Mt. Belvieu Members Enjoy a “Reverse Adoption”
Today, many grandparents are adopting and raising their grandchildren. However, First UMC, Mt. Belvieu has “adopted” the grandparents in a local assisted living facility and both groups could not be happier.
Swan Manor turns into a smile convention when the members of First UMC, Mont Belvieu arrive. The church has "adopted" this Baytown, Texas assisted living facility, as part of its Outreach Ministry.
Every month, an adult accompanies the church youth group to play card games and enjoy social interaction with the residents. One of the frequent volunteers enjoys baking small loaves of chocolate, banana and pumpkin bread and residents gather around in anticipation when these are served along with root beer floats.
"The residents are very competitive in the game-playing," according to Jimmie Reese and Becky Rice who spearhead the adult participation of the ministry. Small prizes of toiletries and crossword puzzle books are awarded to the lucky winners.
The kids who participate in His House Ministries, the name given to the children's program are very active in bringing joy to the residents of Swan Manor. Before every holiday or special occasion, the children make gifts to take with them to the assisted living facility. Janelle Harvey, who serves on the Church Council and as the volunteer membership secretary says, “The church bus is loaded with eager little visitors who distribute Christmas remembrances, decorated Valentine cookies, Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day gifts-- plus more!” Adds Tammy, “ As the chair of His House Ministries, I think it is important to link the younger and older generations. Our adoption of Swan Manor provides that opportunity for many of our children. The specialness is not only there for the residents, but also for our children as they are hugged and fawned over by the elderly. It is always a joy for everyone involved!”
Swan Manor resident Travis Warren adds, "The visitors from the church are well received by the residents of Swan Manor. Everybody enjoys the activities, particularly one lady who is 95, who looks forward to the card games more than anybody else!"
Member Mindy Hall loves being involved in this activity and believes it contributes to the vitality of the congregation. Notes Mindy, “The residents’ faces light up when we arrive. They are not the only ones gaining from these visits. Our children are learning that sharing God’s love doesn’t mean you have to spend lots of money, but that a simple hug can make someone feel loved. I am very happy to share this lesson with our children.” Jimmie sums up the church's participation with these words: "The residents are more of a blessing to us than we are to them!"