9 different sitEs Across 15 cities in orange county and CHARLOTTE, NC.
Across all Costa Mesa sites, including Newport Beach, Tustin, and Irvine, close to 200 kids were in attendance. There were many moments when it was apparent that God worked through the hearts of the children and volunteers. In addition to learning about Jesus and his love, the kids got to play games with their teams, make creative masterpieces, show up with crazy hair styles, and go crazy with slippery slides on water day!
"At our Irvine site, a couple of 7th grade boys had been registered to take part in the Best Week Ever. Right away, it was clear that they were a little too old for the curriculum. On Monday, they seemed indifferent, but as the week progressed and they had more conversations with their leaders, they began to ask a lot of questions about who Jesus is and started to display a real knowledge of his love and grace. Kevin Zimmerman, the site leader at Irvine, said, “Even though this week wasn’t really designed for them, it was cool to see these boys still come see how God was using this week to draw them close to Him.”
There’s a mother and her two boys who have been attending RH for a little while now who live at the OC Rescue Mission. Obviously, times are tough for them, but this mother is so faithful to the Lord. She wants to show her boys the love of Jesus and even paid to have them registered for the BWE. The boys had a blast at the site and really showed some significant growth over the course of the week. On the last day, their site had the opportunity to pray over them and bless them. It was a really powerful moment to see our Church come together for this family.
At our College Park site in Costa Mesa, there was a kid named Dylan who was invited by his teacher, who also happened to be a volunteer at the site. Dylan is a really sweet kid who comes from a rough home. Sadly, his dad died of a drug overdose a few years ago. On Thursday, when the Gospel was shared and we taught the kids about Jesus, you could see a light in Dylan’s eyes. He had never heard the Big God story before.
One of the really cool things that we’ve seen happen year after year, is how excited the kids are to invite their friends after experiencing the first day. Usually on Day Two, attendance jumps because kids are eager to invite their friends or neighbors. At one of our sites, there were some girls who asked their neighbor to come and their site leader recalled them running up to her in the middle of the week shouting, “Charlotte did it! She prayed the prayer! She accepted Jesus into her heart!” to which Charlotte responded, “I did! And I did it all by myself!”
There were approximately 115 kids at the ROCKHARBOR Mission Viejo site. It was the biggest site across all cities! One staff member said that this was the best one yet over the course of all the years because it was so good for all the volunteers to be together in one location, Del Cerro Elementary.
"One little boy made sure to come up to me to say goodbye and to make sure that I told his leader that he said bye because she had already left. He said it as if his leader was so important to him!"
There was a little boy who said he never knew about or felt that God loved him, but now he wanted to. The next day, we were told 7 of God's promises, and the little boy lit up when he heard that God always loves us. - Jules
"There is a family of 7 that lives in an RV in Richman Park. They have four little girls and a little boy. Last year, three of the girls showed up to VBS for a few days, but were not there on the day that the Gospel was shared. This year, on the day that the Gospel was to be shared, Mary and I asked everyone to go pray in their groups over the kids before they arrived. All week this year I had been looking for that same family and to my surprise, right as I was done praying, I looked up and saw the girls riding through the park on their bikes. I grabbed Kate and ran over to see if we could meet their parents and have them come over to the program. The two youngest girls came and heard the Gospel that day! One of the girls even came back the day after."
"Our group was able to have a discussion on prayer. One kid asked what it means to pray for someone, and other kids and leaders were able to share about who or what they prayed for and how God answered."
"Although our time together is a small part of their journey with God, it is a privilege to be part of that discussion, and as Berenice prayed, God will do the growing."
"This year, we had a student at the Best Week Ever named Eli. He was brought by his cousin along with his other siblings. Eli each day had highs and lows. On the day I interacted with him, Friday, he was having a particularly rough day. I caught him poking kids with a sharpened stick. I pulled him aside to see what was going on. When we sat down he put his head in between his knees and was plugging his ears. I just sat beside him and waited while asking "What is going on?" After a few minutes, he said that he was "just having a hard time". I asked him why and he replied, "because my mom is in jail and my dad keeps getting fired and now I have to live with my aunt and go to another new school." I spoke to him for a while assuring him that what he was going through was some tough stuff. I then asked him what he wants to be when he grows up and he said a police officer, which I thought was cool, considering his current family dynamic. I told him that he can be anything; that he has the power to change is future for the better and I got to pray with him which was so so special! He said he believed in God and so I reminded him of all God's promises to him.
For more stories, visit the ROCKHARBOR Stories website.