Star of the Week

Star of the Week

From Chicken Soup for the Grandma's Soul

Star of the Week

The only way to pray is to pray; and the way to pray well is to pray much.

John Chapman

Joyce and Morgan Ilgenfritz are grandparents to twenty grandchildren. Fifteen in one family live in Pennsylvania, less than two hours from them. Two live in Colorado and the other three in West Africa.

Joyce and Morgan have also housed 370 people in their home over the last thirty years. In addition to those who are presently living with them, they are caring for Morgan’s ninety-year-old mother, who has Alzheimer’s disease. So their days are full.

Next to her relationship with the Lord, Joyce’s top priority is her grandchildren. She is on the lookout year round for gifts and cards, and never waits until an occasion arrives to prepare for it. But she would be the first to admit that staying in touch takes some creativity.

Recently, Joyce was pondering what more she could do.

“I was in a store right after Valentine’s Day,” she explains, “and saw a picture frame and two heart boxes. They were reduced in price, but I didn’t buy them. That night,” she continues, “I had a conversation with God. ‘Lord, I have all these grandchildren,’” I said. “‘How can I stay connected with them?’”

Joyce drifted off to sleep and soon awoke with a clear direction from the Lord. “He said to go back to the store and get the frame and boxes,” she recalls. “Then he told me what to do with them.”

Joyce could hardly wait for morning. She went to the store, made the purchase and placed the items on her kitchen windowsill. Then she collected pictures of each of her grandchildren and wrote all their names on pieces of paper, which she placed in one of the boxes.

Now each week she draws a name from the first box, puts that child’s picture in the frame, and places the name in the second box for the next time around. That child is her “Star of the Week.”

Immediately, she calls (e-mails to Africa) and informs the star of his or her status. Then she asks for prayer requests. The child gleefully anticipates hearing from her again during the week by way of another phone call, a letter or a package—or possibly all three.

Recently, five-year-old Moriah hung up from his phone call and announced loudly to any of his fourteen brothers and sisters within hearing distance, “I’m Grandma’s Star of the Week!”

When six-year-old Ashley got her call, she told her grandma there was a girl in her class who was saying mean things about her.

“You just be nice to her and I’ll be praying,” Joyce responded.

The next time her grandma called, Ashley said, “That little girl has been so nice to me, and I know it’s because you’ve been praying.”

Being Star of the Week not only makes twenty grandchildren happy, it fulfills the desire of their grandma’s heart, allowing her to focus on one grandchild at a time, to pray specifically for that child’s needs, and to surprise the “Star” with gifts of love.

Bonnie S. Grau

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