// Rhema's Varsity Youth Spread the Gospel
Winning the lost is important to Kenneth W. Hagin. He never likes to end a service without giving people an opportunity to accept Christ as Savior. That same love for the lost has been instilled in the hearts of Rhema Bible Church members of all ages.
That's why Denise Burns, the church's Student Ministries pastor, took a team of 19 teens and 11 Varsity Youth leaders to Bogotá, Colombia, over spring break in March.
"I wanted them to be able to share their faith, share their story," says Denise. "So many times here in America, they don't have the opportunity in their day-to-day lives to lead somebody to the Lord or pray for someone to be healed. I also wanted them to see what Rhema Bible Church is on an international level. Let them see how Rhema is larger than just the campus in Broken Arrow."
The trip was packed with ministry. Breakfast started promptly at 6:30 a.m. The team had a half-hour to eat before heading out, and they usually didn't get back until 10 p.m. and sometimes midnight. Then they were up early the next morning to start all over again. At the end of the trip everyone was exhausted but excited.
The teens had lots of opportunities to step out of their comfort zone. Sixteen-year-old Camilyn explains, "I felt nervous at first. . . . But once we got into it, the Holy Spirit was there. I don't want to say it was easy, but it wasn't really that hard. Once you got into it, it just started flowing."
The teenagers gave out all week, met lots of people, and enjoyed making new relationships. Reserved kids came out of their shells and were really outgoing. Although the language barrier made it hard for Colombian teens to share how they were impacted, their facial expressions and tears spoke volumes.
To visit as many places as possible, the youth split in two groups, with Denise taking one and Varsity Youth director Rob Post leading the other.
Sharing at Schools and Orphanages
On one outing Rob took a group including the youngest teens on the trip to a middle school. When they arrived, no one expected to see barred windows and policemen patrolling the hallways. They thought they were going to talk to sweet little 11-year-olds.
Through an interpreter, Colombian teachers told Rob and the teens, "Be strict with them. They're dealing drugs and many are engaged in sexual activity." One team leader talked to the Colombian students about sexual purity and the value of their bodies. Her words hit some young girls really hard. Bursting into tears, one middle-school girl just sobbed and sobbed.
On another occasion Denise took her teens to a boys home. The orphanage director asked the teenagers to talk to the 17- and 18-year-olds about having a future. He explained that when the boys turn 18, they're transitioning to leave the orphanage. They have no family and few job skills. To them, their future looks hopeless.
Varsity Youth stepped up to the plate and shared from Jeremiah 29:11 that God has a good plan for their lives. The young men quickly wiped away their tears. They tried to put on a good front, but clearly God was ministering to their hearts.
Relying on the Holy Spirit
Wherever they went, the Rhema teenagers learned to trust the Holy Spirit to help them minister. "When we were at the boys home," explains 16-year-old Greyson, "half the students didn't have anything planned to say, and it still worked out. A lot of the people got saved that day. It really amazed me how your willingness to flow with the Holy Spirit can be the determining factor in changing someone's life."
At a government-run school, the Rhema teens were told they couldn't talk about Jesus and the work of salvation. They were, however, allowed to perform skits dramatizing Christ's story. But when it was time to talk to the students, some Rhema youth weren't sure how to minister without mentioning Jesus.
Varsity Youth leaders
gave the young people topics to talk on, such as respect, bullying, and obeying parents. The teens relied on the Holy Spirit inside to give them words to say. Before arriving at the school, a young girl named Rhema had planned to share her testimony, which was all about Jesus. As she stood before the room filled with students, she thought, "I've got nothing. 'Holy Spirit, I need you!' " And the words began flowing out of her!
A Hunger to Serve
The Colombia trip stirred a hunger for Christian ministry in the hearts of several young people. Some had a hard time leaving Bogotá. They wanted to stay and continue ministering to the Colombian youth. Some realized they were called to missions.
The Sunday after the team returned to the States, a bunch of them found Denise in kids church. They felt compelled to keep giving out. So she sent them to the three- and four-year-old classrooms to volunteer. "The trip gave them an awareness that they don't need to be taking in all the time, but they need to be giving," says Denise. "And that was neat to see."
During the Colombia missions trip, the Rhema teens grew closer to the Lord but also to each other. They developed a bond among themselves different from that with their other friends. Seventeen-year-old Risen summed it up perfectly. "We went out of the country as a youth group. But when we came back, we were like a family."