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PC hosts community outreach over Spring Break

For the fifth year in a row, Peoples Church (PC) Student Ministries hosted a local outreach during Easter break, giving junior high and high schoolers an opportunity to serve their community during their break, March 24-28. Four local churches, including PC, Christ Community Baptist, Hope Lutheran and Emmanuel Lutheran, sent their youth groups to locations all over Fresno and the surrounding communities.

PC Junior High pastor Matt Markarian says that BreakAway has continued to be a success for the past five years because it gives students a chance to help the people in their community and live out their faith in a tangible way.

“It is important because it allows students to serve and make a difference,” Markarian said. “We continue to do it because it is a great way to serve Fresno.”

Markarian loves to see students who are willing to give up their Easter break in exchange for ministry and serving opportunities to people who need it most, instead of sitting on the couch all week and doing nothing.

“My favorite part about the week is the service and watching our students serve,” Markarian said. “I am always humbled to see students who choose to serve the kingdom.”

After checking in at the base camp command center, March 24, youth groups headed to their tents out on the west field at the PC campus, where they would spend the next four nights. Monday through Wednesday morning, they were served breakfast and met for a short chapel before heading out to their sites for the day.

Students chose from 10 different service projects over the course of three days: holding a Vacation Bible School (VBS) at the Salazar Community Center and the Nebraska apartment complex in Selma; holding a neighborhood outreach with a sports and crafts camp at John Muir Elementary in the Tower District and Martin Luther King Elementary in Southeast Fresno; clean-up at Sunnyside Park, Sunset Community Center, Hinton Community Center and Lowell Community Garden; clean-up at Woodward Park’s Japanese Garden; installing smoke detectors in homes with the Fresno and Clovis Fire Departments and clean-up at their fire stations and construction projects at Adventure Community Church in the Tower District.

Annalise Rosik, ’14, was excited to come to BreakAway and to be a part of the ministry chances that the week offered. Rosik says that her main reason for attending the event was to be put in situations where she would be able to stretch herself relationally, both on site with the kids and back at base camp with her fellow students.

“I came to BreakAway because I wanted to participate in the relational ministry that BreakAway offers,” Rosik said. “I enjoy being put in situations where I can love people in our community that I wouldn’t otherwise get to meet or be exposed to their lives, and I am definitely glad I came. It was a good experience to meet a lot of new people and watch my Christian brothers and sisters minister and in return be ministered to by the kids.”

For the outreach, she went to help at the VBS in the Selma apartments, and there she had a chance to talk to one of the kids about Jesus. She believes that God had the conversation planned even before she knew what site she was going to and that it was her purpose for being a part of the mission.

“I’ve enjoyed speaking into the lives of the children in Selma,” Rosik said. “I actually was able to share the gospel with a little girl who had a lot of questions about Jesus. I definitely think that was why I was on the trip.”

The Current, a local Christian band, led worship for the chapels and then Christian rapper (AGAPE*), David Scherer, gave the students a brief message, incorporating his songs into the sermon.

Scherer spoke to the students about discovering God’s calling on their lives by finding out what their gifts and talents are and then applying them to the needs they see in the world around them. He was excited to see young people give up their Easter break to serve their community and was blown away by the sacrifices he saw each student who came to the outreach make.

“I am so impressed with the selflessness I see from these kids,” Scherer said. “When I was their age, I was extremely focused on myself. These kids are a witness to me of God’s love.”

Jordan Feliz, lead singer of the Current and the 2013 outreach’s worship leader, came and led for BreakAway last year, also. When asked again to come and sing for the event, he had no problem accepting the invitation based on his experience last year. Feliz went out to the worksites, but he says the part of BreakAway that he liked best was back at base camp.

“My favorite thing about this week has got to be listening to the kids talk about their moments on the worksites,” Feliz said. “It was awesome to see attitudes change so drastically. Last year, it was great seeing God move in the lives of the kids, and because of that I wanted to come back this year. BreakAway was moving and amazing, and it is one of the greatest events I’m a part of all year.”

Campus leadership teacher Kim Bimat helped plan and organize much of the event. Each year she enjoys watching students experience service for themselves and learn what it means to selflessly help others in their community. Her favorite part of the outreach is seeing the impact that the students have on the kids they are serving by the end of the week, and she believes that it makes all the work and time invested in the event worth it.

“It’s an opportunity to lead students into faith activation and obedience,” Bimat said. “To watch God transform them through seeing his face in someone they are serving is such a blessing. Over the past few years, I’ve really enjoyed the precious kids we’ve played with and the eternal impact of activating faith through service.”

Though it is always a lot of work, she enjoys BreakAway for the chance students have to put their faith into action and see their efforts pay off in the people they are serving, both now and eternally.

“The students are what make BreakAway happen, and we continue because our community has needs,” Bimat said. “Watching BreakAway come together is such a blessing and even more rewarding to watch students serve with reckless abandon.”

When eighth grader Kayla Camini heard about the outreach, she wanted to join the event and spend her break serving the city with fellow believers. Camini went to Martin Luther King Elementary and played with kids, which became the part of BreakAway that she enjoyed most.

“I came to BreakAway to help out our community,” Camini said. “It is very much worth our break. My favorite part is going out to MLK and hanging out with little kids all day. The part of the week that impacted me most was when a little girl asked me who God is and I told her about him. I’m really glad I came because I had that opportunity.”

For more on BreakAway, see Channel ABC30’s news article.

This writer can be reached on Twitter at @JennaWeimer42.

For more features, read the April 3 article, Freshmen transition to English class, grow in writing skills.

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