Celebrating Generosity: Youth Ministry During COVID-19
Pastor Aaron Osborne takes a couple minutes to share about the importance of staying connected and what youth ministry at RBC looks like during the COVID-19 pandemic.
VIDEO: Youth Group COVID-19 Encouragement
Bob, Lee, and Aaron filmed a 13-minute video encouragement that provides some Biblical prospective on this situation and encouragement for how to spend all our newfound free time. Please make sure your jr. and sr. high students see it!
From the Field: Haiti Mission Trip
For much of 2019, Haiti has been experiencing significant political instability and economic hardships.
This has resulted in RBC cancelling several family missions trips to one of our partner churches in Pignon, Haiti. However, from June 27 to July 2, four men from RBC were able to go down and visit Pastor Francois, Pastor Aldean, the 62 children they care for, and the Philadelphia Baptist Church of Pignon. The video below shares a few highlights from our trip.
While we can’t solve all of Haiti’s problems and struggle to even relate to issues like 30%+ inflation, we can make a difference in the lives of one community in Haiti. Besides our usual goals of loving on children, encouraging the church, and maintaining and repairing equipment, our primary goal for this trip was helping set future educational and life goals for four of Pastor’s oldest children. In a society filled with hopelessness about the future, helping map out next steps for them, gives so much life.
Through your generosity, these kids will have the opportunity to go to university or trade schools to learn a profession. We pray for their futures that children who were orphaned, may one day be loving husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, church leaders, etc. and break the cycles of bondage through the Lord. It is a long term investment, but one where we trust God is transforming lives.
Celebrating Generosity: Youth Summer Camp 2018
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!
VIDEO: Youth Summer Camp Invite
Jr. & Sr. High students, join us July 23-29 for our 2017 Youth Summer Camp! Get details and register at www.restonbible.org/summercamp.
From the Field: Letters from Haiti
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
God at Work in First Fruits
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!
From the Field: Haiti Family Mission Update
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.
From the Field: Pignon, Haiti
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 email@example.com.
Youth Summer Camp 2013
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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 email@example.com. Discounted registration ends May 12th.
Event Update: Jr. High Epic Fun Night
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.
Event Update: Jr. High Minute To Win It
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 FNL: Chocolate Night
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!
Summer Review: Youth Missions in Croatia
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.
The Simplicity of God’s Word
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.