Helping children “make Christ the target of their lives” is the focus of a new ministry at the Waipio Grace Brethren Church in Mililani, Hawaii. Centershot is a program that teaches archery skills to children and is slated to start this month at the church. The eight week classes begin March 30 and they have already maxed out for the Spring session. Each week, the kids will meet for 90 minutes including 30-minute blocks of warm-up shooting, Bible study and a new archery skill, and shooting with new skill applied. “Thirty-four leaders were trained, so that we can possibly run multiple groups during the Fall Session,” says Pastor Frank Figueroa.
Here’s more of the story from the church’s Facebook page, shared by Pastor Frank:
As many of you know, April and I have been involved with archery for a number of years now. It has been a great recreational hobby and even allowed us to put food on the table. As we practice outside of the church parsonage in which we live, we have noticed many of the neighborhood children watching us, and some even got up the courage to ask if they can give it a try, only to be told that the bows we have would not work for them due to sizing and strength issues. It was at this point a couple of years back that we started to pray for the ability to make an archery program that was accessible to the children in our community. This was the beginning os something amazing that God is doing.
Due to the “separation of church and state”, as a church we could get no state help with funding. (If we were a school, the $8,000 startup fee would be paid for in it’s entirety by the state) . . . But this was not God’s plan. Therefore I started to write letters to bow manufactures to see if there was any insight and help that they could offer and April and I were going to try to fund the rest, but it would take a while to accumulate the funds. With the economy being as tight as it is, the responses were nonexistent until about 3 months ago. A friend of ours told a fishing buddy, who also happens to be a archer, about the situation we were in. Within a couple of weeks of that conversation I had 12 brand new Mathews Genesis bows designed for children delivered to my doorstep! (about $2,200)
Within a week from receiving the bows, I received a phone call from a ministry called Centershot who I had sent an email to earlier. Two pastors head up this ministry based out of Minnesota, and who are under the umbrella of Mathews Inc., and their desire is to teach kids to “Make Christ The Target Of Our Lives” by means of using archery. Since April and I were going to Minnesota to visit with family, we met with one of the pastor’s and his wife and they told us they would like to bless us by donating some of the equipment, and all of the curriculum, and were going to come down and run a training course for those in the church who were going to be the Centershot instructors! This training will happen in February of 2015 and it is our desire to start the Centershot program immediately after Spring Break 2015 . . . And our desire is to offer it for FREE!
Because of this time table, raising the funds to purchase the last of the necessary things becomes a little difficult. Therefore, I am asking all who read this to please pray that God may provide all that is necessary to hit our goal. There are some small things we need to purchase or build including arrow holders, bow holders, and other miscellaneous items. We will also need to purchase materials (hay and lumber) to build targets as it is way more cost effective to build it here than to buy it and ship it. We also have to cover travel expenses for our trainer as he is donating his time and supplies. We would love to be able to give the kids who participate a t-shirt, and stickers etc., so that they can share what is going on with their friends. In short, we are seeking God’s help in making this happen and would love for you to partner in prayer with us. Our church may be small, but our God is not and we are excited to see what will happen!
A GoFundMe page has been established to raise the additional funds needed. Since it was first set up three months ago, all but $125 has been raised toward additional supplies, materials for targets, travel expenses for the trainer, and other miscellaneous items.