This past week was our team’s “homecoming” week to reach out in conjunction with our home church, Falls Baptist Church. David Rains, the youth leader, and his wife, Summer, are not only excellent youth leaders, they are former team members and good friends. Much prayer preceded the week and a whole lot of work. Though our week had its definite challenges, it was a week of much fruit!
We arrived in Menomonee Falls from Michigan at noon and immediately hit the ground running. By 3pm our team was out recruiting in the community. We only had through Monday to invite teens from the community, so we had to get started immediately!
We had to make this adjustment because our nights had to be Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday because of Vacation Bible School. As an important aside, Vacation Bible School at Falls Baptist Church is a big deal. If you’ve ever been to one, you know how big a deal it is. It is not uncommon to have over 1,000 people on our property during a day at VBS. Many members of the church take the week off of work and it is not uncommon to see hundreds of young people saved.
In addition to my Cola Clash responsibilities, I also preached for the 5th and 6th grade program each day, which normally ran over 100 young people. This time was an exciting time of fun and fruit—we saw over 40 young people trust Christ as their Savior (among many other decisions) during this part of the week!
When Tuesday rolled around, our team had invited over 400 teens to come to the Cola Clash and we were excited (and tired). On the first night, God blessed our attendance and we had 110 people competing on the field and listening to the preaching! That night, there were some exciting testimonies—
Allie talked to a young man named Andrew (or Ozzie, as he called himself) at a park while out recruiting. His friend were rough enough that a young lady from the church was quite intimidated by them. Though his friends did not attend, Andrew did. He was plugged in during the competitions and was glued to me during the preaching. At the invitation time, he was one of the first ones to respond. He talked to one of our teens, Taylor, but when he sat down with Taylor, he told him that he didn’t really need to talk to him—he already knew what he needed to do! His testimony was rock-solid and he was visibly grateful and excited about his new relationship with Jesus! Taylor was excited to see his readiness as well.
Though I wasn’t personally a part of the girls’ counseling, I know that my wife shared that she has never seen so many rock solid decisions. All of them understood the gospel with crystal clarity and confidently trusted Christ for salvation!
As we approached the final night, a battle was about to explode in the heavenlies. Our church has positioned itself on our knees and God has been greatly blessing. However, the enemy will not give up his territory so easily. As the night progressed, it was evident that the battle was raging. First, one of our team members had an immense charlie horse right before the competitions—he could barely walk. One of our other team members twisted her ankle and was carried off of the field. Another team member gashed his shin on the stage inside. We had to evacuate the field 30 minutes early because of an unexpected electrical storm. The pizza order had been missed at the pizza parlor and it was late arriving (and we were early coming inside for it). All of these things (and more) were more than coincidences. They lead us to believe that we were hot on Satan’s trail and that he wasn’t happy about the meeting. But we were on the victory side!
On the final night, a young man named Joe attended because of his friend’s invitation. Joe sat through the preaching but remained unmoved at the invitation. We had already experienced much spiritual warfare that night, but Brendan was determined for Joe to come through for Christ. He explained the gospel to him again afterwards and he could tell God was working. Joe, however, refused to trust Christ, promising to do it on the way home. His friend, who had also trusted Christ during the week, challenged him, “Man, what if we died on the way home?!” Many times, we have seen that to put off the decision is in effect to refuse the decision. Joe left the building without Christ and were left somewhat discouraged about it. However, on Friday during our drive out to Maryland, Joseph got a text from Joe’s friend’s mother. She said, “Deland’s friend Joe accepted Christ after he left last night. We wanted to share that news!!! God is good!”
Several of our teens were able to talk to and lead other teens to Christ and several discipleship Bible studies were scheduled! It was exciting for us to see their zeal and skill in handling the gospel and their passion for discipleship!
Overall, we had 134 teens attend and 15 trusted Christ during the Cola Clash itself! Praise the Lord for victory in the battle!