OceanSide church of Christ

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Victor M. Eskew


          It is hard to fathom that the summer is quickly drawing to a close.  It seems like only yesterday that the kids were being dismissed for summer break.  Tomorrow, however, marks the first day of school for most of our young people.

            The leadership at OceanSide is concerned for our young people.  They want them to remember their Creator in the days of their youth (Eccl. 12:1).  They want them to be examples “of the believers in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (I Tim. 4:12).  They want them to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Pet. 3:18).  They want them to be holy as God is holy (I Pet. 1:14-16).  They do not want them to love the world (I John 2:15-17), or, to conform to the world (Rom. 12:1-2).  They do want them to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30).  They want them to grow to be faithful servants who are willing to wash the feet of the disciples (John 13:4-17).  They want them to be able to lead the church when the present leadership is gone (II Tim. 2:2).  They want them to die as saints (Ps. 116:15), and to hear these words of the Lord as they stand before Him at the judgment:  “Well done, thou good and faithful servant:  thou has been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things:  enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” (Matt. 25:21, 23).

            With these desires in mind, the leadership at OceanSide wants the church to be of great assistance to parents as they seek to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Deut. 6:6-7; Prov. 22:6; Eph. 6:4).  Part of this assistance came in the form of a “Summer Youth Program.”  This program began with a bang and ended with the same.  In the remainder of this article, we want to review some of the highlights of this program.

            The Summer Youth Program began with our Vacation Bible School.  Brother Chris King spearheaded this aspect of the program.  The theme of our VBS was:  “Walking in Son Light.”  Each night, our young people were privileged to study about some of the prominent characters of the Bible.  Three Old Testament figures and two New Testament characters dominated the studies.  Abraham put God first.  Moses took God’s Word to heart.  Esther courageously saved her friends from the wicked Haman.  Peter kept his eyes upon the Son of God as he walked on the water.  Paul was a chosen vessel who faithfully served God unto death.  If our youth will follow these Bible “greats,” they, too, will be great in God’s service.

            Vacation Bible School had hardly ended when Summer Camp began.  Eight of our young people and three adults made the three hour trip to Georgia Bible Camp.  Our young people were involved in fun activities, fellowship with other youth, and daily Bible study.  The theme for the week was:  “Remember Your Creator.”  Again, the studies centered upon Bible characters.  Samuel, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednigo, David, and Jesus each served God faithfully in their youth.  They serve as examples of how to be consecrated, convicted, and courageous as followers of God.  They also show us “how” to make wise choices, especially in the midst of adverse circumstances.

            They Youth Program also involved the concept of service.  One hot summer day, our youth were involved in assisting others.  They began by cleaning the main portion of our church building.  Vacuuming, dusting, cleaning mirrors, scrubbing toilets, and mopping floors were some of the “fun” aspects of this chore.  After having lunch at Ci-Ci’s Pizza (supplied by Brett Horne), we went to the home of Addie Adams.  While there, the young people cleaned Miss Addie’s yard.  They also spent some time visiting this good Christian woman.  It was a miserably hot day, but the young people did well.  This writer wishes that someone had taken a picture of Jacob Peters pushing that lawnmower.

            Outreach was another key element of our Summer Program.  We wanted to reach out to the youth in our community in some way.  We wanted them to interact with people from the OceanSide church of Christ.  This was done by scheduling two events, a Day Camp and a Youth Day.  The Day Camp was a two-day affair.  A total of twenty-eight children participated.  Twenty-one of these children were from the community.  Each day we sang, played sports, studied the Bible, ate pizza, fired rockets, worked on crafts, and participated in water activities.  It was a delight to see these young people interacting with our members, both young and old alike.  We believe this event was a relationship builder for the church.

            Another outreach involved our Youth Day.  This was our concluding event.  Our theme was:  “Who’s Got Your Heart?”  Three speakers and one teacher for the girls were brought to OceanSide.  About ninety people attended.  At least six area churches supported this effort.  The day was a great success.  From beginning to end, the members at OceanSide performed harmoniously to create a positive atmosphere for all.  Sister Cherry King is to be especially commended for her hard work in decorating and kitchen organization.

            In addition to the elements of Bible study, service, and outreach, there was also an element of fun involved.  One Friday evening, over twenty of us attended a Suns baseball game.  On a Saturday night, a group went to the home of Brett and Teresa Horne for a Luau.  The kids and the adults who attended these events had a great time.  These events prove that people can get together and have fun without being involved in sinful pursuits.

            What a summer!  We are thankful to the leadership for allowing us to have these activities.  We are grateful to Brett Horne for volunteering his time in leading our youth.  We appreciate parents such as Chris and Cherry King, Renee Crosby, Susan Peters, and Kevin and Marilyn Walker for assisting in any way possible in order to make the program successful.  Too, we are grateful to every member who played a part in making this summer a summer filled with memories for our kids.  Your time, your food, your presence, your money, your prayers, and your encouragement were desperately needed.  No single person can make a program great.  It takes the talents of many to do wonderful things.  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  We close with this simple thought:  WHAT A SUMMER!!!