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Discovery Church delivers boxes of encouragement

Deborah Peterson • Apr 4, 2020 at 10:15 PM

Editor’s note: The packing and distribution of the boxes took place in mid-March, before strict social distancing guidelines, were put into effect throughout the region.

Amidst all of the disheartening news concerning the coronavirus pandemic, it is refreshing to hear about those unsung heroes who are making a positive difference in our communities. One such person is Raquel McLamb of Bluff City.

To ease the disappointment of children whose vacation plans were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Raquel found a unique way to bring them some much-needed encouragement.

Raquel, who serves as children’s minister of Discovery Church in Bristol, Tennessee, and several volunteers recently delivered 65 family devotion boxes to surprised church members. The church had planned several fun events for children during the week of spring break.

“Since the events were in jeopardy, we decided to surprise the kids with the boxes. It was perfect timing. People were super-excited!” Raquel said.

Each box contained activities for 14 different days, and included a devotional message, scripture, a specific subject to pray about, and a fun activity. For example, one lesson included Playdoh. “It encouraged them to sculpt something with their family, teaching them that God is the potter and we are the clay,” Raquel said.

Every day held a new surprise to look forward to, and included materials such as a cake mix, microwave popcorn, a pack of cookies, playing cards, items to make a collage, coloring pages, crayons, etc.

“Each day had a different item to go with the subject,” she explained.

The first lesson included in the box was about fear. “We can put our trust in Christ, and we don’t have to be fearful of anything,” said Raquel.

The 65 boxes were gifted to children ranging in ages from toddlers to fifth graders. All of the materials for the boxes were provided by Discovery Church, and several church members helped to pack and deliver the boxes.

A local schoolteacher, Victoria Lamkin of Bristol, Tennessee, was one of the volunteers who helped deliver the boxes. “It’s such a cool thing to be able to give parents something meaningful to do with their kiddos while they’re on break; to keep them looking at the positive side of things during a crazy time,” Victoria said.

Victoria has been a member of Discovery Church for five years, and said she was very impressed with all that Raquel does for the children there. “She is amazing; she works so hard. Our entire church is just amazed at her selflessness. She would do anything for those kids,” Victoria shared.

Laura Beth White, a resident of Blountville, said her sons, ages 2 and 6, were excited to receive the box. “It was a complete surprise! It really brightened everybody’s day and gave us something to look forward to every day,” she said. A member of Discovery Church for two years, Laura expressed her gratitude to Raquel and the staff, adding that “in such a dark, scary time, there are people out there to spread a little light and hope! This is why I love my church at Discovery!”

Raquel said the purpose of the family devotion boxes was to give the children something enjoyable to do with their families. But she also shared a deeper desire.

“My goal in anything that I do involving kids’ ministry is that they will come to know Christ; and everything in these boxes points to Him,” she said. Raquel has been involved in various children’s ministries since she was 16 years old. “I’ve always loved kids, and now I have about 120 of them,” she said, laughing.

During this time of fear and anxiety, Raquel encourages people to trust in God.

“We serve a God who is the same yesterday, today and forever, so we have no reason to fear,” Raquel said. “My hope is that we as a community, and even a nation, will ask Christ to calm our fear, ease our concerns, and bring us through this time of uncertainty ready to praise Him for His goodness.”

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