Kairos Gear Fundraiser
At Kairos, our mission is to awaken young people to a venturesome faith, and we believe that high-adventure outdoor experiences are an excellent starting point to achieve this aim. That’s why we’ve been expanding our girls’ programs by offering a growing suite of adventure trips. However, to make these trips possible, we need your help!
We’re raising $3,000 to expand our store of camping gear, including tents, sleeping bags, cookware, and backpacks. With your contribution, you can directly support our efforts to provide these essential supplies to our girls’ camping trips.
Thank you for your generosity!
As a token of our appreciation, we’re offering a cool bumper sticker to anyone who makes a gift to our camping gear fundraiser. And for those who donate $500 or more, we’ll send you a Yeti Thermos with the Kairos logo.
Adventure Guides 2022
Greetings in the beautiful month of July! We are very much in the midst of our summer trips. We just finished a 9th grade girls trip to New York state. They spent several days hiking in the beautiful mountains and did a exciting rafting excursion together. The second half of the trip was spent doing service with a charitable organization in New York City. We will report on that in a subsequent issue.
For the boys’ trips, we have two intrepid guys serving as Kairos Adventure Guides this summer. Thomas (Tommy) Bielejeski, from Minnesota, and John (Johny) Touhill, from New Jersey, are serving as staff for all four trips. See the back side of this page for a copy of their very busy summer—they only have six free days (probably spent doing laundry and sleeping)!
Adventure Guides program director Stephen Giles recruited and set up the schedule for this year’s Guides. He led a training week with them when they arrived in Lansing mid June, which included a hike along the Lake Michigan shoreline (see pictures). I was able to go with them on the hike—great time.
Brian LaLonde and Stan Mathay—our seasoned trip leaders—are heading the 7th, 8th, and 9th grade trips. Stephen is heading the 10th grade trip, where they will take nine young men to New Hampshire to do trail building work in the White Mountains. This will be a challenging trip, and will be a great opportunity for the young men to grow in brotherhood as they learn to embrace discomfort alongside one another (yup, we got nine boys to sign on!).
Thank you so much for your support of our mission of calling young people to Christ and helping them become life-long disciples. We very much appreciate your prayers and financial support!
Yours in Christ,
YES 2022: Testimonies
Last month, we reported on the Kairos Youth Equipped to Stand (YES!) Retreat that was held March 25-27. This month, we get to hear from three of the youth participants.
Some of the youth evaluations are straightforward, like this one from a teen:
“During the YES retreat, the Lord shared a word with me. He said that I am not broken. I feel like at some point in all our lives, we feel empty inside and broken. But God is here to tell us that we are healed and forgiven for our sins. Our sins don’t define who we are. God loves us as we are.”
Some of our youth had been struggling spiritually before the retreat, and experienced a new closeness with the Lord:
“I came to the YES Retreat tired emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually, I was coming out of a period of spiritual ‘dryness.’ I was struggling to pray consistently and then beating myself up mentally when I failed. I was getting discouraged because every time I resolved to get up early and pray, I found myself sleeping in. I got to the point that I didn’t really see the point in trying again. I didn’t see people I could relate to in that regard. At the beginning of the retreat, I asked the Lord for peace, joy, and perseverance (especially as I was leaving for a mission trip in Washington D.C. literally the morning after I got home from the retreat).
“Throughout the retreat, the Lord helped me enter worship in a way I had never been able to before. At a Christian summer camp several years ago, I asked for the gift of prophesy and was disappointed when I didn’t feel that I had received it right away. At the retreat, I felt the Lord speaking to me during worship in a new way and giving me not only a word, but also the courage to share it. I was able to share it with my YES small group.
“The talks and testimonies at the retreat were super relatable, and at multiple points I felt like the speakers were speaking directly to me. Overall, the Lord showed up big time and I left feeling joyful, peaceful, refreshed and ready to serve on the mission trip.”
Some of our youth merely wanted more!
“On Saturday night, the talk was about asking the Lord for a double portion. Later in our small groups we were asked what we wanted to receive from the Lord. I decided that I wanted a double portion of His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. I was the first one prayed over in my group, and it was very beautiful. One thing that I had been seeking though this retreat was to get to know Jesus as a living person, and not just as a far-off being.
“Receiving a double portion of His Spirit made His Presence more real to me, and all I did was ask for a gift. After I had been prayed over, I was able to pour out my double portion by praying over my small group members. This really struck me, because I realized the Lord gives us gifts so that we can bring Him to others by using the gifts He gives.”
Watching the Lord touch each one of our young people personally is a highlight of serving at the YES! Retreat. Bringing youth closer to Jesus is an amazing privilege. Thank you so much for your support; I am happy to be on mission with each of you.
Blessings on you and your families as we enter these summer months.
Your Brother in Christ,
YES 2022: A Double Portion
Greetings in our Risen Christ! This month we have the pleasure of reporting on the March 25- 27, Youth Equipped to Stand (YES!) Retreat. Last year we had an in-person but smaller retreat; the year before that, it was only on-line. It was a joy to be back to a full YES! this year. We had 225 youth, and 128 staff – 353 total. The teens were from Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, New Jersey, California, Florida, Texas, Philadelphia, Toronto, and more. Stephen Giles, our YES! Retreat Director, gave us some highlights of this year’s retreat.
“Our theme this year was Double Portion, building the retreat around the story of Elijah and Elisha (II Kings 2:9-10). Many of our teens have been given very good things. We focused on choices our teens are and will be making: choosing for the Lord and choosing the good for themselves, and not just because their parents might be Christians. They need their own relationship with the Lord and they must choose for Him. The ‘double portion’ was unique to Elisha—it was not just ‘Elijah 2.0.’
“There was a cost to following the Lord for Elisha – there were no contingencies. Elisha killedhis yoke of oxen for a sacrifice to the Lord (I Kings 19: 19-21). We asked the teens what ‘oxen’ they might need to kill in their lives; the Lord calls us to a radical response (also a joy – Elisha and the people ate the oxen with celebration). Elisha had a lot of resources to use for the Kingdom and was a blessing to others. We reminded the teens that they also have been given a lot.
“Last year, the kids who were able to come to YES were ‘hungry’ because of not having a live retreat in 2020. They were open to whatever the Lord had for them. We noticed this year that the kids had lost some trust, were a bit more cynical; they had experienced some disappointments and needed to regain their confidence that the Lord had something for them. We could not do that for them; the Lord had to work in them.
“For their personal prayer, we encouraged them to boldly ask like Elisha did – ask big things of the Lord. There will be a greater cost from that but also great joy. We recognized that more talks could not accomplish this, prayer and ministry in the small groups moved things forward for many. Our small-group leaders were fantastic.
“The Lord also encouraged me in my own faith: I saw that God has greater things in mind for our youth than I can imagine. In our small groups, we saw obstacles being torn down and saw the youth give themselves to Him. We saw them grow in choosing for the Lord, even if that meant choosing some things that might be uncomfortable back home.
“For our breakout/workshop times, we had several topics relevant to youth from various situations: discernment and decision-making; friendship—guy-girl, guy-guy, and girl-girl; baptism in the Holy Spirit; using our gifts; personal prayer; ecumenism and what that looks like; embracing the struggle to live for Christ. We had two breakout times, so each teen could hit two different topics they were interested in.
“Our youth are on the threshold of adulthood. They are about to make choices that will affect the rest of their lives and even their children’s lives. We wanted to make them aware of the opportunity and responsibility present there. Our hope was to give them an appreciation (even a wonder) of what they are choosing at this point in their lives.
“A new feature to our YES! Retreats is an international dimension. There also will be YES retreats in Northern Ireland, the Philippines, and Mexico. Internationally, we are doing retreats with the same theme—Double Portion—and taking advantage of the main conference sessions put together for us by our Kairos International team. The breakout sessions will be geared to the location and the needs of the teens there (i.e., teens in Mexico may be dealing with some different stresses and challenges than the teens in Northern Ireland). We are very excited by this international work. The Lord is using YES! Retreats.”
Thank you for your support of outreach to the next generation! We are working in as many ways as we can to help the next generation truly be “equipped to stand.” As the world tips into greater darkness, we know our young people were created for “such a time as this.” It is a privilege to be part of reaching teens for Christ, calling them deeper, and equipping them to be the disciples of the Lord He has created them to be. May the Lord bless you and your service to Him; thanks again for standing with us by your prayers and financial support.
Parent Forum 2022
“It doesn’t have to be a losing battle.”
Kairos hosts on-line “Parenting Forums” for interested parents and others concerned about the children in their lives. We did one this past October, which was focused on dealing with media. Over 200 participants joined us. We shared that the average American and Canadian teen spends a whole lot of time “plugged in” and entertained by screens. Christian families are certainly not immune. So, what is the risk? Is this worth the battle? YES!
Screen time and media affects basic character development, the ability to build and maintain real relationships, and how we can gain wisdom. On top of all this, screens radically affect brain development.
We gave some practical helps for achieving the media goal of “wise, but limited.” For example, “Be Second” – avoid being an early adopter of the newest technology. Wait and see what the effects are. “Evaluate before you implement” – work on delaying your young person’s exposure to screens and limit dependency on them.
How about us adults? Can we try having screens in public areas or in common places in our homes? It is not only a safeguard, but also a great opportunity for parents to model good online practices for our kids. Can we try having conversations with the parents of our kids’ friends to see if we can be in the same ballpark in media use?
More big areas: “Be limited” – have “no media” times like during meals and after 11:00 PM. Take a “Sabbath” where there is no media (including for us), and so on. Also having limited spaces and agreements about them: for example, not at the dinner table, not in the car, not in the bedroom.
“Limited Tech” – no smart phones for young teens (flip phones are still available and work fine for calling Mom for a ride), maybe only one computer for the family if possible. We also encourage parents to do self-assessments in this area. Do we limit our own use or is this just for the kids? (They will notice.) We do not recommend just confiscating the phone or tablet
even if the teen has a problem with overuse or dependency upon it. Rather, we recommend a
family approach—let’s all work towards regaining control of our devices.
David and Sarah Williamson, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, were among the participants. David went away with these reflections. “It was with this conviction that I walked away from the Kairos Parenting Forum: kids, media, screens, and devices: this stuff matters. On one level I know that, but on another level, I so easily lose sight of what I can do about it. “As a father of four young children, I am regularly intimidated by the rapidly approaching middle and high school years. The Kairos Parenting Forum gave me hope and a strategy for my family. It was helpful to hear from experienced youth workers who regularly engage with young people. They talked from personal experience about the trends they see and the effect it is having on real people and relationships. While they presented sobering facts about tech trends and the effects on youth, they also presented hope: there are things I can do as a parent, even small things, that can make a big difference. “I came away from the night with conviction, as well as tools, for raising my children to be mature, well-functioning human beings. It’s a long road ahead, but I have greater confidence that staying tuned in to Kairos and the resources they offer not only for kids, but also for parents, will be a big help in dealing with the challenges facing my kids. Kairos resources help me know what I can do as a parent to guide them through the challenges and opportunities presented in our tech-focused society.”
Thank you for your continue support in this battle for our youth. We deeply appreciate your prayers, your interest, and your financial support. Thanks for being one of our partners.
God bless you!
PS: Our goal is to have these forums yearly, generally in October. If you or parents you know want
to be part of it next October, contact Kairos web page https://kairos-na.org/contact/. As we get
closer to October, information about the next online forum will be available.