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A Gazillion Infinity Blessings: A Texas Boy Builds a Ministry Block by Block

For a 13-year-old boy in Texas, colorful LEGO blocks are more than a playtime obsession. They are part of his mission: to put LEGO sets into the hands of children who have never owned their own LEGO bricks and to use those perfectly-fitting pieces to tell kids about God’s perfect love for them. Even though he’s 13 years old, he’s already been doing this for six years—about half his life!

A Ministry Dream Begins

Since he was five years old, Little Dennis (as he is known to his family and friends) has wanted to be a missionary. He just thought he’d have to grow up to be one. But God was building a one-of-a-kind plan for Little Dennis and his family.

His dad, Big Dennis, is officially Dennis Tuttle, III, and his son carries the name into the next generation as Dennis Tuttle, IV. Big Dennis and his wife, Brittany, were very aware of Little Dennis’s interest in being a missionary, so it wasn’t unusual when the family discussion shifted in that direction after church one Sunday afternoon. The family was gathered around a pizza when seven-year-old Little Dennis came up with the idea of combining his favorite pastime (LEGO blocks*) with his top goal in life (to be a missionary).

“What if….” he wondered aloud. “What if I could be a LEGO missionary?”

Big Dennis remembers, “My wife and I looked at each other, both thinking, ‘Why should Little Dennis have to wait until he’s an adult to be a missionary?’” And right there, the idea of Building Blocks 4 Kids began to come together.

Little Dennis’s parents gathered their children, Little Dennis’s best friends, and those friends’ parents, and Building Blocks 4 Kids (BB4K) was underway—and it promised to be fun for everyone! They planned to bring boxes full of brand new LEGO sets and stacks of hot pizzas, add in some music and ministry, and invite all the kids and their parents who lived in an apartment complex to join in an afternoon they would never forget!

Let the Building Begin

Big Dennis knew the importance of not just rolling their big red trailer into an apartment community, having a few hours of fun with the families, telling them about Jesus’ love, and rolling back out, leaving new believers behind and stranded with no way to grow in their journey with the Lord.

It was vital to BB4K’s mission that a ministry presence continue to nurture the decisions that would begin at their free LEGO workshops. Big Dennis reached out to an established ministry, Mission Arlington, in their city of Arlington, Texas. This ministry has more than 360 active Bible studies and congregations meeting weekly in apartment complexes and other locations. When the two Tuttle men met with Tillie Burgin, the executive director of Mission Arlington since it began in 1986, she assured them that there were plenty of kids in their apartment ministries who would love to have their own LEGO sets and hear about Jesus. A partnership was built right there. Like two LEGO blocks that fit together, BB4K and Mission Arlington fit together perfectly.

Little Dennis remembers, “After we walked out of Ms. Tillie’s office, Dad said, ‘Hey, you just had your first ministry meeting.’ And I looked at him, and said, ‘I just had my first meeting!’”

Big Dennis and other adults planned the logistics: designing a logo, getting a bright red trailer to haul folding tables and chairs, awnings to set up for shade for outdoor events, microphones, a sound system—and lots of LEGO sets.

When it was time to write a vision statement for the ministry, Big Dennis engaged Little Dennis to make sure the statement didn’t sound like it was written by adults. Little Dennis’s vision was simple, yet profound: to bless kids with LEGO sets and tell them about Jesus.

But Big Dennis pressed him for a little more detail: “Well, how many kids do you want to bless? Give me a number.” Little Dennis replied, “Oh, like a gazillion infinity!” And with that, BB4K’s vision statement became an extension of a little boy’s kid-sized faith that not only moves mountains, but builds them, too:

“To bless a gazillion infinity amount of children around the world with LEGO sets and the love of Jesus.”

Block Upon Block

BB4K’s first “free LEGO workshop” was Saturday, May 26, 2018, and around 25 kids attended the event at the Hidden Valley Apartments in Arlington. That was just the beginning, as in the first year alone, the ministry hosted 22 workshops where more than 750 kids were handed their very own set of LEGO blocks. At every event, Little Dennis and his young friends taught the kids, one on one, how to follow the LEGO instruction booklet, which is entirely illustrated so language barriers were never a problem. Big Dennis played his guitar and led everyone—kids and their parents—in songs and motions. Then Little Dennis joined his dad on stage and explained the big message behind the little bricks:

“It’s amazing when you build a building block set and follow the instructions, your creation turns out the way it was designed to be and looks awesome just like the picture on the box. Growing up can be just like building a building block set. You can try to build your life without instructions, but it’s very difficult. You can get frustrated, lost, or even mixed up. So, what are the instructions for life? The Bible is God’s written Word, and it shows His love for us and gives us instructions on how to live our life the way God designed it to be.”

Even at age 7, Little Dennis was on stage explaining that God’s Word promises a hope and a future for each person when they give their life to God and follow His instructions in the Bible. Was he ever nervous, especially speaking before a crowd at such a young age?

“I wasn’t too nervous,” he said. “I think the only thing that made me nervous was if I had to help an adult do a LEGO block set. How could I correct an adult when they’ve built it wrong?”

By the end of the first season, more than 146 kids and adults had prayed to receive Jesus as Savior.

The Tuttles’ growing family at that time included Little Dennis, then 7, Jack, 5, Lilly Pearl, 3, and Adelynn, 1. Daughter Olivia would come along in 2020. All the Tuttle kids have grown up serving in BB4K. And as Little Dennis, his siblings, and friends have grown up in BB4K, likewise, the spiritual results have stacked up, too. Since 2018, the ministry has hosted more than 150 LEGO workshops, and more than 1,500 people have become followers of Jesus.

But Arlington was just the beginning. To reach a “gazillion infinity” kids around the world, they had to reach past their hometown.

Going Global

With LEGO blocks available in 130 countries, it’s practically a globally available toy. Children don’t have to be able to read to follow LEGO instructions because there are no words—just pictures, arrows, and diagrams. That makes LEGO blocks the perfect “vehicle” for taking a kids’ ministry to places far from Texas. And that’s what BB4K is doing.

Little Dennis’s hope to reach kids with Jesus’ love (and LEGO sets) is happening in Gulu, Uganda, right now. The ministry is partnering with World Embrace, an in-country ministry that is building the Gulu Community Park to bless the families in the region who have suffered so much in the last 30 years due to political unrest and instability. BB4K has raised the funds for a building within the park which when completed will be open seven days a week where families can come and build with LEGO blocks and learn about God’s love and His plan for their lives.

Meanwhile, BB4K is reaching kids in Poland as ministry partners there use the BB4K model to reach families with children. This group was meeting prior to the pandemic and picked back up with workshops after the pandemic.

Back in Texas, in June 2022, BB4K loaded up their big red trailer with not only LEGO sets but food, clothing, and toys and drove down to Uvalde, Texas, where two weeks before, a school shooter took the lives of 19 students and two teachers. In what was the most challenging BB4K opportunity to date, Big Dennis and Little Dennis saw how the LEGO playtime gave these families a respite from the hard, heart-breaking experiences that had engulfed the small community, while the message of God’s love brought hope and healing for parents and their children.

Worth It All

At just 13 years old, Little Dennis has more ministry experience than most people twice his age. It has made his childhood entirely different than most kids, and he’s learned some pretty big lessons that are not lost on this young boy.

For example, after a year of doing BB4K events, Big Dennis asked his son to think about the ministry’s future and why he wanted to be a LEGO missionary. Little Dennis’s answer was wise beyond his years: “Dad, if God gives you a job to do and you don’t do it, He’ll give the job to someone else and you’re going to miss the best days of your life.”

Little Dennis also sees the value in working together as a family, with friends, and for the sake of the gospel. “It has all been worth it. It’s been 100 percent worth every moment that we have put into this. It’s been so fun to be able to do this and watch it expand to Africa and Poland. We’re only six years in, and I never thought it would be this big already. I never want to stop doing this, and I can’t wait to see what we do next with BB4K!”

Little Dennis, his family, and his best friends are using those brightly colored pieces of plastic to build more than just a miniature house, a car, or a spaceship. They are using them to build the kingdom of God, one new LEGO friend at a time.

* Developed in 1932, LEGO is the abbreviation of two Danish words—“leg godt”—which means “play well.” Made of ABS plastic, they are nearly indestructible and are made to be passed down from one generation to the next. They are designed to always fit together perfectly.

Cindy Lewis Dake writes from Arlington, Texas, where she leads a Bible study and women’s ministry at First Baptist Church Arlington.

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