standing Up, Standing Out

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There’s no shortage of
news–that is, good news about kids doing great things! Check out
these amazing boys–and what their selfless acts can mean for your
ministry.

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Every day, all over the world, kids are making headlines–some for
outlandish things, some for amazing things. Kids lead noteworthy
efforts to save the planet, raise millions of dollars for people in
need, and guide others to greatness through their exceptional
creativity. They’re inventing things. They’re writing books.
They’re surviving diseases and overcoming disastrous world
challenges. In fact, search YouTube and in a matter of seconds, you
can find hundreds of child prodigies, little Mozarts, and even
3-year-olds solving Rubik’s Cubes puzzles. Kids truly are
amazing.    

As children’s ministers we’re around kids–a lot. That’s why it’s
sometimes easy to forget just how remarkable and unique they really
are. It’s good to step back every now and then to consider some of
the superstars of this emerging generation. Seeing the standouts
helps us remember all the potential of the kids gathered in our
ministries. Read on and you’ll see kids as larger-than-life
individuals with the greatest faith, strongest spirits, and most
indelible hope and potential of anyone on Earth.

YOU’RE NEVER TOO YOUNG TO CHANGE THE WORLD..”-Pat
Pedraja”

My name is Pat. I’m 12 years old and I have leukemia. I was
diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March 2006. This
diagnosis came after a long, painful year suffering from what we
thought was juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The pain and swelling in
my joints got so bad that I was in a wheelchair for five months
because I was unable to walk a single step. When the pain got worse
and I had a fever that wouldn’t go away, my doctors put me in the
hospital where they found out that I really have leukemia.” This is
what Pat Pedraja writes on his Web site, drivingfordonors.com.

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The day after Pat’s diagnosis, he told his family his situation
had happened for a reason. This was an important event in his life,
he said, meant to teach him something. Pat immediately began asking
himself what he could do to help others. He got his answer when a
close friend who couldn’t find a lifesaving marrow donor died. Pat
felt compelled to do something so no other kids would die because
they couldn’t find a bone marrow donor match, so he started Driving
for Donors.

Driving for Donors began in 2007 as a nationwide event. Pat’s
family traveled around the country in a special “Donormobile.” In
collaboration with other organizations, Pat and his family hosted
successful donor drives in more than 30 major cities. Pat’s raised
more than $100,000 for tissue typing fees and driving expenses by
selling advertising on his bald head. Driving for Donors has signed
up more than 6,000 donors to the National Marrow Registry, and
Pat’s efforts have helped save four lives so far.

Pat has been interviewed, written about, and honored, yet he says
his proudest moments are the times he’s received phone calls
telling him that his efforts have helped save a life.

How can this story shape my…

• Ministry? Kids are just waiting to be moved to action.
Move them. Expose your kids to real problems people are struggling
with daily, and encourage them to think critically about how they
can help, using their purpose and potential. God uses children to
change the world; it’s time to follow in his footsteps, don’t you
think? 

• Programs? Create programs that challenge kids.
Encourage kids to participate in service learning projects.
Challenge their ideas and give them forums to hash out their
feelings within your programs. 

• Perceptions? Kids are capable, aware, smart,
and innovative leaders. See your kids as powerful people who have
strong feelings, passion, faith, and a calling from God to do
miraculous things. Believe that kids aren’t too young to save the
world. “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young.
Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you
live, in your love, your faith, and your purity”

(1 Timothy 4:12).

• Actions?

Look for the silver lining.

Continue to ask, “How
can I help?”

Reflect on ways God
may use you to fix or relieve a problem.

Take action on your
ideas.

Network with others
who share your vision, passion, and goals to accomplish
success.

Celebrate every child
who enters into a relationship with Jesus.

     

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