I had to rub my eyes a few times to make sure I was reading this correctly. Alecia, of all students, was the one to put this on her Facebook page. Was I missing something? Did someone get into her account and type this for her? What caused this? What had changed in Alecia so much at club that she wanted to put this out for the entire world to see online?

I met Alecia early in the summer. I was spending some time with a few youth outside the PX foodcourt one evening. We had just finished up our Bible study and were chatting the night away playing pointless games to laugh at. “Can I come sit with you guys? The friends I am with are pretty boring,” came a voice from a few feet away. “Of course! Come on over!” we replied.

Alecia began to share, “My friends over there I was with are really boring, all we do is smoke weed and then sit around and stare at each other. It sounded like you were having a lot more fun.” We began to share our stories with her and get to know her some. One of the youth at the table asked if she had ever heard of Club Beyond. She scoffed and said, “Yes, but not quite the place for my group, didn’t you just hear what I told you about us?”

Despite hearing what she had said, I could tell Alecia was searching for something more outside of her group, but wasn’t sure how to get to it.

As the months progressed, I saw Alecia around the foodcourt consistently; being a homeschooler, that is where she spent a lot of her time. Although we never sat down and talked again, I was always able to get a “Hi” out of her whenever we made eye contact.

Second Club of the year begins, I am on the microphone trying to get a dance party started to kick off Club when I notice a new group of students in the room. I continue to “investigate” the group and notice that Alecia is in the middle of them leading the way. She had decided to come give Club a try, and bring her group of friends along with her!

One of our big games that night dealt with passing dollar bills around with the winner ending up with the money. I stop the game after about five minutes, and Alecia had won one of the dollars! Flash forward to our raffle a few minutes later, and once again Alecia is a winner… I was thinking this must just be her night!

The Club talk that night was based on Jesus being legit (real, honest). I talked through the passage of John sending his own disciples to ask Jesus if he is the Messiah they have been waiting for. Instead of giving a clear cut answer, Jesus decides to list the facts of the miracles going on around them and allowing them to decide for themselves. Jesus didn’t have to convince anyone, the evidence he showed them was legit.

Later that night I was looking at my Facebook and I noticed what Alecia had put on her wall. It shocked me. Why would a girl with a story like hers and with the friends she has, want to post something like that on the internet for anyone to see? Something during Club that night was taken to heart by Alecia, and she wanted to share it with the world.

Jesus sets a level playing field for all people. There is no human He is not willing to take in and heal no matter what their past. Jesus went to those who didn’t “deserve” Him according to everyone else, and that is where he spent His time. There was no person Jesus wouldn’t give his time to from past choices or experiences. At one point while Jesus was talking to a crowd, someone mentioned to him his mother and brothers were waiting and looking for him. Jesus calmly answered, these are my mothers and brothers and sisters, for they follow God.

We are implementing this same belief at Club. There is no youth, sixth through twelfth grade, that we will not take in on Wednesday nights. We could have easily written Alecia off and never mentioned Club to her, and she probably never would have come. To see what difference it made in her life just through one Club, even as small as a simple Facebook post, proves it is worth it.

Alecia is just one example of many great stories we have about students searching for something more while dealing with the struggles of growing up as an Army brat. Through deployments and consistent moves, these students are put under pressures that many are unprepared for. We like to provide a place where they can become a part of a new breed of youth going out to take on the world.

So stories similar to Alecia’s keep happening and we will continue to keep a level playing field for all the youth we contact.

Mahalo and Aloha!

Eric Wenzel

Eric first helped out with youth ministry the summer after he graduated high school with Kevin Schmidt and Damien Marts at Ft. Leavenworth, KS. Almost every summer since then has revolved around him either volunteering or interning with that Club Beyond. After his first internship he really felt God was calling him to work with youth. He changed his major to secondary education and now sees that God has called him to youth ministry. Eric has a dream to create a future for students to follow Christ and find an identity in the One who will always be where they are, regardless of all the moving.  Eric serves at Schofield, HI.

 

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