A few hundred Senior and Junior High youth recently returned from our 2018 Summer Camp in Mt. Hope, WV. We saw the Lord do some incredible things in the lives of students as we examined the topic of fear through a biblical lens. Thank you to the many volunteers who graciously gave of their time, talents and treasure to serve our students and show them the love of Christ throughout the week. Thank you, RBC, for being a generous church!
Jr. & Sr. High students, join us July 23-29 for our 2017 Youth Summer Camp! Get details and register at www.restonbible.org/summercamp.
We recently received a couple letters from the ministry we support in Pignon, Haiti, and wanted to share them with you. National pastor Francois Romelus runs a church of approximately 250 people in addition to the local elementary school and an orphanage where he cares for around 55 children. Over the past several years we have sent multiple teams to work with the ministry there and develop many deep relationships. On Sunday May 1st, Pastor Francois’ son Aldinn, who runs much of the ministry, shared briefly in our Sunday services. He also brought several letters that we wanted to share with you.
Please continue to pray for the ministry in Haiti as they face many challenges but rejoice in the hope of the Gospel.
LETTER FROM PASTOR FRANCOIS
LETTER FROM THE 3 ELDEST BOYS AT THE ORPHANAGE
For over 20 years, the youth ministry has run the First Fruits project the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Every year, we raise money by raking leaves and doing other jobs throughout the day. That evening, we purchase lots of food and deliver the food to families in need in our community. This year, with an army of over 650 workers, we raised over $43,000 to provide food for over 100 families. We were also able to provide college scholarships to five local high school seniors.
Because we have been doing this for so many years, it is easy to just assume numbers like these will happen. But every year God does something that just makes us realize it is His work and His plan, not ours.
First, this year we had over 200 students from Parkview and Herndon High School sign up to work with us. These students have no affiliation with RBC, but the schools announced the project and they came to work with us. As a youth ministry, we are always trying to think of creative ways to reach out with the truth and hope of the Gospel to the students around us, and it’s so cool how God has taken something we designed to care for those in physical need and open so many doors for us to tell so many students about their greatest spiritual need. We never had a “strategic plan” or “vision” to turn First Fruits into an outreach, but it is now our biggest outreach of the year. Please pray for the hundreds who heard the Gospel at First Fruits.
Second, God orchestrated several food deliveries in ways that only He could. To identify many of the families we assist, we work through parent liaisons at several local public schools. We seek families that are experiencing hardships, but not currently being helped. These families are then randomly assigned to one of our 32 teams.
This year, as one team was entering the home of the family they were delivering to, the face of a young girl and her parents lit up. They were excited not for the food, but that one of the people delivering the food was the girl’s preschool teacher from several years prior. This instantly broke the ice and allowed for a powerful opportunity to share the love of Christ. When a group of strangers walk into someone’s home with bags of food and gifts, it can be awkward. But God, in providentially working out the right family with the right team, completely changed the situation. Only God can work out situations like that.
A similar situation happened with another team. They were supposed to deliver food to a different family, but at the last minute their delivery was switched. It just happened to be switched to a family a team member knew, which has opened the doors for additional ministry and care for the family.
God is not random. Our God is powerful and is doing great things in our midst, even when we don’t recognize it. Thank you so much for giving us jobs, working with us, donating to the project, and being part of what the Lord is doing to make His name known in Northern Virginia.
Below are some highlight pictures from the day. Enjoy!
Over Spring Break, a team of 21 parents and Jr. High students flew to Pignon, Haiti to serve with RBC-supported national pastor, Francois Romelus (featured here in a previous From the Field). While adults from RBC had visited before, it was the first trip that included students, and it was amazing to see the way the Lord used them.
Pastor Francois runs an orphanage of 50+ children, and it was such a blessing to see the ways that our students could play and interact with them, despite the language barrier. Our students were really able to open up the children there and practically show the love of Christ. On top of playing games of soccer, teaching them to skateboard, braiding hair, and hanging out, we also had several special opportunities with them.
We set up Easter Egg hunt with them and talked with them about the resurrection of Christ. We treated them to s’mores cooked over an open fire, after which everyone licked clean their sticky fingers. We had English classes as they taught us some Creole. And we took the oldest ~20 students to a beach a few hours away. Most of them had never been to the ocean and didn’t know how to swim. It was a treat for them, and a blessing to have fun with them.
We also had the blessing of helping the local church run a VBS-style children’s program. While it was a bit chaotic at times with almost 400 children who couldn’t speak English, it was an amazing blessing to serve the community. Our theme for the week was “Mwen Se Trésor Bondye” or “I am a Treasure of God’s”.
We had a great opportunity to play and do crafts with the children and act out Bible stories, as the national pastors taught God’s Word. At the end of each day, each the church provided a meal of rice, beans, and a little chicken for the children, and it was humbling to see how so little meant so much to them. Please pray for the children to understand that they are God’s Treasure.
Finally, we were blessed with many opportunities to connect with and encourage the local church. Eric Smith, the chairman of RBC’s elders, taught a marriage class. We were able to hear the testimonies of and pray for all of the national pastors and elders of the church in Pignon. Please continue to pray for them as they face many hardships and persecution to lead the church.
Thank you to the many who prayed for this team. We definitely saw the answers to many of your prayers. Please continue to pray for Pastor Francois’ children and their futures, as there are very few career opportunities for them.
**Thanks to all who attended the team review on Wednesday, 4/29 in the Jr. High Room. Please continue to pray for Pastor Francois and the ministry there.
Pastor Francois Romelus and his wife, Madou, have humbly and faithfully led a church in Pignon, Haiti, since 1982. They have a church of over 200 people, run the local elementary school, and care for a large number of widows and about 50 orphans. They were in northern Virginia the weekend of February 22nd, when services were cancelled due to inclement weather. He recorded the following message to Reston Bible Church:
A team of 21 parents and Jr. High students are going to work with their ministry over Spring Break (March 26-April 3). The team will be running a VBS style camp for several hundred neighborhood children, trying to show God’s love for the orphans, and caring for the local church. God is doing much through the ministry there, and we want to be an encouragement to them.
Please pray for:
- The church in Pignon, that their faith in and dependence on the Lord would continue to deepen in the midst of many challenging circumstances.
- Pastor Francois and his wife Madou, that they would be encouraged in the Lord.
- The RBC team, that we would be a blessing and encouragement to the church in Pignon. Specifically, that we would be able to communicate to the children how much God treasures and values them.
Many people have asked about ways to help care for the orphans in Haiti. You can check out an Amazon.com wish list for them by clicking here. There you will find items that will be a blessing to them. You can purchase them off Amazon.com or elsewhere, and drop them off at Aaron Osborne’s office at RBC by Wednesday, March 18th, and we will deliver them. If you have any questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I still remember my first time attending RBC Summer Camp. I grew up in a Christian home and knew all the Bible stories and memorized all the AWANA verses, but I didn’t see how it all impacted or affected my life. The summer after my freshman year of high school, I went to camp, and for the first time in my life I took a break from all my electronics and non-stop activities and thought about what all this “God stuff” I knew about really meant in my life. I still remember the speaker explaining God’s love and forgiveness and it just “clicking” for me as I saw into the depths of God’s incredible grace towards me. Looking back, here are some of the ways I have seen camp affect me:
Summer Camp allowed me to build friendships. I went from being a kid who only came on Sunday morning and felt alone even at church, to always wanting to be at youth group. Over my time in the youth group, I went from being quiet and shy to being outgoing, because I had real relationships and I understood the acceptance of God.
Summer Camp forced me to focus on God. There is no magic formula. We just remove distractions, focus everything on God, and it is amazing what He teaches. We give students an extended time alone with God on Thursday morning, and it is amazing how for many students this is the best part of the week.
Summer Camp allowed me to make decisions. When I stepped back from my world, I could make decisions about what was really important. I could really decide who I wanted to be. This is one reason we are excited about our topic this year. We are going to be studying the life of Daniel. While in our society truth and morals are relative, Daniel had the core convictions to follow God regardless of the circumstances around him. Even in captivity, he was convinced that God’s Word was true, God is Good, and God’s commands are to be obeyed.
Summer Camp gave me memories. Camp was just flat out fun. Between spending a week with friends and tons of great activities, it was always a highlight of my year that has left me with so many great memories.
I don’t know exactly what decisions will be made this year at Summer Camp, but I trust its impact will extend far beyond what I will ever know. Watch the first video (above) to hear some stories of how camp has impacted lives. The second video (below) contains fun highlights from last year’s Summer Camp.
Details and Registration are available at www.restonbible.org/summercamp. If you have any questions about camp, please let me know (email@example.com). We also have several scholarships available, where students can work to earn a portion of the funds they need for camp. For registration and scholarship information, please contact Mallory Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org. Discounted registration ends May 12th.
With each of our Jr. High Friday Night Lives, we strive to create fun, safe environments where our students and their friends can have a great time & also hear about what Christ has done for us. On January 18th, the Jr. Highers had a blast at our Epic Fun Night. A series of Epic Fun activities were spread throughout the youth building so teens could compete in RC car racing, basketball, dodgeball, sculpting, Mario Cart, foosball, Super Smash Brothers, and more. The video below gives you a glimpse of all the excitement. It was a great time for our volunteers to hang out and build relationships with our students and over 40 of their friends that came.
In the middle of the epicness, we paused to watch some epic near-death experiences. In lots of epic movies it always seems when certain death and failure is imminent, at just the right moment salvation comes. The same was true for us in our spiritual lives. As Romans 5:6 says, “While we were still helpless, at just the right time, Christ died for the ungodly.” While we faced certain judgment and eternal punishment, Christ came in God’s perfect timing to die for us. This makes us some of the luckiest and most blessed people ever.
Praise the Lord for His salvation and for the 12 students who indicated they trusted in what Christ has done for them & began a relationship with God that evening.
If you have a Jr. Higher or know one you want to reach out to, go to www.restonbible.org/breakthru and check out our latest calendar to find our details for our next Friday Night Live.
Back in December, the Jr. High Ministry held our 3rd annual Minute to Win It: Friday Night Live. Guy Feiri (played by Erik Palmer) hosted our own version of the TV game show as our students played a series of pressure-packed challenges to win prizes.
We had a full room of excited Jr. Highers (with about 50 friends who do not regularly attend RBC) trying to throw rolls of toilet paper through hoops, making Diet Coke volcanos with Mentos, and bobbing their heads trying to tally steps on a pedometer.
The highlight video below gives you a small glimpse of the excitement. In the middle of the event, one of our Jr. High Volunteers, Amy Stegeman, shared about her life (you can also watch her story below). Just like how in the game show you only have a short time to complete a task, she shared about how she has learned that our time here on earth is short. But unlike the game, we don’t win prizes based on our performance, but by believing in the performance of the God who came into this world at Christmas 2000 years ago.
Praise God for the over 20 students who indicated they trusted in what Christ has done for them & began a relationship with God that evening.
Jr. High Friday Night Live events (FNL) are fun, safe events we hold monthly where our teens feel comfortable inviting their friends, and the Gospel and the truth about Christ is clearly presented.
On September 14th, we started off the school year in delicious fashion with Chocolate Night. We had around 140 students with lots of friends and consumed approximately 10 dozen brownies, 12 Costco-sized bottles of Hershey’s syrup, 15 lbs of M&M’s, 2 lbs of chocolate chips, 12 tubs of chocolate frosting, 24 lbs of Hershey’s bars, 4 pounds of chocolate covered pretzels, and 25 pounds of fruit dipped in chocolate. Now when I say “consumed,” let me explain that probably only 3/4 of that was actually eaten. The rest got smeared all over the students as we played all sorts of chocolate themed games. (As you might imagine, we are incredibly grateful for the amazing cleaning staff at RBC.)
In the middle of the mess, we also got to share the beauty of the Gospel. God created mankind in absolutely perfect relationship with Him, but our sin has separated us from God. No matter what good things we do, we can never make things right with God again. It is like a bowl of chocolate brownie batter with dog poop mixed in. No matter how many other good things you add (e.g., chocolate chips, chocolate sauce, whipped cream), no one wants to eat poop brownies.
That is what is so amazing about Christ. He doesn’t say, “Do good things, and I will forgive you.” Instead, He gives us Christ’s righteousness when we believe. Praise the Lord for the many who heard the Gospel and for the 15 students that indicated decisions that evening. Please be in prayer for our students to fully understand the forgiveness and life we have through Christ.
Below is a highlight video from all the chocolate festivities and a special interview we had with world renowned chocolate artist, Ned Wonka!
This summer, a team of 20 students and adults went to Slavonski Brod and Nova Gradiska, Croatia to work with RBC missionaries Garret Prestwood and Darko Mikulic and the Pioneers Team that Tony Pedroni, RBC’s Shepherd Groups pastor, used to lead. In these cities, we did a Kid’s Club (think outdoor VBS) for younger kids, and ran camps where we taught Croatian teens how to play baseball. God was amazingly gracious to us, bringing out the perfect number of participants and providing us with great weather, even though the forecast was bleak. The videos below will give you a glimpse of what these events looked like.
Through these events, we were able to build relationships with many Croatian students. In the evenings, we would meet up with the friends we had made in the town square and hang out in small groups. It was in these times, I saw the Lord so powerfully work. Our team would regather late at night, and the stories were just amazing of how this student got to share their testimony of how God has changed their life with two Croatians, or how a Croatian opened up about the struggles in their life and we got to share about the hope we have in Christ. Every night we seemed to have another five stories of God at work.
I have had the privilege of being a part of many overseas missions trips, but I have never before seen the Lord open up so many opportunities for His Word to go forth in personal one-on-one relationships as I saw this year in Croatia. We were truly blessed to be a part of God’s plan and work in that country. Thank you for your prayers and encouragement along the way.
Please continue to be in prayer for the many seeds planted in Croatia, the new believers to be connected with the body of Christ, the students still exploring their faith with the long-term missionaries there, and for our teens to catch a vision that conversations about God can happen not just when we travel halfway around the world, but wherever God has placed them.
At BreakThru, our Junior High ministry here at Reston Bible Church, we provide simple journals for the Jr. Highers to use to spend time with God. The journals provide a reading plan, a couple of questions to get them to think about what they read, and some space to write out a prayer to God. This is nothing amazing in concept, but it has been incredible to see what God is doing through them. Just last week, I got an email from a mom telling me how her son uses the journal almost every day, and she has been amazed as she has seen God’s Word at work in her son’s life. This email isn’t unique, as I receive something similar at least once a month.
A lot of times I am tempted to think that if God’s Word isn’t properly “packaged” and turned into something that grabs a teen’s attention, they won’t get anything out of it. But that mindset is like caring more about the wrapping paper than the actual present. God’s Word is “living and active” and is powerful to change lives. We can get distracted by all the glitz of the latest Christian book or podcast sermon. But whether I am an 11 year-old boy or a seminary professor, the Bible speaks and transforms all who will listen.
Jr. High Friday Night Live events (FNL) are monthly fun, safe events where our teens feel comfortable inviting their friends and the Gospel and the truth about Christ is clearly presented.
On September 16th, we had Jello night, where we threw Jell-O, shot Jell-O, swam in Jell-O, and ate Jell-O. It was a blast, but also a total mess. We also got to talk about the messes in our own lives (e.g., divorced parents, lying to fit in), and the God who has come in human form into our mess, to renew and restore by dying on a cross for all of our sins, and rising from the dead to give us everlasting life. We had over 60 friends attend and over 10 indicate decisions for Christ.
On October 14th, we put on our own version of Minute to Win It. Erik Palmer hosted a series of games from the TV show for an excited crowd of almost 200 Jr. Highers (about half were visitors). We also had 20 middle schoolers from Cornerstone School in Anacostia. The teens played games, won prizes, and ate pizza. But as the games puts contestants under pressure to perform, we face a huge pressure to perform in academics, athletics, relationships, etc. Thankfully, God hasn’t left us alone in those pressures, and says our identity isn’t based on our performance (we will never be good enough to get to heaven), but on what He has already accomplished for us by dying to pay the penalty for our sins and rising to give us life. Please pray as we follow up with over 20 visitors that indicated decisions for Christ that night.
Below are highlight videos from both of the events. Please continue to pray for the seeds that were planted at these events and the new faiths that began.
As you may have heard mentioned in services last weekend, our Junior and Senior High youth are away for our annual Youth Summer Camp. Thank you for praying for us this week. We desperately need your prayers as we desire to see God move an act in our teens’ lives this week. Below is are several specific requests and an overview of theme this week so you can pray specifically for our teens to understand the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives and begin to live it out.
Specific Prayer Requests
1) Safety and Protection – as we travel and as we have fun white water rafting, water tubing, caving, riding a hot-air balloon, etc.
2) Logistics – we have over 200 people at camp this year. Pray that all would logistically work out with transportation, meetings, meals, etc.
3) Open Hearts – many of our teens are apathetic towards God. Pray that they would be open to what the Lord wants to teach them.
4) Listening Hearts – pray against any distraction and that the teens stay awake during the messages.
5) Small Groups to Connect – pray for the teens to connect with each other.
6) Salvation for the Unsaved – we have many friends and non-believers coming with us this year. Pray they would each accept Christ’s free gift of salvation this week.
7) Energy for Staff – pray for supernatural energy for the staff.
8) Spiritual Refreshment for the Staff – pray for the staff’s personal times with the Lord, that they would be refreshing, and that they would be able to minister out of the overflow of what God is doing in their lives.
9) Unity among the staff – pray that our entire team of over 40 staff would be united in Spirit to care for and lead out teens.
10) Discernment for the Staff – many teens come with significant issues (personal or at home). Pray that our staff would be able to discern how to care for and challenge each of our teens in a grace filled manner.
11) Below is an overview of our theme. Pray specifically that our teens would see the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives and begin to walk in it.
Our Theme: SUPER:natural
As believers we have all heard of the Holy Spirit, but how many of us really understand who He is or what He practically does in our life? Christ Himself says it is for our benefit that Christ leaves and sends the promised Holy Spirit (John 16:7). We are told if we walk in the Spirit, we will not gratify our sinful desires (Galatians 5:16). We hear about the Fruit the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) that should develop in our lives of love, joy, and peace and want some of those, but how do we get them? We hear about living in the power of the Spirit, but far too often tend to lead defeated Christian lives. We live for the next “spiritual high” but have no clue how to have a sustained walk with the Lord. We have heard so many truths about God and have so much knowledge, but do we have the basic skills of how to walk in step with the Spirit?
This year at camp, we will be learning about the Holy Spirit and what He does in our lives. With that in mind, our theme this year is SUPERnatural. Not supernatural in the Ghostbusters way of thinking, but as in SUPER (adj. – above, beyond, stronger than) natural (n. – the way things exist in nature without interference). This is about the power and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. On my own, I would not walk with God or honor Him, but thankfully He has not left me alone as an orphan (John 14:18). He gives us the power to live beyond our own natural abilities.
As believers we have all heard of the Holy Spirit, but how many of us really understand who He is or what He practically does in our life? Christ Himself says it is for our benefit that Christ leaves and sends the promised Holy Spirit (John 16:7). We are told if we walk in the Spirit, we will not gratify our sinful desires (Galatians 5:16). We hear about the Fruit the Spirit (Galatians 5:22) should develop in our lives of love, joy, and peace and want some of those, but how do we get them? We hear about living in the power of the Spirit, but far too often tend to lead defeated Christian lives.
This year at our our annual Youth Summer Camp, we will be learning about the Holy Spirit and what He does in our lives. With that in mind, our theme this year is SUPERnatural. Not supernatural in the Ghostbusters way of thinking, but as in SUPER (adj. – above, beyond, stronger than) natural (n. – the way things exist in nature without interference). Thisis about the power and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. On my own, I would not walk with God or honor Him, but thankfully He has not left me alone as an orphan (John 14:18). He gives us the power to live beyond our own natural abilities. Please be in prayer that our teens would understand the role of the Spirit in their lives and experience His power to transform us.
Summer Camp is open to all current 6th graders through those who just graduated from High School. The regular registration deadline is this Sunday (6/19). For more information click here.