Winter Retreat is upon us! The theme is “Life of the Beloved.” The speaker, the leaders, the student leaders, Clement and I have been preparing and preparing. Now, all that is left to do is for Winter Retreat to run. We look forward to what God will do. God has been great in saving teenagers, calling teenagers to walk away from sin, healing past hurts, transforming and teaching our teens and adults to fall deeper in love with Jesus, etc. etc. This year, we expect no less from our awesome God. As we prepare to go, would you please remember us in your prayers for the next few days.
- For our leaders to be humble before God, depending on Him for wisdom, guidance, and words to speak as they lead small groups and do 1-on-1s.
- For the students who are not believers to believe in the Gospel – we are sinners in need of a Savior and God has given Himself for our salvation.
- For the students who are believers to come to a deeper understanding of their identity as beloved children of God – to live out of their identity, trusting in the Gospel even when they mess up.
- For the Holy Spirit to be at work in all of our hearts to heal, to transform, to save, to convict, to call us to His mission and to live for the cause of Christ and not the cause of ourselves and our own comforts.
- For safety as we travel and as we spend the next few days in very COLD weather!
We look forward to what God has in store for us. We have prepared as best as we can in terms of medical supplies, snacks, speakers, leaders, schedules, etc., but none of this matters unless God is at work. Please pray for us because we know that God hears the prayers of the righteous and we have been made righteous by Jesus Christ by grace through faith.
We wanted to keep you up-to-date on some of the dangers that our kids may come across as they become teenagers. Of course, these dangers are not limited to teenagers. Children and adults alike can fall into these dangers so do be aware. There are just a couple of websites I would like for you to have access to so that you can engage in conversations with your children about making wise choices, about being good stewards, etc.
As you click on these websites, please do not freak out at your teens and please do not keep your children away from the world. Freaking out and yelling will not help. We are called to be salt and light in the world (Matthew 5:13-16) and that only works if we are teaching our children to think and to process through the filter that is God. SO, please do the following:
- Engage them about the danger of these things
- Go through the process of talking to them – asking them about what they think, whether they have seen/heard of this,
- Go through the guiding process of teaching them to make wise choices rooted in God and His Scriptures.
- Pray daily (and as many times as they enter your mind) for them – our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12 ESV).
It does take effort, but I promise you, parents, the return is great!
- Drugs: https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/emerging-trends-alerts
- This website is a government website. It is updated frequently and, often times, before the new drug hits the news. This link will bring you to the “Emerging Trends and Alerts” page, but there is a menu bar on the side and you can look at all the drugs. This page here has the new drugs that have been out in the recent years. They are cheap and dangerous. Please do take a look.
- Social Media: http://www.familyeducation.com/fun/mobile-apps/safety-beyond-facebook-12-social-media-apps-every-parent-should-know-about
- Social Media is constantly changing. We will try to keep you posted on it, but this is a helpful website to refer to. They tend to keep up with a lot of the apps that parents need to know about.
- Gangs: https://www.nationalgangcenter.gov/gang-related-news
- This is also a government website. While gangs may feel like it’s a thing of the past, they are very much still present. This website will give you any gang related news divided by state.
We are praying for you and for our teenagers!
From January to April, we had an epic fundraising event for Samaritan’s Purse’s Syrian Refugee fund. Our leaders took it over and rallied the students. The students saw the injustice in the world and stepped up. They beaded bracelets, baked delicious sweets, and they cooked Bubble Tea and washed cars! These leaders and these kids got messy and put in elbow grease. As youth pastors, we are so proud of our teenagers – to meet injustice and to dive into the uncomfortable. May was a busy month as we wrapped up our year and prepared for our graduation banquet.
In June, the busy summer kicked off with our annual graduation banquet! We were sad to say goodbye to the graduating class of 2016, but we are excited to see where they will end up and what God will be doing in them and through them. In June, we also started our missions training and then went to DCCYC (Dallas Chinese Christian Youth Camp). Texas is crazy hot in the summer! It was 5 days, 4 nights of intense heat, fun, laughter, and relationships. We are thankful that we got to watch our youth get to know one another, step out of their shell in developing friendships, and we are thankful to have been used in the lives of other believers in the universal church.