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Hillsboro Youth Update

I normally use this time to lead ideas into the sermon and ponder on things that I am challenged with before I present a message, but at this moment, I just wanted to share more into the vision of the youth for the rest of this year. This year has brought a ton of success for our youth, spiritually, socially, and emotionally. God has placed in my hands a lot of youth that suffer from social anxiety. Almost all of the kids struggle from mild to severe social anxiety. Social anxiety is not just shyness. There is an overwhelming amount of despair and unease that sometimes can lead to anxiety attacks. I have had many conversations and have provided plenty of opportunities in our youth group to be able to express what is going on and provide coping mechanisms to deal with these emotions. With some practical strategies and Godly, Christ-like focus, we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to participation outside of youth group.

It has been a joy watching these youth blossom into more confident young men and women. With the growth of the youth I am branching them off into more roles of the church. Over the next few months I will be making a push to have them lead out in church services, helping out in potlucks, and being a part of some of the events at church. I wanted to give them time to grow over some of the inner workings of feeling socially awkward and anxious, and I think they are ready. Half of my youth group don’t currently attend our church. Some go to Sunday churches and others go to other Seventh-Day Adventist churches, and some have a hard time coming to church on Sabbath for personal reasons. So, the challenge of all 15 youth transferring their attendance and participation to Sabbath worship has been challenging. We are setting up systems so that the church can have an opportunity to love on these youth. Youth participation in our church is a priority of mine and will happen. I ask wholeheartedly that when you see our youth at church that you are gentle and meek and allow them to come out of their shells. With prayer and love these youth will be not only participating at church on Sabbaths but be excited to be a part of something larger than themselves. The next coming months come with two big events: Firstly, we have the escape room. This has been an 8 month project in the making and we are proud of the product that we have created. The feedback has been outstanding and we are expecting your participation on some level to support our youth. We are having open hourly slots from this Friday September 2nd to September 18th. Only on Friday and Sundays. We are asking for $20 per head minimum donations. We have undercut all escape rooms with this pricing and we are confident that the product we have created deserves this amount. This is a fancy fundraiser to continue to grow our youth department into something westside has never seen. I can’t wait to see you go through this amazing experience. It will blow you away! Secondly, we are planning a black tie silent auction even in December. More details to come. But there will be great products and experiences to bid on and a fancy dinner served by our youth. We are raising money for the youth group, plans to come 2023. The plans for 2023 are being thought through now, and we are excited to share more news when the time is right. Thank you for all your support in all that you do for our youth. You will be seeing a lot more of them and the plans that God has for them. The growth I have seen in these youth has blown me away, and there is still more to come. Pray for Mike and I as we lead our youth into their next chapters.

Blessings. __________ Victor Reina

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