Thursday, February 22, 2007
Seven Days of Creation (give or take a few weeks)
Amidst the heavy machinery and construction work at Tower Place stands Debbie Woodall, all 5 foot 4 inches of her. She would be easy to miss if you were to walk inside the church right now. Yet, her work is far from small. In fact, it's catching the attention of the construction workers as they pass by Waumba Land.
"Last week, a couple of guys just stood there looking at the paintings on the wall," Debbie said. "Finally, one of them said, 'Let there be light.' I was so excited because that's exactly what I was trying to convey." Debbie is painting the environment for Waumba Land, our preschool area. (Waumba, by the way, means Creator in Swahili.) She is a creative artist and designer by trade. Most importantly, she has a passion for using her gifts to point people to the glory of God. "Painting is very worshipful for me," she said. "It gives me great pleasure to rely on God as I paint and ask Him to lead me in this creative process."
The brains and passion behind Waumba Land is our very own Zilia Glick, Buckhead's Preschool Director. I am convinced that if every church had a Zilia, the Kingdom would be better off for it. She doesn't see Waumba Land as a babysitting area. Far from it. Zilia and her team see Waumba as an amazing opportunity to partner with parents to teach their children three amazing truths: 1. God loves you. 2. God made you. 3. Jesus wants to be your friend forever."We want our preschoolers to experience much more than just a safe and dependable environment," she said. "We want them to come into a place designed just for them. This may be the first time that many children hear about God."
Zilia and her team, along with Debbie and many volunteers, are busy creating the new environment for Waumba at Tower Place. This won't be the first time Zilia and Debbie have partnered together. In fact, they helped create the current Waumba environment at the grocery store, which, in my humble opinion, is an incredible place for preschoolers. (My five-year-old son, Cole, is an avid fan.) "The hallways of Waumba Land will tell the Genesis story of creation," said Zilia. "This will communicate to parents and children how great our Heavenly Father is and how much He loves us." This project has given Debbie a new appreciation for the creation story. "It only took God six days to create the heavens and the earth. It's taking me weeks just to paint them all!" Thus far, the early reviews of their work are very encouraging. "The guys working in the building are very curious and impressed with the murals and why we would go to such lengths to create environments like this for children," she said. "They're even bringing their co-workers by and explaining it to them."
As a parent, I will be forever grateful that those on our pre-school team are using their gifts to introduce my kids to the greatness of God. Every time I walk into Waumba Land at Tower Place, I will know that each brush stroke was prayerfully considered, each idea carefully crafted, and each child cared for and loved. This, among many other reasons, is why the local church is the hope of the world. Jeff Henderson, Campus Director