Experiencing ABW – by Kylah Lohnes
My experience of Atlantic Baptist Women begins with a 16-year-old Kylah looking for her first job. I was passionate about children’s ministry and eager to find a job that would put that passion to good use. 2011 was my first of three summers working with ABW as a Vacation Bible School Coordinator. The first two summers I worked with two different students (one each summer) for 8 weeks travelling around Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to lead VBS programs in small local churches that may not have otherwise been able to offer any children’s programs throughout the summer months. The third summer I worked with ABW I partnered with my sister and was able to revisit some churches I had been to before as well as visiting some new ones. I was so grateful to be able to share that experience with my sister and we still reminisce about the people we met and places we visited from time to time.
I vividly remember my first experience of leading a child to Christ, explaining that Jesus wants to live in our hearts and teach us to live like Him. I remember the excitement of the children to receive a small candy for memorizing their bible verse. I remember many of the more than 25 VBS closings that I lead over those three summers and the kids who were excited (and some less than pleased) to show their parents all the songs and dances they had learned over the week. I remember when the fog lifted after 4 days and we could finally see the harbour in Dipper Harbour, NB. I remember learning to play new card games and trying new foods. I remember the first time I learned that people put cheese on apple pie. I remember feeling welcomed and appreciated by all of the women who cooked food, offered encouragement, opened their homes and shared their beautiful communities and families with us throughout those weeks.
These are my first experiences of ABW, but they are by no means my only experiences. I have had the pleasure of leading during Camp interMISSION. I’ve been overwhelmed by joy and love as I listen to the girls sing a hymn they learned as a way to connect with the older generations of women. I’ve taken pictures of the girls decorating with icing, making bracelets, and playing dress-up with women old enough to be their mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. I’ve spoken to these girls about issues impacting girls around the world and watched them respond with generosity, prayer, concern and compassion. When asked why girls matter, one 10 year old wrote “girls will listen to longer and deeper conversations” and another wrote “she matters because she is living”. Camp interMISSION has provided me with small tastes of the Kingdom of God, a place where ethnicity and age and cultural differences are less important than living life together, loving and sharing in the joy of friendship that crosses boundaries.
These are my experiences of the ministry that ABW coordinates, but I could also tell stories of the ways that members of ABW and local groups have encouraged and challenged me. Stories of encouragement notes, donations for mission trips, endless prayers and open invitations to share my life with them. This is my experience of Atlantic Baptist Women.
I want to encourage you to share your story, your experience of Atlantic Baptist Women. Maybe it’s a story about interMISSION or about VBS programs. Maybe it’s a story of how a blog or Tidings article has impacted you. Maybe it’s a story of friendship and support from your local WMS group. Maybe it’s a story of a mission trip or participating in one of the many ministries that ABW supports. What is your experience of ABW?
Share it with others! Post about it on social media. Talk about it with friends and family. Write about it for a church or community newsletter or bulletin. Write a little story and then send it along to Lisa Lohnes (email@example.com). Over the years I have become more and more convinced that ABW has important stories to tell, we just need you to help get that started!