Summer Ministry Report 2022 - part 1
Rejoice with Us: Ministry in the Paterson Day Camps
Submitted by Linda Parzek
“Jesus, i want to follow you i want to be a good kid and i want to change. Please make it happen. Amen“ That was the written prayer request of a 4th-grade boy this summer.
“Turned Around” was our 5-Day Club theme. When one of the teachers asked the children what their parents do when they’re driving and then realize they are going in the wrong direction, one little girl shouted out, “Take a shortcut!” Cute…but not the right answer! The week focused on our need to look to God to “turn around” from going our own way to His way.
There were fun times of sharing like that as our 4 teams of 30 volunteers from 11 churches spent the week together bringing the precious Word of God to 245 children in Paterson. We started the week on Sunday evening with more than half the volunteers gathering to pray over the city of Paterson at the Overlook at Garret Mountain Reservation.
There was also:
…A deep joy in leading so many children to meet Jesus as their Savior for the first time. One of the 39 included a 7-year-old girl who faced death twice and asked questions about heaven and what happens when you die. She shared that she witnessed her grandparents being gunned down and murdered. The same girl was recently in a car accident where one person died. We are rejoicing that she met Jesus as her Savior through a 5-Day Club.
…A bunch of hungry souls – When one of our volunteers asked a young girl in a club why she separated herself from the rest of the group, the girl replied that the other kids would be talking and pushing, and she wanted to make sure she could hear and focus. Praise God! Every club had a core group that was just as eager to listen.
Eight-year-old R____ decided to summarize the Bible lesson for the class. He stood in the middle of the room and said, “Let me get this…Jesus was born as a baby, grew up to be a man, He died, and He…ROSE AGAIN? YES!” He got it!
…A ministry to several camp counselors: Ana had a great conversation with an 18-year-old camp counselor who was raped at age 13 and now has a 5-year-old daughter who was in the club. The father is in jail. Ana spoke with her about her need to have the Lord as she raises this little girl and goes after her goal of being a teacher. Ana shared the gospel verses, encouraging her to seek the Lord and His help.
…A ministry to parents: Spanish-speaking Ana made an excellent connection with one of the mothers whose children were in the club. She speaks no English, just came to the USA a month ago, and is looking for a church. Ana told her about the Spanish-speaking church close to where the woman lives. Phone calls were made, and relationships were established!
…A connection made with other churches – One of the camp counselors was answering many of the questions for the kids. Linda noted that he must go to church and asked where he attends. She told him we want to develop partnerships with good churches to reach out to their communities. He said his Grandmother is the church’s pastor, and as he was punching in some numbers on his phone, he said, “She is very interested in this kind of thing--you want to talk to her?... Here!” And he handed Linda the phone. This has to go on record as the fastest connection made with a pastor ever! And indeed, she was interested!
…A ministry to us! Here are some examples of being unable to out-give God: Debbie counseled three girls. These cousins are believers, and when they found out that Debbie has a step-daughter that she wished believed the way they do, they took the initiative to pray for her there on the spot.
Stephanie spoke with 8-year-old R___ during counseling time. He wanted to pray for our group. He prayed that the Holy Spirit would fill us and be with us as we go and witness to other kids and help other kids this week. This young boy was concerned for the salvation of other kids and for us. Amazing.
…Such joy in answered prayer – Besides the nearly perfect weather we asked for, and being able to have seven full 5-Day Clubs (plus one 2-day, one 3-day, and one 4- day club), and excellent health for all the workers, we were amazed by some specific answers to prayer.
On the first day of one of the clubs, we were led to a beautiful gym but found out that another gentleman was there with his stereo and large speakers, scheduled to teach dance class in the other half of the gym with no sound barrier between us. We stepped outside and prayed, asking our God to do what we could not even imagine. Lo and behold, no one came to the dance class until we finished the Bible lesson. Even the counseling was nearly over when the dance music filled the gym. Our God is awesome!
At the end of a club one day, the children returned to their normal activities as the team packed up. As the group began leaving, they made a spur-of-the-moment decision to turn on the powerful gospel-centered music the children had been learning. The children stopped what they were doing and started singing the song by themselves. May they remember and continue to sing the words of life forever!