I was only in my new role here at Grace a couple of weeks when two very vibrant ladies poked their heads in the doorway –
“Make sure you don’t miss our Big Day Out in November. You’ll love it. It’s the highlight of our year.”
“Sounds like fun,” I said. “Count me in.”
The Big Day Out is one of many programs put on by Pinnacle House, a ministry of Grace Church set up to provide a day service in the Nelson-Richmond area for individuals who have special needs. There are not many services like this in the country, and its a great opportunity for Christians (or anyone for that matter) to make a difference. This one is quite remarkable and as a result, has been attracting a lot of attention in our community.
It’s run by two sisters – Carol Burson and Sheryl Waterhouse, who I could only describe as angelic. Now they would blush at that and I know that they are only human and have their faults like the rest of us. But in all honesty, seeing them at work in this area, loving and caring for these individuals (who are not always that easy to care for), spurred on by the joy of the Lord and a love for life is most heartening.
They have a number of special events they hold throughout the year – the coolest of them being The Big Day Out. This is when Pinnacle House joins with the students and staff from the Special Education Unit at Waimea College (one of the local High Schools) and put on a fun-loaded day for these young people and treat them to things they don’t normally get to do, like riding around in a BMW convertiable for example. Even I was feeling envious with that one!
Here’s Brett, our Childrens and Youth Pastor putting on a lively show. Brett is quite the entertainer, when he gets going. Just give him a guitar, a few baloons and some puppets and then let him loose. He’ll have a song or two to sing and a story to tell that will have some important message in it. I’m not too sure who was enjoying it the most – Brett or the crowd. I vote Brett.
But here’s the scene I was most taken with. They brought in an old classic car (and a pretty cool one at that), opened up a box full of dress-ups, and got Sandra Johnson a professional photographer to capture the moment. Now how often does someone with special needs get to sit in a classic car, dress up on old fashioned clothes, and have their photo taken like they are a movie star? My guess is not often. This is such a cool idea. And I think the pictures say it all.
And this story wouldn’t be complete without making mention of another important individual in all this – Linda Gill, whose vision, energy and determination to see things through helped to make all this happen. Thanks Linda, you are a real blessing to us.