2016 Review and Update on Cedar Point
A Year of Welcoming New Friends
Every day this summer it felt like we had a new family coming to the doors of the community center wanting to enroll their children in our Read and Swim program. This summer we had our largest exodus of families moving either to houses or other cities, which in return gave us our largest wave of new families. It was very difficult to say bye to many that we have walked with for years, yet it opened up the door to start the process over with a whole new group of people.
The community center is a place where we usually make initial contact with new families and can begin to build relationships and serve them right away. We had around 120 total students participate in the summer read and swim program, with around 70-80 of them coming on any given day.
The community center has continued to be a place where the kids love to come after school. They pour off the school bus and into our doors. What a great privilege to greet these kids everyday! We not only help them with homework and reading, but we hear about their day, talk through issues with them, and help them deal with conflict. This school year we have over 100 kids and teens coming to our homework help program each day.
Our preschool program has continued to be a sweet and rewarding way to serve the families at Cedar Point. This year we have twenty-two 3 and 4 year olds enrolled in our preschool program, with many that are on a waitlist! Starting in January we are expanding our preschool program to another day a week in order to have two separate classes for the 3 and 4 year olds. This way we will be able to accommodate all the preschool aged children at Cedar Point. We have continued to see fruit from this program as we walk with preschool graduates through their first years of school.
All of our programs in the community center provide great opportunities to serve the families and build relationships with the hopes of sharing the gospel with the students and their families. We have seen many kids and teens join Bible studies and participate in New Life Camp activities as a result of their involvement at Homework Help. Because of school related needs, we often find ourselves sitting in their homes doing home visits as well. These programs are the foundation of everything we do, and we are so thankful for all the volunteers that help make them possible!
We have enjoyed continuing to walk with young people through the Word of God each week in our Girls' Club, Girls' Bible Study, and Boys' Bible study. This fall we have finally seen things begin to click with the girls in Girls' Club as we have slowly walked through the Bible focusing on the King and His Kingdom using the book "King of Glory" by Paul Bramsen. Many of these girls joined us with no prior background of the Bible, so it has been fun to watch the Holy Spirit illuminate their understanding of the gospel. They have all received Bibles and love looking up verses as well as singing worship songs. We rejoice that one girl prayed to receive Christ this fall after being poured into from many different people. It has also been fun to see teen guys and girls from our Bible studies get more involved at New Life Camp as they continue to grow in their faith. We had two girls serve as Counselors in Training this summer. We praise the Lord for His work in the lives of these young people as they navigate living in this very dark world! Please continue to pray for salvation and spiritual growth for all those involved in our Bible studies!
Sticking with It
Solange came to the US with her family in the fall of 2015 as refugees from Burundi into Tanzania. Soon after arriving, she started coming to homework help. It was somewhat difficult for both of us because she spoke no English and would often buck up against authority with an attitude and a scrunched up face, sometimes even breaking down into tears when things didn't go her way. She would do a math sheet and work on her alphabet either on an iPad or with a tutor every day during last school year. This summer she began to read books, and we saw her hard shell start to crack. We took a risk and sent her to day camp at New Life Camp. Although we got some reports of conflict, Solange absolutely loved going to camp, and we continued to see a positive change taking place. She also participated in a backyard Bible club this past summer.
This year we see a lot more smiles than frowns and a confidence in what she is doing! She has continued to grow as a reader and even got the "Grit" character award at her school this fall. As we continue to walk daily with Solange, we hope to continue to expose her to the gospel through activities at New Life Camp and girls' club. Solange's story represents the stories of so many young people we work with, and we are so grateful for the opportunity to walk daily along side of them and help them not only be successful in society but hopefully meet the One who can ultimately bring lasting change to their lives both now and for eternity. We would love for you to come work with Solange or someone like her one afternoon a week! We promise you won't regret it!
We praise the Lord for all that has transpired this year at Cedar Point and in the lives of individuals that come to us from all over the world. Thank you for your prayers, financial support, and gifts of time that make it all possible! We cannot wait to see what He is going to do in 2017!