Monthly Newsletter

March 2020

 

The Seen & Unseen


For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseeen is eternal.

– 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18


At Christian Outreach Center, we are well-acquainted with the light and momentary troubles, even spiritual warfare, involved with achieving and working towards our eternal glory with Jesus. It is no small task within the arena of youth ministry to highlight the eternal promise of the unseen, as children and teens are often inclined to talk, dress, act, and make the majority of their decisions based on what they see others doing.  I think this is where the majority of us pick up our bad habits- because we saw someone else doing it, with our own eyes. And now, we can’t actually see Jesus. Our environments have a strong influence over how we think and behave. Of course, we all need special people of influence in our lives as we grow up to help steer us away from these traps and redirect us to the unseen and eternal, to what is good, to God’s best for us. For many of you, that may have been your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, mentors, coaches…and for some COC kids, it is COC staff and volunteers. Many of these kids feel unseen every day. I can relate—which is why I am so incredibly blessed to get to take these vehicles out, fill them up with the youth the Lord brings, show them they are not abandoned, that we see them, and that God sees them. This is the first step to helping them see past their environments and to the unseen, eternal promise- by taking them out of the environment, for a time. And at first glance, many of our students would appear to have some bad habits. The sad truth is, many of them just lack those special, invested-for-the-long-haul people who are willing to take the time required to solidify faith in the unseen, on the home front. As COC directors, it is a privilege to say we get to be two of these so desperately needed people, along with all of you, our board of directors, and our volunteers. We all see the eternal value of these precious children. Let me share some exciting fruit of the unseen Holy Spirit!


One of the great things that we get to do for the kids of COC is generate memories and life experiences they likely wouldn’t otherwise encounter. For some boys last month, this meant Men’s Camping with Grace Christian Fellowship. Mr. Justin loves this event hosted by our own home church and took five of our boys along to Lakewood Retreat. For Keyandre, a first grader, and Rayshawn, a third grader, this was their first camping experience. The boys had a great time, learned how to make (and not make!) s’mores, talked about God’s Word among Godly men, rode ziplines, visited the petting zoo, played games, and created deeper bonds. While the boys were away at camping, I was very grateful to Pastor Kyle Butler and his group of 13 volunteers from North Dunedin Baptist Church that got up early and rode down to spend the morning with us….because God brought in 53 kids that day! You guys did a terrific job on one of our busiest Saturdays and it was wonderful to get to spend some time together with the kids.


As many of you know, we spend much of the month before the Quilter’s Luncheon busy preparing for our big event, and this year was no different. Even more, our very own Mr. Justin was preparing for his auctioneer debut- and he did not disappoint! We were very entertained, blessed, and touched by his obedience in this new adventure. We also had so much incredible help to make this amazing day possible. From our quilters, to volunteers, board members, donors, attendees, decorators, cooks, and student servers; the list of people to thank seems endless! So please, from the bottom of our hearts, let us acknowledge every member of the body of Christ right now with a sincere thank you. We feel profoundly humbled to have such amazing support. Even more humbling is how our students did not let the opportunity to represent Jesus and COC well pass them by…these kids were incredible, and their service to our guests blew everyone away. We couldn’t be prouder of them! The entire day was a huge success and all who attended were blessed. We did have several opportunities left for new table decorators, so if you have the gift of decorating or hospitality, please reach out to us for more information. Next year’s theme is “Nature’s Garden” and is scheduled for February 27th, 2021, for those of you who like to get a head start! We hope to see you there!


Prayer Requests: Mr. Justin injured his knee during camping and likely has a slight MCL tear. He is also having sinus surgery on March 18thto correct breathing problems. Please pray for him to get the rest he needs to heal quickly. We’ve received several student prayer requests regarding family members being released from incarceration. Please pray for restoration. Also, our beloved Mr. Larry has retired from our Clearwater route as its long time driver. Please pray special blessings over Larry and his wife for their years of dedicated service to COC, and that God would bring in new drivers to help support the ministry.


In His Service, 

Justin & Shannon Tellez

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