"This room will be jumping in an hour." ~Dean Kappas, Night to Shine volunteer
Friday, February 8, 2019 was Night to Shine. It's the second time our church hosted the prom. Clearly, it's not our last. Our pastor said in a newspaper interview, "It's the most encouraging ministry we do all year. I think the helpers get more out of it than the guests." He explained, "'Night to Shine' is a celebration for people with special needs ages 14 and older that is held simultaneously at churches all over the world. This event is in its fifth year."
This year 655 churches in 20 countries hosted Night to Shine with 200,000 volunteers for about 100,000 guests. Tim Tebow started this ministry in 2015. Then 44 churches and 15,000 volunteers hosted 7,000 guests. That's impressive growth.
Our church welcomed about 80 guests for an evening of pampering and a limo ride to the red carpet before dinner and dancing. About half attended last year. Guests get paired with a volunteer "buddy" for the evening's events. A few buddies requested to be matched with who they had last year. As guests began arriving, I witnessed one of those re-matches, and it was quite a reunion. The two gals were so excited to see each other again. It's actually hard to know who was more excited. They carried on like a couple of lifelong friends who hadn't seen each other for a long time. I smiled and felt their contagious joy! And word is they want to reunite at Night to Shine 2020.
Night to Shine impacts everyone involved - Guests, Caregivers, and Volunteers. After the 2016 prom, Tim Tebow received a letter from a mom whose daughter attended Night to Shine. She said her heart's desire is that her girl won't be forgotten. She wrote, "At Night to Shine, God whispered to me, 'I will never ever forget her. She is famous to me like an A-lister walking the red carpet...She is precious and she is mine.' How extravagant is the love of God for us."
And there you have it...just a few of the multitudes of blessings from Night to Shine proms.