SUMC Youth Group News Letter

November 2012

Bowling with Ability Building Center

On October 18, 2012, the SUMC Youth Group and Zion Lutheran Youth participated in a community service project with Ability Building Center (ABC). The youth bowled with participants from three different programs from ABC. Ability Enterprises is a day treatment and habilitation program, Ability Options is a day recreation program for retired individuals with special needs, and Ability Unlimited is a day recreation and habilitation program for individuals recovering from traumatic brain injuries.

November Students and Adult Leader

Ethan Folkert "Testimony"

To be honest, I’m not the guy you want up here telling you how to live. I sin daily. I fall short of the glory of God… My life has fallen into Satan’s grasp many times and still does every now and then. How do I find a way to stay away? Man… it’s such a difficult subject, but let’s start from the beginning.

I was adopted into my family. My biological father bailed on my mom. My mother, well, she was 16 and her parents weren’t going to help her with me. She also wanted a good education and not something that would get in the way of that. It just so happened that my adopted family had been searching for a baby because they weren’t capable of having their own. The day I was born, my adopted dad was working at the hospital and had gotten a call from the nurses in the delivery about me. And well… you know the rest of that. Here I am.

I grew up in the “Christian” household. We went to church every Sunday and Sunday school after service. I went to a private school from the beginning. I was raised around God.

I grew up to be a teenager, like most of you. Rebellious and against what my parents had to say. “Go to church.” “Too tired.” “Do chores.” “Going out with friends, will do them later.” And so on… My life was all about being against what my parents had wanted me to do. I started actually realizing that I didn’t want God in my life in about 7th grade when my grandpa passed away and my mom blamed me for it. I became depressed, suicidal, and even emo. I wore all black, started cutting, wrote song lyrics on my arms that talked about killing myself. (Keep in mind; this was still at a private school.) My teachers were worried, but gave no sign of care towards me. I got yelled at by my teacher for wearing a bracelet with spikes in it, and told I need to clean up my act. Never once did they ask if I was okay.

To me, a “Christian” school should show the compassion of God. Not get mad at a student in need. Again, I pushed God away farther because I thought He was just like my teachers. I began smoking and drinking in 8th grade to take away the pain. I started swearing and giving up on my own life. Luckily I graduated from the school and was able to move on to high school… the worst time for a teenager struggling with faith, life and choices. (To be honest, high school is horrible for us. Sex, drugs, alcohol and cliques… that’s all high school has become. They’ve pushed God out of the lives of our youth and told them to accept every other religion but Christianity.) But as I was saying, I went to a school full of drugs, alcohol, and gangs. I was threatened for swearing at a gang member. I was wanted dead. I would come to school drunk. I would leave school grounds and smoke cigarettes with my older friends. It was horrible.

After one year at John Marshall, my parents decided they were moving me to a smaller school about 5 miles out of town. That didn’t make anything better. (All while doing these things to myself, each summer, I’ve been doing mission trips with my church youth group.) At this new school though, I was pressured to become sexually active. I was on the football team and wanted to be cool, so I got a girlfriend and decided her and I were going to have sex. I liked it. I won’t lie. I enjoyed every moment of it… until… she became pregnant. I was paranoid and in shock. I was going to be a daddy. I was nowhere near ready. About 2 months pregnant, my girlfriend and I were in a car accident. She hit her stomach. We had lost our child. I was completely devastated. I hated God because He did that. My girlfriend then cheated on me with my best friend. We broke up. I was suicidal again and started cutting. Again.

To heal from the pain, I went and drank. And drank. And drank. I also was up to smoking two packs a day. Just to top off my sophomore year of high school, my grandfather, who was basically my dad, passed away from cancer. That was it. God was dead to me. I cursed Him out. Told Him to leave me alone and let me die and be with my grandpa. I even tried suicide after that. Multiple times. I lived this way for quite a while. All the way through my junior year…

Up until my mission trip that year. We were told to give everything we were holding onto, over to God. I couldn’t. I held way too big of a grudge on Him. He took my grandpa from me. He left me alone to die. He gave up on me. Didn’t He? As the night went on, I sat in a ball and cried. People tried talking to me and praying with me. Nothing helped. Until a Pastor I had never met before came over to me and prayed over me. I felt God’s presence inside me. Not just an ordinary presence though, He was dressed for battle. He was fighting for me. I felt God and Satan fighting inside of me. I couldn’t move. I had been paralyzed because of this. My dad was there, my best friends were there, and no one could help me, except this Pastor. God placed him in my life that night to let go of these grudges and let God in to my heart. On that night, I was saved. God had entered my heart and showed me His love again.

I gave all my worries to the cross that night. The next year of school, my senior year, I went to this thing called TEC. It just showed me how great God really is! I cried, my eyes were opened, and the weight on my shoulders was taken away. I then worked a TEC. The verse for that week stuck with me. It really showed me how to be saved by God. Romans 10:9, my tattoo, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” This is a verse that strongly touches deep in my heart.

After living a life of hate for God and living in sin, I am now following God’s calling to become a Pastor. God has flipped my life completely around over the years because He wanted me. He never left my side. In fact, when I had fallen, He carried me. He loves us too much to leave us behind. I have given my life to God and am now an active member of my church. Whether it is youth or as an adult, I am always willing to be there. My love for God is so much more than my love for anything else in this world. Yes I fall into sin and temptation, but no one is perfect. We must repent and know God loves us and calls us back to Him always.

As I was writing this, I looked at my Bible app on my phone, the verse for today was Isaiah 40:30-31, and it says, “Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;…”

Junior United Methodist Youth Conference (JUMY's)

November 2-4, 2012, was the Junior United Methodist Youth Conference (JUMY’s). This is a three day event put on by the Minnesota United Methodist Conference at the Holiday Inn in St. Cloud MN. This year, the JUMY’s guest speaker was Leslie Hobson. She is a Youth and Family Ministries Director at Park UMC in Brainerd MN. The featured Band was Boiling Point. Related to the name of the band, “Boiling point is the point at which water evaporates—representing a fundamental change even while the elements remain the same". The band believes that a person can experience this same type of change after encountering God. Junior United Methodist Youth Conference was a fun and spiritually enriching event to those SUMC youth attending this year.

Youth Thanksgiving Dinner

On November 14, the youth will be having the SUMC Youth Group Thanks Giving Dinner. Parents and SUMC Members are encouraged to come and give thanks and fellowship with one another. Turkey and sides will be provided by the SUMC Youth Group, but we are asking the youth and members attending to bring one dessert. SUMC Youth Group hopes to see you there.

November 28, 2012 Fundraiser at CiCi’s Pizza

November 28, SUMC Youth group will be having a Fundraiser at CiCi’s Pizza. SUMC youth will be busing tables for tips, and will receive 10% of all sales from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Let all your friends and Family know about this awesome fundraising event to help out the SUMC Youth Group. This Fundraiser will be during youth group time so all youth are encouraged to come. Jeremy will be taking a group at 4:45 p.m. to CiCi's pizza and bringing a group back by 8:15 p.m.

Beware of Christians

During the month of November, SUMC Youth will be discussing the following topics based on the Beware of Christians documentary: Materialism, Sex and Relationships, and the Church. Review of Beware of Christians

What does it mean to call one's self a Christian? And what do people in other parts of the world think about Christians? Alex, Matt, Michael, and Will believe God exists. These young men are raised in an affluent, Bible believing bubble in Texas, however, they begin to suspect that their checklist Christianity may be a convenient support of their worldly biases. A better perspective requires distance, they reason. And they travel to Europe to question strangers and, more important, to more seriously ask themselves: Is the Jesus in the Bible the same person as the healthy, wealthy American Jesus they've so long believed in?

Their travels feature ten European cities including Barcelona, Rome, Vienna, and Munich. Beginning in London, they narrate from a roundtable in a studio city by city, tackling topics such as materialism, sexuality, alcohol, and entertainment. As the journey progresses, they build a deep bond with each other and discover a new meaning for the words, "trusting in Jesus." By the end of their adventure, they truly begin to understand the joy and redemption that comes from giving up the world to follow Jesus.