December 29, 2011 — The youth at Willoughby Christian Reformed Church found photos of themselves on the pockets of their Advent calendars this year.
Youth adults at Willoughby CRC with their Advent calendars, (back l-r): Stephanie Roukema, Jonathan Vanderheyden , Ryan Roukema, James Farenhorst; (front l-r): Sonya VanHove, Benjamin Bouwman, Karen Breedveld, Melissa Nierop.
The personalized calendars were the inspiration of youth group leader Stephanie Roukema. “I had the idea to do this for my small group,” she said. “I shared the idea with my fellow youth leaders, and we got a little more ambitious and decided to include our entire youth group.”
The youth are led by a group of eight young adults who stepped up in September to take over the youth leadership at the church. They got together to make the calendars and were excited to present the gift.
“Aside from the excitement of chocolate,” said Roukema, “the goal was for the kids to not only be reminded of Advent each day in December, but also that they are a part of a youth group that celebrates Jesus Christ together. The pictures on each door were meant to appreciate each individual’s unique personality and contributions to our group.”
Ben Bouwman, one of the leaders, recognizes that the Advent calendars offer more potential than simply opening the doors. “If we do it again next year, we would ask kids to intentionally pray for the person whose face is on the calendar that day. It would encourage praying for each other and just prayer in general.”