Our team was with Pastor Matt Booher and his Youth Pastor Justin Carpenter two years ago. Our previous meeting was not without its spiritual battles, but this year was on a new level.
Several days before we arrived, I was notified that the church had received permission from the school district to print flyers which they would distribute to the students at 6 public schools. The church was rightly very excited about this. Our team spent the first morning delivering the bundles of over 6,000 printed flyers.
As we recruited, however, we faced significant recruiting challenges. One of the challenges was that the church was not permitted to deliver flyers to the nearest school, and to be ethical we limited our approach greatly there. But the problem was that this was our closest school and our best opportunity for reaching teens who would come to the event. We were having difficulty finding teens otherwise.
We prayed that God would give us an open door at this school, and he certainly did! The guys approached the ROTC leader, who gave them three different classes of cadets. Not only were they allowed to recruit them, he also gave them their PE time to whet their appetite for the competitions!
On the first night, approximately 10 young men came from this ROTC group. They threw themselves into the competition wholeheartedly, but when the preaching came, they began to resist. Though a few raised their hand admitting their need, none of them responded. Two young ladies did, however, respond and trust Christ.
On the second night, we had a similarly sized crowd. The ROTC boys were back, as well as a few new faces. Yet, right before the preaching almost 10 people left. Though they made excuses, it was obvious to all that God was working in their hearts, but that they didn’t want to be “uncomfortable.” This was a significant disruption and the sad thing is, most of those young people needed to trust Christ. On an exciting note, two young men responded to the invitation and were very clearly saved! I overheard one of them as they prayed to receive Christ say,
God, I would really appreciate it if you would accept me accepting you to save me.
Leading into the final night, we were tempted to get discouraged. Pastor Justin had been praying for 40 teens to attend the final night, but we had no human reason to expect it. Moments before we were set to begin, two teenage law enforcement cadets from the training center across the street came to ask what they needed to do. They were bringing their entire group over for the whole night! We ended with just over 40 in attendance! By the end of the night, two more trusted Christ!
Though we faced a battle all week long, we praise the Lord for the six young people who trusted Christ!