Friday, June 7, 2013

This is what happens when you invest in children...so join the movement!

Last month, 130 children had a fantastic time of games, fun, crafts, dance, and song—all while learning about God’s goodness and how to live a victorious Christian life.  CCF-Cagayan de Oro, the church I go to, and its NxtGen children’s ministry, held yet another successful DVBS, this time it was called Studio GO!  

One hundred and thirty kids!!
The DVBS is usually NxtGen’s biggest event of the year, and while I wasn’t in the thick of the event this time around, I did see a little bit of what went on and let’s just say that I was very pleased.  In fact, it is a testament to what happens when you invest in children, which is the theme of this blog entry.

Praise God for that awesome week.  This blog entry serves as a big THANK YOU and congrats on a job well done.  It also serves as a word of encouragement to those readers who, in their own ways and in their own organizations, volunteer to serve children and youth.  Your efforts go a long, long way.  Now here we go.

It’s super rewarding to invest in children; and it’s such a big, big, MUST for churches to do so.  Of course, I’ve always known this, but it was so evident to me during Studio GO!

The vast majority of the volunteers were teenagers, and I mean young teenagers on the lower end of the teen scale.  What’s so awesome to me is that many of these young’uns were DVBS participants when they were little.  Now, I get a bit teary eyed that they consider it an absolute joy to give back by volunteering, blessing the next generation of kids the same way they were blessed many years ago.  

As an example, here’s a picture of my daughter, Lynn, and a longtime friend of hers, Anya, during a DVBS many, many years ago...followed by a pic of the DVBS of this year.


Here, in TRADING PLACES, they were recipients of great love and care given by the volunteers...  

...now, in STUDIO GO!, they gave back and became volunteers, themselves.

My 2nd daughter, Mesoo was very young during that same DVBS.  This time around, she was a volunteer as well (sorry, no picture of the latter, but she sure did her share of work).  I thought she’d be too young to do so, but I found out that she, at 11, wasn’t even the youngest volunteer (there were at least two younger ones).

Mesoo as a short-haired preschooler in TRADING PLACES

And boy did these teens deliver.  The kids looked like they had a blast.  Hundreds of pictures were taken, and here are just some of the pics of the Studio GO festivities.

Kids love action activities.  That's how they remember!

CUPCAKES!!!!  Oh, and Mesoo and a friend taking a well-deserved breather at the back.

Preschoolers dancing: such a joy to watch!

Another teen volunteer entertaining a preschool child

Always end with small groups!

Yikes!  A running mummy!!

Ah, I think this is about the story of Gideon

My son, Happy, turning up the intensity.  He even eliminated his own sister in one of the games; that boy.

This, I'm sure, is about Queen Esther
Father and son, serving in ministry!

These guys are...um...uh...I dunno.  

Now back to the teenagers.

These young teens, former DVBS attendees and who grew up in Kids’ Church/Children’s Ministry, are among the most fervent followers of Jesus I’ve ever seen.  Hearing from the grapevine, and being a school teacher of some of them, I can vouch that they’re truly different from their peers.

ALL-IN youth camp
It’s not just avoiding vices, cussing, and other bad stuff; nor is it just about doing things excellently (although all these are a big part of it); it’s also about being passionate about Jesus,
Lynn and three of her closest friends leading worship
being an excited 
part of His youth movement, and letting others know about both.  These teens do that in their schools and some of them have even influenced their own parents towards Christ.


It brings me to the Bible verses that I thought about when Lynn turned 13:

“That you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”  (Philippians 2:15)

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”  (1 Timothy 4:12)

One adult said this: “If all Filipino kids get what these kids are getting, we’d have a different country.”  Yeah, agreed.

No longer kids, they are now members of a youth ministry lead by a great team of young adults dedicated to disciple them.  They were called JZone, but the movement has recently changed its name to ELEVATE.

Be part of the movement, indeed


And starting this Saturday, ELEVATE will have their first teen-enriching series under their new name.  It’s funny, because it’s called the GO!  series…although I don’t know if that’s related to the DVBS version.


If you want your teenagers to grow into wonderful men and women, then ELEVATE is the group to plug them into.

A barkada with a very weird name.

This is Nikki, the wonderful young woman who disciples my daughter.
UNITE rally

ELEVATE members sing even on regular Sundays

These guys horse around...A LOT

Four lovely young ladies
Proud teacher alert:  the two gentlemen in the middle are my students.  
The VERY girly photo booth of the True Love Waits event

Two great couples (and very dear friends) giving wisdom about love at the right time in True Love Waits

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