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.
The Youth Ministry would like to extend a huge thank you to the body for its prayers and support in all aspects of First Fruits. God answered your prayers in many different ways last Saturday. There were more than 600 workers, spread over 30 teams that did close to 150 jobs, and raised almost $40,000 to immediately impact more than 70 families in the local community with groceries and gift cards. It was a long, but good day, one in which God provided near perfect weather. It was also a blessing to have Park View High School stepping out with volunteers (students and staff) and providing a place for us to meet for our morning and evening programs.
Check back in the near future for pictures from that wonderful day. For this and countless other reasons, we are truly grateful to God for richly blessing our body. Have a very special Thanksgiving.
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!
Back in July, we had our yearly youth summer camp. We had over 160 students and 50 leaders for our weekly camp. It was a great time to get away from the day to day distractions and really focus on the LORD and His Word and learn more about our relationship with Christ. We also had a blast with our youth as we participated with them in several of our camps activities which included: Paint Ball, water sports, caving, rappelling, rock wall climb, white water rafting, hiking, and a day of service to name a few activities.
We had a great time at camp and really saw God working in many of our teens’ lives throughout the week and even saw some kids place their trust in Christ for the first time.
-John Lyver (Jr. High Youth Assistant)
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.
First Fruits is a service project that has rallied the RBC church body for over 20 years. It is a unique serving opportunity for families, shepherd groups, and individuals to come together and make a difference in the lives and families of others in our area who are in need of help and encouragement. Join us and you will be blessed to see the tangible “fruits” of your labors!
Learn more & get involved at www.restonbible.org/firstfruits
On September 18, 2011, the pastors and elders of Reston Bible Church joyfully ordained Aaron Osborn as a pastor. Please pray for Aaron as he continues his work with our Junior High students here at RBC!
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.
We have had an awesome last couple days. We spent 2 days running a summer camp for the kids at the children’s home. Tuesday evening we did another street meeting and went to see the huge sea turtles! We even got to see baby turtles hatching! Wednesday we did our second day of summer camp and left for the team debrief in Port of Spain. Last night we heard from Ronnie and Meela. Today we spent the day on a boat swimming and fishing. Then we returned to the church for a farewell dinner with the church (A very touching experience). We will give you much more detail when we see you late on Saturday.
Our flight is scheduled to land at Dulles at 11:20 pm. We are planning on students being picked up at the airport.
Thank you for all your prayers! God has definitely answered them and many more.
Summary of the weekend:
On Day 8 (Sat), we went to Toco Beach, ate Fish Broth which is a stew that they cooked using a propane tank right on the beach, played football, and climbed trees.
On Day 9 (Sun), we went to an Evangelical church that Bob had helped out when he came here last with an RBC missions team, Ryan and Dan spoke, Emily gave her testimony and then we repeated our “package” at Hope Community Church at 5:45 pm and Joseph gave his testimony. We finished out the night having some fun with our Trini friends, especially our awesome maxi taxi driver Dale (last picture with Dan).
Blog from the weekend:
DAY 8: Well, it was bound to happen. We got roasted. The team spent much of our day Saturday on Toco beach. It was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen. I think at times we all felt like somehow we had been placed into a post card. We spent our day running around having fun, spending some time with the local Trinis we have come to know and love, some who we are growing beside and some who we are witnessing to, and just praising God for his beautiful creation. After our time on the beach we stopped briefly at a lighthouse that was unlike anything we had ever witnessed before. Beyond a small beaten path we found enormous boulders and cliffs that at this moment I struggle to even describe. Aggressive waves plummeted toward us, crashed onto the walls of the cliff we sat on and flew up upon us in the form of this delicate mist. God is so beautiful. We went back to the Heerah’s house to find an abundance of awkward tan lines and crazy sun burns. I have never felt so white before in my life. After changing and showering, we headed back to Hope Community Church to lead a parent/teen event. There, we were given the opportunity to meet with community members and discuss with them what the Bible says about what a parent-teen relationship should look like. Courtney shared her testimony with the ladies and Bob spoke for the men. The turn out was certainly smaller than other events we have hosted, but we praise God for the intimacy that comes with that.
DAY 9: I cannot even tell you how fun it has been spending a full Sunday in Trinidad. We spent the morning at a nearby church that still had strong connections to the Heerah’s. Ronnie used to pastor there before being led to start Hope Community Church and many of the Heerah’s relatives are strongly tied there. It was a church
flourishing with life and life in abundance. Every face we saw was welcoming and loving toward us for no reason other than the fact that we are all truly members of a single body. We were given the opportunity to run the morning service, but we were blessed in that we did not take over their church for that day, but rather we walked
beside them that day. The worship they provided for us was beautiful and motivating. I was so encouraged to witness such a lively congregation. After their worship, our group sang a few songs, performed “In the Light,” and spoke before them. Emily Mooney shared her testimony from the pulpit in a way that genuinely seemed to capture the hearts of her audience. After Emily, Bob Shull, Ryan Swisher, and Daniel Shull tag-teamed a sermon, which was absolutely saturated in wisdom and in truth. It was encouraging to see our men step up to the plate into such a role of leadership. Not a single person, Trini or otherwise, left the building uninspired. After the church service, we were given lunch as a team as well as some awesome “meet and greet” time, where we were able to really speak with any church member that was willing to share with us. Little girls in dresses played hide-and-go-seek with our members and little boys played “ninja” while everyone else seemed immersed in conversations varying from the basics of getting to know each other, and deep discussion over what we all believed God was at work doing. After lunch, we met back at the Heerah’s house for a bit of liming, encouraging, and team time. Our time was good and reviving, but not long lived because we were soon off to Hope Community Church to prepare for the evening service ahead of us. As always, many songs were sung, and as strange as it is to stand on a stage and sing worship songs at a congregation, it is incredibly rewarding to see how the congregation began to worship along with us. Even witnessing one person worship with a heart full of adoration for God is enough encouragement to uplift us all. After worship, “Silence” was performed, and Joseph Choi gave a heart-felt testimony. We then all dispersed between the adult service and many children’s classrooms to teach Sunday school. Everywhere the team served was blessed. Our evening ended on a high note when we ate a late dinner with the community around us and simply spent some time in fellowship. The love we have developed for one another, within the team and within the community, never ceases to amaze me.
Please pray for our ministry at the Bridge of Hope Kids Camp. We will be hanging out with 45 kids and will need lots of energy and enthusiasm.
VIDEOS FROM WEEK 1:
DAY 6: Thursday was an incredibly full day, which is something we were all thankful for. It is always neat to have days just full of opportunities. The morning consisted of going to a high school with a reputation of being full of troubled teens or teens that ended up there due to doing poorly elsewhere. The students we talked to were
far more interested in getting to know us than I had anticipated. I think we all expected for them to be “rough around the edges,” but at the end of the day, whatever they seem to be, they are all simply people, just as relational as the rest of us. Worship songs were sung, “King of Hearts” was performed, and Tucker shared his testimony with the students in a way that was conversational and relatable. After performing there, the team headed back to our work sight to finish the house we had started earlier this week. Lots of priming, painting, and sweating took place as well as the unexpected opportunity to meet and speak with the single mother who owned the house we were working on. In the midst of that work, three of the guys left early to dig a trench most diligently at the Heerah’s house. Naturally, their work ended with a massive mud fight that could not have been more fun. The team spent the rest of the afternoon in the word and preparing for the evening we were about to spend in Vega, a more rural area that is about twenty minutes away from the Heerah’s house. Once there, we broke up into groups and walked through the area meeting locals, attempting to stay away from stray dogs, and inviting the people we met to our upcoming street performance. Our street presentation in Vega was worlds different from our presentation in Sangre Grande, but we saw God at work nonetheless. Our crowd was in no way enormous, but they were certainly a crowd in need. After some worship “In the Light”
was again performed (giving me goose bumps, as always), Emmy Weeks shared her testimony, and Ronnie Heerah shared his testimony and the gospel. The response was overall very positive and we all enjoyed
spending the rest of the evening dining with the locals in Vega getting to know them, sharing with them, and never ceasing to pray for them.
DAY 7: Today was a day that we have long been anticipating. We have been advertising an upcoming free car wash to the locals since we arrived here and finally, today was the day. Every person had their job, be it washing, waxing, rinsing, or absurdly jumping and screaming “free car wash” to cars that passed by. All morning we worked with strange flows of one or two cars at a time or tons all at once. The single commonality between every person we saw, whether or not they agreed to get their car washed, was that none understood why anyone would give up their time to serve the community with no strings attached. Most did not understood why some American kids would give up their summer to serve. God truly seemed to make an impression on the people we came across. After the car wash we had a late lunch of…wait for it… pizza! Granted, pizza here is certainly different from back in the states, but either way it was pretty great to have a taste of America again. We spent our evening at Hope Community Church running an outreach that we called the “Minute to Win it Youth Rally.” It was fun to see a mixture of new and old faces showing up knowing nothing of what the night would hold. We started off the night by splitting into groups led by each of the RBC team members, who each shared a condensed version of our testimonies as well as attempted to get to know the Trinidadians on at least a basic level. Daniel Shull emceedthe evening, keeping the event full of fun and excitement by running the games and interacting with the Trinidadians. They all adore him. For the first time the skit “Silence” was performed, and Joshua Johnstone shared the gospel. I am thrilled to write to you that five hands were raised in indication of accepting Christ when Bob ended the event in prayer. And just like anything in Trinidad, the evening ended in “Trini” time. We had no real schedule for the end of the evening, so we all just “limed” (hung out) playing games and conversing with everyone we could. It was, most certainly, a successful event that was full of truth and love.
Please continue to pray that we help represent the church in this area and ultimately our God in ways that encourage the community.
(by Hope and Ashley)
DAY 5: The beautiful thing about being a part of the kingdom of God is that any risk we take is not really a risk at all. No matter what the outcome of our actions, as long as we are following His will, God is in control no matter what. It was a blessing and a privilege to be a part of the risk and the will of Christ on this day. We started off the day with every intention of returning to our work project, but God clearly had different plans for us considering He sent heavy rains upon us all morning. We took the time he gave us to dig deep into his word and explore the internal fruit that comes from within a missions team; a fruit that is rarely the cause of a mission trip but its outcome is just as vital as any outward work being done.
After some great Bible time, all the while waiting to see what the rain would do, a plan B was created. The weather lightened up enough to be outside but was still too damp to do the painting we had originally hoped to do, thus we went into Sangre Grande with gospel-oriented surveys and spent most of the afternoon sharing with locals about the life-altering love of Christ. It is difficult to sum up an afternoon like that, because every individual had such a different experience, but I can tell you that despite the differences between our conversations, Christ was a clear part of every one of them. It does not cease to amaze me the way that the culture here allows us to openly evangelize in a way that would never be so well-accepted back in the states.
After lunch and more surveys the team got ready for an evening of hard-core evangelism. A friend of the Heerah’s graciously allowed our team to put on a program in front of their store in Sangre Grande so that we could share the gospel to the streets of Trinidad. Crowds gathered from across the street in front of stores, in front of our space on the side walk, and packed around the area that we performed, all curious to see what the crazy Americans in matching yellow shirts were going to do.
The crowds were not massive, but they were consistent and we considered ourselves blessed to have any listening ears at all. For the first segment of our program the team sang two worships songs together, Hope Ruffner shared her testimony, and the skit “Decision Time” was performed.
After about a half hour of talking to the listeners on the street, getting responses, and handing out tracts, we started all over again. This time the team sang two different worships songs; John Shull shared his testimony (beautifully, I may add), and the skit “King of Hearts” was performed. An eloquent, but ultimately welcoming and clear presentation of the gospel by Ronnie Heerah followed both segments.
Naturally, we did hit some bumps in the road, but every one of them was extraordinarily handled. For example, when drunk and mentally unwell men showed up hoping to become best buds with some of us, the men on our team (leaders and students) swung into super-protection mode making sure that every person felt completely safe the entire evening. One drunken man yelled that he was “vexed” at one of our college leaders because he would not allow the man to marry one of our team members. It was honestly hilarious and handled in a way that allowed us to laugh rather than feel uncomfortable or unsafe. I could not, and I think I speak well for all of the girls here, ask for a better group of guys to protect us and work beside us.
Our time on the streets today was really incredible. We saw a huge interest and spoke some real truth to many people we had never met and may never see again. God was in every detail, every word, and every moment calming and guiding hearts. We left Sangre Grande with joy in our hearts and a thirst to seek more opportunities to share in the same way that we had this evening. We have tasted and we have seen that God is good.