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Super Youth Summer by Denise Davidson

House of Faith-Abilene exists to takes Jesus to neighborhood children, youth and families, provide them a sense of belonging, and strengthen their faith, enabling them to honor God with their lives and offer themselves in service to Him.

This summer we wanted to make sure that the Xodus youth experience exactly what we know God’s mission for House of Faith is all about.   So we were excited about what God was going to do with and through the Xodus youth.

They started the summer with a lock-in held at Southside Baptist Church. If you’re a youth you can’t wait for a lock-in. If you’re an adult you run away as fast as you can before the youth pastor gets ahold of you to volunteer.   But it truly was a blast and the next morning they were already asking when the next one would be.   The greatest moment was the 4am Bible Bingo. They actually looked up verses in the bible and chose a word to add to their bingo cards before playing the game.   A great time of fellowship giving them that sense of belonging and helping to strengthen their faith.

They spent the next four weeks doing different service projects.   They visited a community garden and learned how it can honor God and help the neighboring 2013 June Xodus Community Gardencommunity all at the same time.   Then they put their hands and feet to work. Some harvested crops, some helped with the honey bees, while others stacked wood and helped clean up.   As we left, one Xodus youth thought it would be great to have something like that in his neighborhood.   Another week they went to the skate park and passed out hot dogs and tracks. Other things included helping a senior lady who was recovering from surgery get some yard work done, and went to a laundry mat offering to help carry in the dirty laundry and pay for their wash that day. But all in all, they were learning what it means to be the least of these, to put others before themselves, honoring God with their lives and offer themselves in service to Him.

Their favorite summer event, of course is youth camp. The time they are able to get away from it all for an entire week and indulge in swimming, sports, ropes course events, crazy and even more crazy games and a party each night while having an amazing time of worship and preaching each evening. But in all this they were surrounded for 24 hours a day by people who love God and just poured into them.   1 Peter 2:9-10 tells us ‘But God chose you to be his people. You are royal priests. You are a holy nation. You are a people who belong to God. All of this is so that you can sing his praises. He brought you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people. But now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy. But now you have received mercy.’

By the end of the week, the youth truly knew that they are a part of a royal family.   One night, the sanctuary was filled with deep sobs from so many youth who were pouring out their hearts to our heavenly Father asking him to forgive those that had hurt them.   You and I both know what a joy it is to finally receive forgiveness from Our Heavenly Father but we still hold on to past hurts, not truly allowing God to take hold of them. That night, these youth were given the opportunity to release these hurts into the hands of their Father and to forgive the debtor as Jesus forgave them.   You could truly feel the Holy Spirit moving and healing hearts all throughout the room.   Oh the joy that followed. What a priceless moment. A moment that we wish so many of you could experience firsthand right alongside us. A moment where you could experience all your prayerful and financial support is truly worth more than rubies.

We love the honesty of the youth, as one even shared with us how he has someone in his life that he can’t forgive right now. But now he knows he needs to and is beginning to make the steps toward that moment and House of Faith will walk with him every step of the way.

Jesus forgives you and I and welcomes us into his Royal Family with open arms. He does this also for the ones who have hurt us.   I pray that we can all be as bold as these youth were that night and forgive those that have hurt us and begin praying for them in a whole new way.

What a Super Youth Summer.

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