Love and Compassion Ministries has a large team of Christian men and women who minister to the youth at Crossroads Wilderness Institution in Punta Gorda, Florida. They cook wonderful meals and take desserts to feed the young men while teaching them the Word of God. Many are coming to know Christ because of what is being done in our Lord’s name there.
These young men are our future. Please pray for them and all LCM’s Youth Team Ministry members that care enough to reach out to them! If you wish to join the team please call John Domino, our Youth Director at 239-574-5683 or e-mail us at RonWillis@LoveCompassion.com
Crossroads Foster Boys Camp --- Polly, Betty, Elmer and Mark
I would like to thank the Lord for giving me the opportunity to serve Him at Crossroads. We were asked to go cook for the boys and staff there. I went excited to go praying earnestly for the Lord to open doors to all of us to build relationships and to provide opportunities to minister to the boys we would meet there with the hopes that in time we would be able to share God's word with them as they would see Jesus in each of us.
On our first visit to the camp God opened a door for us. I mean that literally because the first boy I opened the door for said he knew Elmer, one of our youth worker. The young man had actually attend our church's youth group at South West Baptist Church. Two of our church members brought this foster boy to a few Wednesday night services. He instantly began to share the fun he had there with the other boys and broke the ice with the rest for us. Our God is so awesome.
We didn't get a lot of time that first weekend to speak to the boys other than in the food serving line. We got to feed their bodies, learn some names and laugh a little with them in the process as we served food and drinks joyfully to them. They were all very respectful and appreciative to us for the taco dinner, all the soda, cookies and cupcakes we brought. The staff was also very happy not to have to cook meals on that day as usual. It gave them some rest from the task they usually have to perform and they invited us to come to cook any weekend we could. We were all happy to have served the Lord but felt that due to the large amount of clean up after wards there was no time or opportunity to visit with and talk to the boys. We were a little sad about that, but figured it was only our first visit and that overall it had gone great.
I continued to pray for God to show us how to reach these boys and to open doors for us to minister to them and share God's word and gospel. Elmer and I both felt God telling us to bring food already cooked so we would have time to spend with the boys. So Elmer discussed it with John Domino, Director of the Youth Ministry for Love and Compassion Ministries, and he felt it also was a great idea. So the day/night before, we cooked steak and cheese calzones and baked Easter cupcakes. All we had to do when we got there was reheat calzones and frost and decorate cupcakes. Clean up was really easy with no dirty dishes.
Again, that day, the first boy that entered the cafeteria door had a problem that he shared with us that he was really upset over. I noticed when he was asked to lead prayer he said he didn't know how to pray. It bothered me that he had such a problem and felt he didn't know how to pray. Twice he was asked and responded in the same manner. He was scheduled to leave the facility on Monday and was really worried and concerned. I'd brought a cross and hung it in the kitchen that said God is always with you. I pointed to it and said not to worry, God would be with him where ever he would be going
The boys enjoyed the food and Easter cupcakes and we left Easter bags with candy and the Daily Bread to be distributed later by the staff at Crossroads since they thought they had already had enough sugar for the day with soda and dessert. We were informed by the staff that after clean up we could go visit with the boys.
We toured their dormitories first and then went outside. I spotted the boy with the anger problem that had occurred and told Elmer I wanted to go talk to him for a minute. God was telling me that I may never see this boy again and that he needed to know how to pray. So immediately when I approached him, he began to reiterate his distress over the situation that he was very bitter over. I could see no good was going to come from him discussing it so I mentioned to him the statement he made about his not knowing how to pray. I asked if he had been brought up in any type of religion. He said yes, Catholic. I too was brought up Catholic so I felt God had put me there to share with him how I didn't know how to pray to God either. As a Catholic I had come to be saved and know and trust Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Being Catholic he related well to all I said and fully understood all we discussed and how to now pray. He then agreed he was ready to make Jesus his Lord and Savior and he did.
I then said that he needed to tell someone what he'd done as the Bible says to show he believed and was not ashamed of Jesus. He asked who and I said to go tell Elmer who was sitting down with a friend on the sidewalk and he did. All that boys bitterness and fear from earlier had left him. He was joyous.
Elmer began to also witness to him. We both began sharing testimonies back and forth and scriptures from my bible to both boys who were all ears and excited. The other boy had been saved and baptized previously and knew who Jesus was, but said he'd gotten confused over so many different religions and he had been exposed to some pagan WICCA religion and didn't know who to believe anymore. He knew he needed to pick the right one so he didn't end up in hell. He listened to us very respectfully and attentively and shared with me both personal issues and spiritual concerns. He then asked if he could get his guitar to play and give me some pointers.
I felt God telling me I best leave my Bible for the boy that was leaving Monday. I told him it was fine to write in it all he wanted, like I had. It was his to use and keep. He was so thankful and eager to read it. I had also bought that morning at a thrift store for a dollar, a cross on a chain displaying a cocoon and butterfly. I used it to explain to both boys how once they were saved, God's Holy Spirit resides inside them and would help them to do the right things they can't do on their own. He takes away their old ways and turns them like the cocoon into a beautiful new creation, they can't imagine, just like the butterfly. There was also a phrase on the back for them to now tell others about Jesus too, like we did. The boy leaving was excited to do so. Since I had given the bible to one, I gave the cross to the other boy staying and promised to bring him a study bible next time.
It was now 8:30 pm and getting very late. I asked the boy playing the guitar if he was ready to rededicate his life to Christ before we left. He said he was not ready. We all said our goodbyes and the boy leaving said, “when things got tough on him he would remember us and the things said to him.” We left both boys smiling and happy! We were too!
We rode home thanking, praising and giving God all the glory for a wonderfully awesome amazing day for all of us! We can't wait to go back again and see what God will do next and how he will use us to minister to these boys in ways we can't even begin to imagine. We were both truly blessed by serving the Lord at Crossroads!