I cannot believe that it has been a year since my wife and I moved to Lebanon and began working with the Middle School students of this city. It has truly been a glorious and adventurous year. Before I even give you a report, let me thank you guys for praying for YFC®. The work that God is doing here is in large part an answer to the faithful prayers of our supporters, staff and volunteers. We cannot THANK YOU ENOUGH!
Last year around this time, I wrote about the culture of violence that pervaded the streets of this city. A year ago, we were having a difficult time combating this culture and attitude. A few times physical fights disrupted our clubs, and on several occasions, we had to cancel the service all together. My wife and I were heartbroken, tired, and discouraged. We began to pray, and seek counsel about what adjustments to make. What we discovered was that we simply needed to center everything on Jesus and His Gospel. Our program needed to be less about games, food and fun and more about the hope of Jesus.
We restructured club completely. We put our session time at the top of service, and pushed back dinner, group games, small groups and free time. In order to have dinner, play games, and enjoy the benefits of YFC®, students had to engage and participate in worship and actively listen to the message. At first, there was some resistance, but what we discovered was that there was a significant amount of middle school students that were eager to hear the Word of God, and who were finding solace in times of worship.
It was discouraging to lose some kids who did not approve of the changes. However, God has brought a completely new cast of students to our program! Moreover, these students are learning to love God with all their heart, soul and mind. They are not perfect, none of us are, but they are genuinely seeking God in their own way. Just this last week we had nearly 60 middle school students, who do not have a home church but come to YFC® for our club! Here are few of their testimonies.:
- One Girl who had missed 60 days of school last year due to depression. Came to us, found the love of Jesus, and began experiencing healing. So far she has not missed a day of school and currently has four A’s, and is learning commitment through playing volleyball!
- A young boy, who is fatherless, came to us in need of love and attention. We have been teaching him about the Gospel while meeting some of his needs. Currently, he is one of our best student volunteers; he has a tireless work ethic, and is an amazing administrator.
- One young lady who had an incredible temper, came to YFC®, and has been learning about what Jesus is all about. Currently she is a fearless leader who handles conflict so much better than she used to. She is also one our most faithful and committed students.
These are just a few! God is moving and changing these precious hearts. He has not forgotten them. He is near the widowed, orphaned, and fatherless. Our God is Great and merciful, abounding in Grace! Oh and by the way, fights at YFC® are currently a rare thing! Praise God! Once again, thank you, thank you, thank you for all your prayers and support. Blessings.