Joni and Friends Blog

Sarah’s Hug Ministry

“But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way.”

John 4:23

I’ve learned so much about happiness and about ministry through my daughter, Sarah. As a young lady with Down syndrome – fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God – Sarah has many spiritual gifts, and she delights in using them to encourage the Body of Christ.

Sarah is a prayer warrior. She absolutely loves to pray! She prays before meals, she prays before Communion, and she’s always first to volunteer whenever we’re asked if someone would like to pray in a group setting. Because her language is limited and often difficult to understand, Jesus is usually the only one who fully knows what Sarah is praying. But I know He is blessed by her heart and passionate prayers, and everyone who hears her pray is blessed beyond belief as well.

Sarah is a worshipper. On Sunday mornings she’s the first one to jump out of her seat when the music begins to play. And more often than not, Sarah’s the first one in our church to raise her hands in reverence to the Lord. When the rest of the congregation witnesses Sarah worshipping “in spirit and in truth” they’re encouraged to engage more deeply in worship themselves (see John 4:23). I guess that makes her a worship leader, too!

Sarah is an encourager. God has given her a strong sense of compassion for others, and she’s quick to notice when someone else is hurting or downcast. Be it through a pat on the hand or a pat on the back, Sarah lets others know that she’s there and she cares. And if the recipient is willing, Sarah is more than happy to share the love of God through a big hug.

Indeed, Sarah Hope Amick has a wonderful hug ministry that doesn’t require words. She loves to welcome people to church with a big hug, and at Family Retreat, she’s eager to give friendly hugs to encourage folks and just brighten their day. Studies show that babies need hugs as much as they need food and water, and I know that a hug from Sarah always lifts my spirit and nourishes my soul.

God has given each of us a gift from His great variety of spiritual gifts. We’re expected to use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God Himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ – just like Sarah’s hug ministry. All glory and power to Jesus forever and ever! Amen (see 1Peter 4:10-11).

Can We Justify Our Joy?

“Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” 2 Corinthians 4:17 I recently had an enlightening conversation with a colleague. As we walked back to the office from visiting the adult special needs day-program at our church, I had apparently been smiling and giggling without even…

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