God performed a major miracle to bring us into an incredible church in the old town bowling alley — a building we were told “was not for rent and would never be for rent.” Next thing you know, there we were, directly beside the local high school. A senior in the hight school overdosed on heroin and passed away two before the school year started. Since drugs are rampant here and we believe in community involvement, our first move was to begin ministry within the high school. It was an unfortunate event that got it started and this was a major shakeup in the high school, but we know where tragedy is, Jesus is the answer. Always has been, always will be.
We approached the high school with the Project 7 (P7) bible study idea, and they welcomed us with open arms. People believe that the name of Jesus cannot be used in a school, but don’t let the devil get away with that. Yes, there are rules. We cannot require kids to take a “Jesus class,” but if they opt in, Jesus is welcome. The school gave us time during lunch. We felt it might be quite challenging to get kids to miss lunch and time with their friends for –Bible?! So the first week, we were incredibly excited to receive two students.
We saw major victory. By Mid-Winter youth Retreat in February, we were able to take four students to Mid- Winter. All of them repented and one received the baptism of the Holy Ghost! In the month of February, three students were baptized in the lovely name of Jesus and received the Holy Ghost in our church. When the Holy Ghost comes, things change. The tide began to turn. We received a report of one young lady dragging her friend into the bathroom and telling her she knew she wanted the HolyGhost. She received the Holy Ghost that day in the bathroom at the high school!
Praise be to God! By the end of the school year, we were running an average of twenty-four students in P7 and eight had received the gift of the Holy Ghost. I have to be honest. We were a little bit nervous about the summer break ruining our momentum, but the Holy Ghost needs no momentum. Many of the students came to the summer Bible studies at our church and we continued to build.
During the summer, the principal of the High School called to make certain we were coming back because of the enormous positive impact P7 had on the high school! Our faith-filled youth leader told him, not only were we coming but by the end of the year we would have to move from the library to the gym. We kicked off the first week of the new year with seventeen students. Within two months, and at the time of this writing, we had forty-sis students attend P7 in the library. The principal said it’s time to move to the gym!
What faith and prophecy from our youth leader. To date, we have baptized nine students and ten have received the Holy Ghost, and ten are faithful to church. Some of those kids have brought their parents. Our youth leader has given twenty-seven home Bible studies. I know this article is filled with exclamation points, but that’s what the Holy Ghost should create: exclamation points!!!
You may say, “Ten receptive students?” The seeds that are being planted often need time to grow. There will come at time when the realization hits these students that they need a drastic life change and they will know where to come. We know and believe a great revival is coming in this high school and this city. God has now provided us an 11,500 square foot building with an additional 1,000 square foot youth building to grow in.
We know why we started where we did, to establish our going in Belpre High School. To God be the glory for the things He has done — or should we say — for the things He’s about to do.