This week at Preston Taylor Ministries, I had the opportunity to participate in the community-wide Summer JAM (Jesus And Me) sponsored by PTM and a partner church. In addition to the regular day-programming at Preston Taylor, I stayed to help set up for, participate in, and tear down Summer JAM. It took place every night this past week from 6-8 pm in a local park. This week was both a trial and a blessing. Despite the long hours and stressful schedule, I had a chance to bond with the PTM kids outside my Summer SaLT class. I spent close to 3 hours each night with younger kids, forming even more relationships and friendships, while also witnessing the kids have a blast and learn about Christ in a fun and safe environment. It was also a beautiful exhibit of diversity and unity for one purpose, to glorify the Lord through worship, games, and teaching. There were both kids from the local community, as well as kids of the volunteers helping put on Summer JAM. There were participants of all ages, all races, both male and female, all there in a pure and happy environment. It was a truly massive operation, and therefore was a humbling experience to see myself as a servant to these kids, to see myself as a part of a larger whole. This is definitely the longest week of my summer PTM schedule, but it was a great continuation of my Turner Fellowship experience.
More specifically, a few things stood out throughout the course of this week. For example, Audrey Kromer, last year’s PTM Turner Fellow, came to Summer JAM to spend time with the kids she worked with last year. It was encouraging to see the relationships she formed were still intact even a year later. Also, my family came to volunteer on Friday night, and although Summer JAM was called off for rain, it was a great feeling to share this summer experience with my parents and sister, even if only for part of a day. We also took our Summer SaLT class on a few field trips, and had several quality discussions about leadership and discipleship throughout the week.
Overall, this week was long. Every day, however, I was rewarded tremendously by the work I was doing. I look forward to the rest of the summer with an eagerness to serve and bond with the children involved at PTM. I hope I can impact them in a positive way even half as much as they have already influenced my life.
(David Goodloe is a rising senior at Franklin Road Academy who is working at PTM this summer through the Turner Fellowship). You can follow David’s Turner Fellowship blog at http://turnerfellow-goodloe.blogspot.com/.