Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Welcome to the family.

I have some great news to pass along and some additional prayer requests for specific people. This past Friday night at the skate-park was an incredible evening. As I wrote in our prayer requests last week, we are planning to start a very structured series of messages for the youth over the next nine weeks. Because of our plans, we wanted to see if we could attract some additional interest by hosting a movie and pizza night this past Friday. Our plans were to let the kids skate for a while, feed them some pizza and then watch a movie together. We decided to show a movie entitled “Something to Sing About” by the Billy Graham Association that my father had brought down earlier this year. Louie, the youth ministry director, asked me to introduce the movie before it started since I had seen it in the past and had recommended that we show it. I introduced the movie by talking about choices. We all have choices in our lives and our choices have consequences. I asked the kids to really pay attention to the characters in the movie and to really think about the choices they were making and the results of those choices.

The movie is about a young guy that gets out of jail after doing time for a crime he didn’t commit. The actors are all African-American, many of whom have been in popular movies and television shows. Anyway, when the guy gets out of prison, he is having a difficult time re-adjusting and finding work. Right away, he is offered an opportunity to make a quick buck by getting involved in the selling of drugs. He ends up meeting an older, Christian woman in a grocery store, who invites him to church. Not long after, he makes a decision to follow Christ. The rest of the movie deals with the consequences of this choice and contrasts it with the choices that were made by his friend who did get involved with the drug trade. The consequences of each decision are clearly portrayed and the gospel is presented a couple of times during the film. I have never seen the kids pay such close attention to anything since we started this program back in July. It was incredible. They were completely silent (a miracle akin to turning water into wine) and every eye was glued to the screen. Many of the kids here in Puerto Viejo are facing the same decisions day after day. Some of them are already playing the part of small time gangsters as they mimic what they see on TV.

Shortly into the film, I started feeling very strongly that we needed to share the gospel and give the kids an opportunity to respond. I asked Louie to share once the movie had ended and I asked him to be very direct with the kids. Louie laid it out for them and tied it in very well with the fact that each of us has to make a choice of whether or not we will follow Jesus. When asked if they wanted to follow Jesus, between eight and ten kids raised their hands and prayed. It was awesome. Afterwards, several of them immediately came and asked me for bibles. We are going to start a new believer’s bible study in the next week or two so that we can help these kids to get off on the right track. They are excited about their decisions and really want to begin learning and growing. Several of them came to our house church tonight. It’s exciting but it is also very challenging. These kids will need a lot of prayer. Everything in the world is stacked against them including the general apathy that seems to permeate the culture.

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