When the pandemic struck last March, all 2020 evangelism plans for my three churches went right out the window. I had completed all Bible studies except for the lessons with the youth at the Pathways Church in Maple Grove, Minnesota.
When I arrived at Pathways over two years ago, I noticed that there were quite a lot of youth in the church and they had a very active youth group under the direction of Artem Vorostsev. He took them to Christian concerts, snowboarding, bowling and even built them a tree house. Their core group included additional friends who also began to attend church.
The one thing missing was a Bible study group! I spoke with Artem about incorporating a weekly study group and he readily agreed. So, we began Bible studies on Monday nights. I brought snacks, they brought extra guests and we had a wonderful time together with them asking so many questions.
Nick Wanovich, who lives locally, also began to join us. Nick is a young man I had baptized at the Revelation Speaks Peace meetings with Shawn Boonstra several years ago, who since then has felt God’s call upon him to go into the ministry. He is now employed by the Carolina Conference and is currently at Andrews University pursing his Master of Divinity. Since Andrews began doing virtual learning because of the pandemic, Nick was free to be involved in ministry at my churches where I have been mentoring him.
When COVID hit, we had to put our youth’s weekly Bible studies on hold. Then we began doing lessons on Zoom, but the kids hated it! “When can we get together?” they kept asking. Finally, by the middle of May, Nick and I felt comfortable with the idea of meeting with them in the park. We shared many prayer requests and praises, dug deep in God’s Word, and watched them continue to grow in the Lord.
Then came the very special day when Edward Bortnik, who has been attending Pathways church for several years, as well as Hannah Arika, were both baptized at Weaver Lake in Maple Grove. As is the custom, we had special music and a “welcome book” with many well wishes and gifts for them as we celebrated their decisions for Christ. Praise God for our youth and for the energy and ministry they give to the church!