Children hunt for eggs, hear of Christ's sacrifice at Eggstravaganza
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Pecan Manor became a picture of spring during Eggstravaganza March 24, as more than 100 children hunted, spotted and found thousands of Easter eggs peppering the lawn. Assistant Professor of Evangelism Matt Queen kicked off the event by gathering all of the children near him next to the prayer garden and telling the story of God's creation, man's sin and God's redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Queen told the story as if he read from a vivid storybook, complete with wonder and intriguing plot twists that had the huddled children deeply captivated. Throughout the story, Queen asked the children questions, and they shouted answers in unison and with great excitement.
“God created the heavens and the earth,” Queen said. He then asked the children what animals God created.
“Zebras!” one child said. “Crawdads!” shouted another.
After explaining how God made Adam and Eve, how Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and how God sent Jesus to die for everyone's guilt, Queen asked the children what happened to Jesus after He died.
“He Rose!” they all shouted together.
“That's why we celebrate Easter, because [God] brought Jesus back to life,” Queen explained, encouraging children who had not made Jesus Lord of their lives but who wanted to be forgiven of their sins to talk to their parents that day.
Soon, after a few instructions, the children split up into three different age-oriented sections of egg-hunting ground and waited for the siren that would release them from their proverbial starting blocks. The siren sounded and more than 100 children took off through the grass to collect as many eggs as possible in as little time as possible, all in search of six highly-hoped-for Easter baskets. Each child, winner of a basket or not, got to keep his or her candy and received a special prize from Southwestern's First Lady, Dorothy Patterson.
Patterson said she was thrilled to have the children and their families converge upon her lawn for the annual Easter celebration and thoroughly enjoyed the morning.
“I love it because the children can be children,” Patterson said. “They can run and play, and they can do whatever they want. I just think it's a wonderful thing for families. It's like having hundreds of grandchildren, and I love grandchildren.”
Southwestern staff member Sandy Mann, who has been helping to coordinate the egg hunt for nearly five years, said volunteers hid between 3,500 and 4,000 eggs stuffed with a total of 10,000 pieces of candy for the Eggstravaganza. She said several hundred people had come out on the 70 degree Saturday, and all appeared to be having a wonderful time.
“We had a great turnout. It's perfect,” Mann said, explaining how pleased she was with pleasant weather, having served hot chocolate for a cold egg hunt two years ago.
Dawn Isbell, a community member whose husband has studied at Southwestern, brought her two daughters, Olivia and Callie, to the egg hunt and said they really enjoyed the festivities.
“[Olivia] enjoyed the egg hunt and loves the bounce houses,” Isbell said. “I enjoyed the Gospel presentation. It's a fun thing for the kids to help kick Easter off.”
Heide Salinas, whose husband is working toward his Master of Divinity in international church planting, said her son enjoyed the hunt as well.
“He didn't know what he was doing, but he had a great time,” Salinas said. “It's just nice to be outside. It's been a beautiful day.”
Cindy Ensley, event coordinator for the Southwestern Women's Club and wife of Vice President for Business Administration Kevin Ensley, said the Eggstravaganza has been a wonderful part of the Pattersons' ministry to the children and families at Southwestern and said it appeared everyone who came out enjoyed the morning.
“This gets Mrs. Patterson up close and personal with the kids, and she enjoys it,” Ensley said.
Ensley said a few changes to this year's Eggstravaganza enhanced the event.
“It's bigger since we've done all the reconstruction. We have much more area to hide eggs and to set up the bounce houses,” Ensley said. “I think it's gone great. We added music this year, which I think is good. I see more people hanging around this year than I have in years past, so that's wonderful. And the day is beautiful. This year's just perfect.”