By Kasey Shackelford
Mission First opens PK–3 program
Seeing the extreme need for transformation of a community through the power of Jesus, Mission First was started in 1999 as a ministry of First Baptist Jackson. The blighted Rosedown Apartments were turned into community-center housing, a medical and dental clinic, a legal aid office, educational facilities and a gym.
The vision of an early learning center has been on the hearts and minds of the board since Mission First’s inception. It wasn’t until August 2018 that the Lord answered this prayer. The doors of the Mission First Early Learning Center (MFELC) opened August 13 with a brand-new PK-3 program.
The mission for the Early Learning Center is to allow young children the opportunity to experience learning in a Christian educational setting. Our staff is dedicated to the responsibility of partnering with families in loving and encouraging our children in their educational development process.
As a candidate school with the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools (MAIS), we are implementing a nationally accredited program that is designed to meet the individual needs of each child, as well as help them appreciate the joy that comes from learning to be a contributing member of a group.
The vision of the MFELC is to implement a Christian education based on Proverbs 22:6, where our students successfully meet growth each year and are prepared mentally, physically and emotionally, to be all that God created them to be. It is our desire to set our students up for success and be difference makers in our world.
And that is just what our students are doing. In the four short months we have been in operation, we have seen the hand of the Lord at work in our students’ lives. One of our students in particular has truly opened his heart to the truth of the gospel found in the book of Matthew. As our teachers and staff shared about the true meaning of Christmas, Noah (age 3) caught hold of this truth and shared it with his family.
Noah’s mother shared with us that as his family was putting up their Christmas tree, he began to share with the whole family that Christmas is about “Baby Jesus” coming into the world. He shared how Mary and Joseph had to go to Bethlehem. There was no room for them in the inn, so they had to sleep with the animals in the stable. There was a cow, a sheep, a bird, and a goat. He shared details from the story like how Jesus is the Christ and He was born in a manger. The three Wise Men followed a star to Bethlehem and gave Jesus gifts.
Noah went on and on, and his mother said she just broke down and started to cry. She thanked us for instilling the truth in the hearts of our students here at MFELC, and especially in her son’s heart.
This is why the MFELC exists. It is our goal every day to obey Proverbs 22:6, which says, “Train up your children in the way they should go, so when they are old they will not depart from it.” This is why the Lord orchestrated this school to begin at just the right time, with just the right teachers, with just the right families, with just the right students.
He has called us to be a beacon of hope and light to our community, to our families, to our city, and ultimately to our world. Please continue to pray that our little ones will come to know Jesus as their Savior. The Lord has called the staff at MFELC to preach this message of hope to our students and we are seeing Him answer this prayer.
We ask that you please pray for the MFELC staff to remain faithful to this calling. We also ask that you pray about donating to the MFELC. Our goal is to continue expanding each year. In 2019, we will expand to have two PK-3 programs and one PK-4 program, with hopes to expand to Kindergarten in 2020.
If you feel lead to give, please go to: https://missionfirst.givingfuel.com/web-donations and enter MFELC in the notes section.
We are truly grateful for Christ as we begin 2019. Have a blessed and Happy New Year.
For more information please visit MissionFirst.org/earlylearningcenter.
Kasey Shackelford is head of school at the Mission First Early Learning Center.