Teens: The Fields White Unto Harvest
“And these are the days of the harvest, the fields are as white in Your world. And we are the laborers in Your vineyard, declaring the Word of the Lord.”—from the song “Days of Elijah” (Mark Robin, 1995)
The Bronx Household of Faith has ministered to teenagers ever since we opened our doors 40 plus years ago (wherever those doors were located at various times through our history).
This past September to June, we had our largest group of teen guys attend our twice a month, Battalion club on Friday nights in our new building. They loved meeting in a new, air-conditioned building with a basketball hoop! We averaged 25-30 teen guys from our community and for the first time none of those teens were from our church. This made for an exciting and challenging year of ministry for the leaders (Angel, Sham, Dwayne and Ryan).
For our curriculum this year we used the book, “Do Hard Things”, by teenage twins Alex and Brett Harris to discuss and teach what God’s word says about being a follower of Jesus Christ. We exhorted the teens to not waste their precious teenage years and to prepare for adulthood by rebelling against the low expectations of their culture and to ultimately choose “to do hard things” for the glory of God.
We finished off the year teaching about Bible characters that “did hard things” as they served and glorified God. Isaiah writes these encouraging words in chapter 55 verse 11, “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.” Praise the Lord of the Harvest!
Some highlights of the year include: participating in the annual Christian Service Brigade basketball tournament (even though we didn’t win the championship like we had done the previous 2 years, it was a humbling, growing and bonding experience), receiving some feedback from a few of the teens about what this club means to them in terms of their personal growth and understanding of who God is, and lastly seeing the impact of the Gospel in specific responses by some of the teens in situations that could have been much worse.
These unchurched teens challenged the leaders with their immaturity and street hardness at times but by God’s grace, we were able to teach, guide and demonstrate the love of God to them. Why did they consistently come, you may ask, to our club on a Friday night when most of their friends were out in the streets?
Here are some answers: escape from dire family issues, feeling safe in our building, a sense of belonging, and for some the truths about God being shared and by His grace, being lived out before them. Some observers may say we were being fathers to the fatherless and that may be true but I tend to think of our leaders as big brothers introducing them to our Heavenly Father.
Our Battalion club doesn’t meet for the summer months and that means that these teen guys are out in the streets, late at night just “hanging out”. Please pray for them and their safety, but more importantly, pray for their salvation, that God would draw them to Himself for His Glory!
The fields are white all around us and we, the laborers, must continue to proclaim the Word of the Lord! “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” Matthew 9:37-38.
by Bob Hall
It seems a little late to ask for camp scholarships for this year. We have been remiss in mentioning it in our winter and spring newsletters. That said, we would like to build up that fund again, if not for some late summer, last minute stragglers but, most likely, for next year. There are several boys (as well as girls) who could have benefitted from a Christian camp this year. Camp is expensive and perhaps that might have been one reason why it was put on the back burner. Excuses?
In June we were pleased to be a part of the celebration of the wedding of Angelina Roberts and Brian Glaser. They are living in Philadelphia where Brian is in the U.S. Air Force and studying to be a doctor. Please pray for them in their new life together.
Hope Academy is off for the summer but it is not idle. Tutoring is happening in the afternoons Monday through Thursday. Please pray for the volunteer tutors that they would faithfully represent Christ to the students. Hope Academy expects to double its enrollment in the coming school year. This means more staff and added financial responsibility.
One reason why we prayed for seven years to have the school is that we had felt for a long time, if only we had more time with these kids. A day school is the best way to do that. It is also a meaningful way to help the poor without creating a dependency. There are different types of poverty. Disordered lifestyles and domestic upheaval will lead, in most cases, to economic poverty. We sing the children’s song, “they are weak but He is strong.” By God’s grace we want to see the weak become strong in the Lord
We are now in the position to receive gifts in stock or other securities. The proceeds for alternative giving will go towards Hope Academy unless you specify otherwise. Remember that Hope Academy is a ministry of The Bronx Household of Faith and ultimately it functions under its oversight. If you are interested in giving by means of these and other types of instruments, please let us know and we will put you in contact with our agent who will walk you through the process. We continue to thank the Lord for His provision.
By the time you receive this, Vacation Bible School will be in full swing. Even though we will use our building, we will continue to use the infamous backyard, the space that is now behind Eagle’s Nest and the Roberts’ household. It was thought that though we now have our own building the backyard, which has been the place of youth ministry for over three decades, would no longer be needed. But no! The children still want to use the backyard. So, we will use both spaces including the public school playground which by God’s providence, is next to our building and we have permission to use it. We continue to stand amazed at God’s providence, how He placed our property in a location where we have access to facilities nearby that can be used for ministry.
We continue to thank the Lord for you who have been so faithful in standing with us over the years.