By Stephanie Ziebarth, Barnabas Mentor Coordinator
Tonight Anna, Claire (our exchange student) and I headed up to Joy El to slip into the back of the worship center for the Father-Son Retreat’s evening chapel session (the rest of the family is already there for the weekend). Tom Harmon, one of our favorite preachers (due not only to his preaching, but also his character and friendship), is preaching this weekend, and we wanted to participate in at least one session.
Well, we picked the right one: the Gospel.
Tom preached the Gospel tonight, and he gave an invitation at the end. It was a very public invitation. No one was to close their eyes. Tom was simply to step down among the rows and anyone who sensed God nudging him to respond to the Gospel was to step forward and join hands with him and whoever else was responding.
When Tom opened the invitation, no one moved. There was such a lack of response that I felt my heart ache. I ramped up the prayers, battling in prayer (more on that later). Then one teenaged boy stepped forward. This precious young man was someone I knew–a friend of my son’s. Being the only one to step forward for something like this would not be a natural thing for him to do. I was moved. That would have been enough. That would have been worth everything that went into this weekend.
But then the ice was broken. More started coming. After a few minutes, 14 men and boys stood hand-in-hand in a line with Tom at the front of the worship center.
Tom said, “Last call,” and one final boy darted forward and grabbed the hand of the little boy on the end. He wasn’t going to miss salvation.
Some among those 15 might have been dads simply accompanying their sons. Some of the dads were definitely there for themselves. Regardless, it was awesome.
Please pray for these men of all ages to be rooted and grounded in their newfound Savior.
PS Thank you so much for being involved in this ministry. Keep praying. Next weekend literally every bed on camp will be filled with junior and senior highers. May God continue to unleash His power among us.
PPS After the session, I went over to the kitchen to share about the chapel service with the wonderful teens working hard into the night. One with whom I shared was Rachel, one of our stronger leaders. I said, “I wanted you to share the good news, so you know what you all played a part in through your service.” She assured me she would spread the word. Before I even left the room, she made the announcement. The kitchen broke out in cheers. I love serving these students.
“Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).
As you all know, when one serves on the front-lines of ministry, we feel the attacks of the evil one, sometimes in very obvious ways. It was so amazing to see God’s power so clearly revealed as these fifteen boys and fathers moved from death to life. Thank you for your prayers and participation. I am grateful for you.