Eight teens and five adults went on an overnight retreat to Heartland Presbyterian Center in Parkville this December. For many of the teens, being apart from siblings and out of the urban core was a new and exciting opportunity. The teens did an indoor challenge course where they grew as a team, learned about the Body of Christ, and constructed a puzzle designed to encourage each of their unique roles. They also got to worship together, eat tacos, and play "sardines" until way past bedtime! We were amazed by the walls that the Lord took down, and the unification that He restored in these eight kids who have been the core for the rest of the newer teens who couldn't be present. Here's more from the perspective of volunteers Brian and Sandy Teachout:
What a blessing the volunteers received when we celebrated the 2011 retreat with the teens! We saw God's hand in it from the moment we arrived at the retreat center. But to continue this story we need to back up a couple of years. The teens we met then are not the transformed teens we know today. They were, to say the least, a bit rough around the edges, hurting, confused, and at times even disrespectful. But they were also very bright, curious, and full of life. These kids never stopped coming to our newly-organized Teens program when it started in 2010, and we have grown to love them since then.
Let's just say that this retreat was a milestone for our lives as well. The retreat was what we call the epitome or crescendo of all the months spent with the teens. It was a refreshing time of team work, personal responsibility to each other and a precious time of sharing our hearts. There was laughter, joy, comedy, quiet time, sharing and tears. Some of the tears were the fruit of sharing their hard times, their challenges, even their past frustrations in light of the difficult challenges they have lived as such young hearts. But the greatest blessings were the tears of joy as they opened their hearts to show how God had been part of their every experience as He is soothing their hurts and healing their scars. The joy of knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is touching a part very deep within them and their confession that Jesus is now the Savior of their lives gives us a joy that is inexpressible. The love we have for these wonderful, challenging teens has increased in our hearts to the point that we see them as our own and we know God has a wonderful plan for each of their lives. We know beyond a shadow of doubt that if any new volunteers join us in this awesome ministry they will fall in love with these kids and will find themselves hard put to leave it if they have to in the future! All we know is that our own lives have been enriched beyond what we could have imagined by having been part of their lives.
In other news:
- Thank you, Westside Family Church, for giving us a 19 passenger mini-bus. It will be extremely helpful for facilitating transportation to ministry events!
- The second Latino house church has begun meeting in a Latino family's home. Similarly, some of our Bhutanese friends are demonstrating an increase in their ownership and leadership of their own house church, with a 12-year-old girl who recently became a new believer leading the other kids last weekend. These are exciting developments because we believe that the essence of the great commission is reproducing disciples and leaders who are capable of multiplying the work!
- We had a full house on Monday evening for our All Volunteer Huddle and Dessert, with a festive atmosphere. The Bhutanese team launched our spring trimester on Tuesday evening, and the Latino team are eager to do the same this evening.
- Praise God for supplying many of the volunteers we needed for this trimester in a variety of ways, including full rosters of ESL conversation partners in both the Bhutanese and Latino outreaches! Please help us pray for the volunteers that are still needed to round out the volunteer teams in the other programs.
- Dining room chairs
- Volunteers for the Spring Trimester, beginning immediately:
- Tuesday evenings:
- Bhutanese Kids Club: two volunteers needed
- Wednesday afternoons:
- Leaders In Training: male tutor needed
- Wednesday evenings:
- Latino Teens Adelante: female volunteer needed
- Flexible times:
- Resource center: several volunteers to help sort donations/organize needed
- Hats and gloves to make available in the Resource Center.
- 1" wide blue painters tape: several rolls. We use it to define spaces on the carpet.