Crayons for Carly | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
March 2016

Crayons for Carly

By Carl Gladstone (NCJ & NEJ)


While on his first preaching tour across the Galilee, Jesus meets a group of people carrying their paralyzed friend. Recognizing the faithfulness of these friends, Jesus says to the man “Take heart.” (Matthew 9)

Now, this may not seem like the kind of good word that a paralyzed man would want to hear. He might want to skip over to the “stand up and walk” part, wouldn’t you? But there is something about this story that is important to the Jesus movement, something that frames miraculous moments in a kind of deeper beauty and community.

And that something seems to be a driving force among United Methodist young people making miracles of justice and mercy happen in the world today.


Take Carly Fraser for instance - the 6th grader from Redford Aldersgate UMC who, after her own time in the local children’s hospital, decided that there must be something she could do to help other young people “take heart” as they were receiving medical care:

From her own diabetes to the illnesses of the children around her, Carly knows that healing from those conditions has a lot to do with spiritual well-being and a community of supportive friends. So she set out with the goal to raise over 1000 boxes of crayons from family, friends and church members to share with kids in the hospital.

“Once [Children’s Hospital of Michigan] brought the art and stuff to me I was really happy,“ Carly says of her time in recovery. So in response, she gathered donations of crayons from around the church and community to share that happiness with others. “I hope they have a smile on their face,” Carly says describing the goal of her project.

Carly’s project started with a young person reflecting deeply on her own experience, imagining a holy experience for others, and gathering the church around her to make that dream a reality. She launched a movement, sharing her heart with those who needed to receive gifts of health and happiness.


One of the best parts about efforts like Carly’s is the way the church can learn from and follow her in that experience.

Carly’s pastor, Rev. Jeff Nelson says, “I like to help people help other people… [so] let’s help this young woman with a big heart make a big dream come true.” And help they did. Pastor Jeff’s crowdfunding campaign, donations from other United Methodist churches and collections organized at schools meant that Carly not only met her goal of 1159 boxes of crayons, she doubled it. With 2338 boxes of crayons donated to sick kids, the news caught on:

The generous creativity that Carly and other young followers of Jesus Christ enable for the church is amazing. These movements of kindness are moments when the church matters to the world around us. These conspiracies of justice and mercy are modern reenactments of the faithfulness of the friends in Matthew 9, bringing people closer to the healing grace of Jesus.

Thanks, Carly, for helping us all “take heart” and live as the blessed body of Christ for the blessing of the whole world!