One of the programs run in our Kingston-Galloway location is called, Junior Extreme (JX). JX is a program where boys and girls in grade 7-8 partake in devotions, readings and reflections, or bible study, along with activities such as board games, cooking, or cool (messy) crafts!
Many of our participants have attended a church ever since they were young, but others have never gone. With new participants joining us this new year, it has been very exciting to hear their comments and reactions to the Christian faith.
A small example of one of their reactions was when one of the leaders gathered everyone together at the end of programs to pray, and one of the boys said, “pray?” In his response to this invitation to prayer, we could tell that he didn’t expect or wasn’t used to prayer.
In the beginning of this new year, we started to go through a devotional book titled, “Teen to Teen 365 Daily Devotions by Teen Guys for Teen Guys” by Patti M. Hummel.
The Outreach Worker leading the devotion that night, chose to share one on the topic of gossip. As one of the older youths began to read the devotional to us, he read Proverbs 17:9 “whoever conceals an offence promotes love, but whoever gossips about it separates friends” and of how gossiping does not build anyone up.
He then came to the part that read “The rapist or murderer has the same chance to get into heaven as you do.” Immediately, some of the boys burst into laughter and others gasped. “What! What?” one said, as he jumped from his chair. “No, wait! Is that true?” a boy asked, turning to the leaders. “Nawww, man. Noo waaaaay! There’s no way, man!” another one replied, slowly shaking his head. Just as many have been deceived into believing, they understood that only “good” people went into Heaven, and that “good” would be defined just as the world defines it – avoiding “bad” things such as stealing, murdering, and anything else that would send you to jail.
After the boy’s reactions and comments died down, Steph (our other Outreach Worker) and I smiled at each other. These are the perfect opportunities to remind them of how great our Fathers love is for us. Steph and I shared with the youth how we ourselves even find it hard to believe that God would forgive our sins – that we all are not perfect, and that no sin is greater than another in the eyes of God. Not because of what we have done or anything we could ever do, but because God is who He is. His love for us is steadfast, constant, never-changing! (Numbers 14:18) With the confession of our sins (1 John 1:9) and true repentance of them, there will always be that hope because of what Christ has done for us. What a precious treasure the Lord has given to His people to keep and to share with others – the hope of Christ.
Romans 5:8 says that “…God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the faith we joyfully share with the children and families who join our programs. Glory to God for the work he is faithfully doing through Toronto City Mission and throughout our city.
Please keep us in your prayers! Please pray for the new children who have joined our programs and for those who are starting to become more interested in having a relationship with Jesus. We are also looking for male volunteers working with our youth boys or after school programs. If you’re interested or know anyone who would be, please contact us for more information. Thank you all for your support and prayers. May God’s grace, love, joy, and peace continue to be with you all!