For the first time in many years, the Florida Grace Brethren churches banded together to hold a district youth event. Last week, more than 60 young people and staff gathered on the campus of Iglesia Comunal La Esperanza in Valrico, Fla., for two days of camping, teaching, worship, and fellowship. Rich Schneiders, pastor of the Friendship Grace Brethren Church in Fort Myers, Fla., sent along this report:
A few months ago Pastor Javier Forero of Iglesia Comunal La Esperanza in Valrico, Fla., requested some assistance from other members of the Florida District Ministerium to put together a youth event for the youth of the district. Pastor Matt Niemier, development pastor at Friendship Grace Brethren Church in Fort Myers, was new to the district. He wanted to get involved, so volunteered. Pastor Javier quickly turned over the oversight of the program to Pastor Matt who ran full speed with it. Pastor Matt solicited assistance from pastors and youth leaders around the district. The result was a fantastic two days of activity, teaching, and worship for more than 60 district youth, including youth from our Haitian, Hispanic, and Anglo churches.
Arriving at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 23, youth and leaders from all over the district set up tents and made sleeping arrangements on the campus of Iglesia Comunal La Esperanza in Valrico, Fla. By Noon they were ready to enjoy a time of worship and celebration. The Mispa Missionary Community Church in Miami FL, one of our Haitian congregations provided the food and the cooks for the event, and everyone ate very well. The district youth heard the gospel presented by several district men and then spent time in small groups with adult leaders. They also spent time in activities and games including kickball on large slip and slides.
Pastor Matt, who has been elected by the District Ministerium to the position of District Youth Committee Chairman, has said this is the first event of many in the future. The committee is even looking into the possibility of next summer holding a week long camp program along with the weekend activities now in the planning stages. The name of the Florida District Youth Program is Word Up, focusing on the Word of God and lifting it up at our guide for life and practice. Each youth received a free T-shirt with the Word Up logo on it.
It is a tremendous answer to prayer and blessing to see youth activities again occurring in Florida. God has blessed the Florida District with some energetic leaders and a great group of youth who desire to be involved together. God is good! All the Time!