At Bethel Life, one thing is clear – loving God and loving people is our highest priority. There is a tangible atmosphere of love at Bethel, especially in our Loving Hands Ministry.This respite program provides a safe, fun evening out for families with children who have special physical, intellectual, behavioral or emotional needs. At Loving Hands, these children, whom we refer to as “guests” are paired with a trained volunteer “Buddy” and enjoy an evening of games, crafts, food and fun while parents and caregivers get a well-deserved break. All ages are welcome, along with their siblings. Guests participate in as many activities as they wish and a “quiet room” is available for kids who prefer peaceful activities with fewer transitions.The highlight of the year in Loving Hands is our annual “Night to Shine” prom for those with special needs. This huge event is sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation and hosted by Bethel Life, free of charge to our guests. The purpose of the event is to make everyone feel like royalty, knowing that in God’s eyes they are a child of the King.“Night to Shine” starts with a pre-prom party at Bethel where guests get shoe-shines, hair, nails and makeup done by professionals from the community. Guests and their volunteer “Buddies” are then transported via party limousines to the venue on the campus of our partner, Thiel College. Guests enter the venue on a long red carpet that is lined with several hundred volunteers cheering them on. The highlight of the evening is the sharing of God’s love as we crown each guest “King” or “Queen” of the prom – celebrating Christ’s love for them.
The Apostle John writes in 1 John 4:10-11: “This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins…since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.” At Bethel we purpose to fulfill our mission by reaching into and beyond our community and meeting people at their deepest need, that they might experience God’s love in a personal way.
photos courtesy of: Bethel Life Worship Center