When I was in grade school, I had a mustard seed necklace. The seed found home inside a small round plastic bobble hanging on a gold chain. I wish I still had it; it seems at least one other person in the congregation had one too, Christie Kauffman. Let me tell you her faith story.
Christie was born into an agnostic family, but her grandparents were believers. Every year their family traveled to see them for a visit. Her grandparents were clever enough to request the family visit at the same time each year so Christie and her siblings could attend Vacation Bible School. Through this ministry, Christie came to Christ and upon her return home, wanted more. Though her parents weren’t churchgoers, she was allowed to attend the nearby Episcopal parish where she was dropped off each Sunday. It was there that she grew in her faith.
Now back to the mustard seed and a special gift from her grandparents that she will never forget. At a young age Christie was plagued with asthma and was told by doctors that she should prepare for a sedentary lifestyle. Upon hearing the news, Grandma and Grandpa gave her a mustard seed necklace, reminding her that if she had even a little bit of faith, she could expect far more…and more she did! She was active as a cheerleader and a ballet dancer all through her adolescent years.
Things have come full circle now. Christie is a grandmother herself and mindful of her own grandparents’ faithful influence. So when her son and his family landed at BelPres, that’s where she and her husband also took root. They set their intentions to worship as a family together. She began teaching pre-school to hang out with her twin grandsons. She enjoyed it so much, that although they grew older, she decided to stay with the three, four and five-year-olds. Christie spends a lot of time listening to their perspective and is reminded each time she does that they are really the ones teaching her. “They have no agenda but to love – not be competitive – there’s absolutely no stress!” she says with delight.
Christie told me that she hesitated to give this interview because she felt unworthy of it. But then she thought back to when she was busy raising a family and simply couldn’t offer much time for volunteer work. It was a season where she was on the receiving end and now she can be on the giving end with a cheerful heart as she does it.
“Christie’s sense of fun, humble service, and love of the Bible are a gift to the children and their parents, and children come to know Jesus and his unconditional love through her,” says Lisa Phelps, Director of Early Childhood Ministries. “We are also grateful for Christie’s leadership during Fall Kick-off Sunday as she welcomes families, directs games and coordinates volunteers. She has added activities to our Ice Cream Social that allow families to get to know one another and experience the fun of community.”
Christie, your story is a reminder of the blessings of a Christian heritage and the privilege of carrying it forward. Your mustard seed faith has matured to a tree holding BelPres birds’ nests. Thank you for your faith and service to our little ones.
“[Faith] is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his garden, and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.” Luke 13:19 ESV