One of the things I enjoy about ladies ministry is setting aside time to meet with the ladies of our church as a group and mentor them. When I schedule ladies meetings, I try to think of creative themes that will make the evening memorable. This spring we had a ladies and girls event built around the theme “A Sweet, Sweet Spirit.” Below you will find a testimony that one of our ladies wrote about the event and some resources that we used to make the event a success.
Hasn’t every little girl dreamed of a candy land adventure? She rides her pink pony past the waterfall’s shining rainbow through the murky mist to find herself in another world. She closes her eyes and breathes deeply as the aromas of caramel corn, fudge, and cinnamon rolls float to her on a light breeze, inducing a long sigh of reverie. Slowly she opens her eyes. Sunlight peaking through cotton candy clouds dances on sparkling lollipops growing wild in fields still wet with early morning Mountain Dew. Bon-bons line the Rocky Road she travels as she follows Cadbury Creek to Parfait Palace just over Rock Candy Mountain.
But that was only a dream, a forgotten childhood fancy—that is until the Sweet, Sweet Spirit Ladies and Girls Spring Event on May 1, 2010. Sprinkling some sunshine here, scattering some rainbows there, and waving her wand of love, Mrs. Chappell created a fantasy land for the ladies of Lancaster Baptist Church. At our Ladies and Girls Spring Event, we were invited for a few hours to revisit our childhood wishes.
As my daughter Whitney and I entered the lobby, giant colorful balloon confections seemed to smile and point to the auditorium doors summoning us into an old-fashioned sweet shoppe. Bubble gum-pink walls and candy-striped awnings made a delicious backdrop for rows of giant apothecary jars brimming with every kind of colorful candy. I imagined myself running to the platform and stuffing handfuls of the captivating confectionary into my mouth. Cupcakes whispered sweet-talk to me, “Come sit in the shoppe’s white wrought iron chairs and partake of my delectable delights.” Temptation was on every hand, but I was able to resist, knowing from experience that Mrs. Chappell would soon shower us with more treats than we could handle.
I met up with my friend Kelli and her daughters. Plopping down in the pew next to them, we settled in, and soon we were playing the candy trivia game flashing on the screens above us as we waited for the program to begin. We found that we’re pretty good at candy trivia when provided with multiple-choice answers.
No sooner was the game over than the West Coast Baptist College ladies tour groups, dressed for fun in the sun, rumbaed onto the platform to a decidedly Jamaican tune. With accents of the same flavor, they delighted us with a song about every woman’s love—candy. They struck a chord in my heart, and then they struck me upside the head with a handful of candy. The next activity was a fun game—fun for the spectators anyway. Young ladies were called up from the audience to bob for Oreos in milk. When the game was over, the champion, Taylor Picker, continued to display a “sweet” spirit on her wet, sticky face as she smiled at us through bangs dripping with milk.
I sat up with anticipation as a little girls’ ensemble pranced onto the platform, their curls bouncing merrily as they went. Whitney smiled at me nervously before they began to sing, “Apple red happiness, popcorn cheerfulness, cinnamon singing inside . . . .” We joined the girls the next time around, but Alisa Ballou made us sing it again, insisting that we jump with “peppermint energy.”
When the song was over, all the little girls were dismissed to their own service for fun and games and a Bible lesson geared to their age group. We sang “There’s a Sweet, Sweet Spirit in this Place” and displayed “sweet expressions” to whoever was close by.
“A Minute to Win It” was the inspiration for our next series of games. Two teams of ladies performed amazing feats in one minute to avoid elimination. I was secretly glad I had not been called upon to make a fool of myself before an audience. In the first game, “Suck It Up,” The contestants had to suck M&M’s with a straw and transfer them to the narrow mouth of a water bottle. We enjoyed a good laugh every time Sharon Coats pitched a fit because she kept breaking suction or knocking her bottle over. About the time she decided cheating was her only option, her minute was up and she was eliminated. “Johnny Applestack” did not prove to be a big challenge for these clever ladies who were able to stack four apples vertically without toppling the stack—amazing! It was while I was watching “Face the Cookie” that I was really glad I had not been called up as a contestant. There was no way I could have moved even one Oreo from my forehead to my mouth with the enormous obstacle that stands between the two, my schnoz! Karla Hobbs proved to be a pro at it—her with her dainty little nose. Mercifully, these ladies were given dry Oreos rather than the wet ones used in the bobbing game. Dry ones slide much more easily.
Next up: Lucy and Ethel (played by Melodie Shaw and Sara Thomas, respectively) in their classic “Candy Factory” episode—with a twist. The skit ended with Lucy proposing yet another hair-brained scheme that roused a burst of laughter. I guess that’s why we love Lucy!
The final round of game time was a take-off of Family Feud, which we called “Friendly Feud,” hosted by Kay Husband. The game went back and forth with tough questions for each “family.” Who knew that raspberry was one of the five original Tootsie Pop flavors? In the deciding round, the contestants were asked to name the recipients of the golden tickets from the book Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Veruca Salt was the character who eluded them. Where is multiple-choice when you need it?
After all the excitement, Mrs. Wall quieted our hearts for the message, singing a medley including the song “Sweet Surrender.” Mrs. Terrie Ruhl from Chico, California spoke from her heart about friendships. My heart was touched as she spoke of the “midnight friend,” the kind of friend who is there especially when it is inconvenient. I want to be that kind of friend.
Mrs. Chappell closed the service with prayer and then gave instructions for entering the Student Life Center where we would be eating. How convenient! My group was on Peppermint Lane, the first row of tables on the north side. We enjoyed a lovely spring morning as we strolled to the SLC with the little girls back in tow.
Entering the Student Life Center was like venturing into the Candy Cane Forest or climbing Gum Drop Mountain and seeing old friends along the way. Grandma Nutt, Queen Frostine, Princess Lolly, and the kids—they were all there. Rows of tables formed a Candy Land rainbow of colors, and sweet garlands of giant candies and gingerbread people stretched the width of the SLC all the way down its length. The sight was truly whimsical and enchanting.
Colorful cakes embellished with lollipops and candies stood fancifully on pedestals tempting us to begin our meal there. Thankfully, we were able to dive right into the many appetizers lining the tables. Dinner was ham with all the trimmings. I have to say, my favorite part was a delicious cheesy potato casserole. I enjoyed the meal, but even better, I made a few new friends.
Heaven is going to be sweet, but isn’t it wonderful that God gives us sweet things to enjoy along the way? I thank God for a pastor’s wife—a midnight friend—who gives of herself to make the journey a little sweeter for all of us.
I’m Tina Butterfield, and that’s the way I saw the Sweet, Sweet Spirit Ladies and Girls Spring Event 2010.