This is indeed the 24th ARISE retreat… at the first one in 1994 (1st photo), I was a rising 11th grader, attending a small Korean church outside of Boston (2nd photo) with my family where I would later be a youth group teacher and pastor. We always drove 45 minutes to church each way. My parents are still members of that same church. We all became Christians one by one here in the US. This was also the same summer I was baptized.
As you can imagine, I had to dig through some old photo albums to find those pictures and unstick them from the clear plastic pouch they were in. Looking back on the past 35 years since we came to the States, I see God’s incredible faithfulness and kindness to me. To my family. His movements of redemption…what He has done decade by decade to accomplish the salvation of my soul and to be my Father and Friend through pain and joy. I see it. His commitment to love me and grow me no matter what.
After attending the first two ARISE retreats as a high school student, I started serving with the ministry the summer before starting college. It’s been 21 years with ARISE now…as a counselor, staff, director…as I lived life, going to college, having full-time jobs, making life-long friends, serving as a youth pastor, finishing seminary, becoming a wife, becoming a mom. ARISE has very much been a part of my life. God has grown my trust in and awe of Him through it. And now God has also allowed me this beautiful season of discipling and training next generation staff (college students!) to whom to pass on the servant-leadership of ARISE next year. Pure joy! He is so faithful!
THIS YEAR’S RETREAT
We’ve just concluded our week of retreat staff training and we leave on Sunday for this year’s retreat--July 23-27. The theme: “Known and Loved: Intimacy with Christ”.
"To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is...what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
- Timothy Keller
40 ARISE staff, counselors, student leaders, speakers and worship leaders will be serving kids from 15 different churches.
Please pray with us! As we share God's heart for the youth, please partner with us in prayer. More specifically, please pray God's love and seeds of the gospel will be sewn deep into their lives... that they may be saved, grow mature in grace and go on to make disciples, transform culture, and hold out the hope of Christ in this world!
Would you also consider giving a financial gift? The venue where we have had our retreat for the past 10 years unexpectedly raised the cost of our stay by 38% this year. However, we kept the cost of student registrations the same. Still, 13 families have asked for financial assistance for their children. The cost of each student to attend is $249. We never refuse any student because of inability to pay, but choose to fundraise for them instead and pray we’re able to cover all the costs of the retreat. We could really use your help this year. To give a gift in any amount, you may do so here online or send a check to: ARISE Youth Ministries, PO Box 2112, Peabody, MA 01960.
May the kids come to know God’s shockingly lavish love for sinners, His justice and wrath poured out on His own precious Son…sheer, undeserved grace…His resurrection to prove it all true… the only way hearts are transformed to treasure Christ in this life over all things. May these kids in our small, under-served churches nevertheless grow to become men and women who are friends of God...living in freedom and joy, renewing culture, making disciples, and glorifying Him in all walks of life until Jesus returns.
As we enter a feast this Sunday, may we all taste and see that the Lord is good! Thank you for reading! Thank you for your prayers and support!
Grace and Peace in our Savior, Jesus Christ,
On behalf of the ARISE Staff and 2017 Retreat Servant Team
The last 25 years has seen English ministries all leaving the Korean churches and the youth lacking English-speaking college students and young adults to serve them. The youth have also experienced Korean-American seminarians generally no longer serving in Korean churches as before which has led to Korean-speaking seminarians trying to fill the void, or the youth lacking leaders all together. The leaders they do have tend to be young and inexperienced and typically leave within 1-3 years. This gradually occurring in the Korean church, in conjunction with typical Korean family dynamics, in conjunction with the increased secularization of New England all work together to raise generations of children who may passively grow up going to church with parents but becoming men and women who do not love Jesus in their hearts and eventually leave the church.
As I've watched these trends and changes while serving the youth and as I raise my own son now, I feel that more than ever, the Korean-American kids in Korean churches need parents and leaders who are aware. They need men and women outside their churches to care, be a resource and seek their good. So that they might have opportunities to draw near to the Lord and taste and see His goodness and costly love for them before they leave youth group. His shockingly lavish love for sinners, his justice and wrath poured out on his own precious Son, sheer, undeserved grace, His resurrection to prove it all true… the only way hearts are transformed to treasure Christ in this life over all things. That the youth, who grow up so fast in the blink of an eye, may become men and women who live in freedom and joy, renewing culture, making disciples, glorifying God in all walks of life until Jesus returns.
Our hope as a ministry is that we would serve alongside local churches and families to raise generations of youth transformed by the Gospel and living for His glory.
As my mom would tell me when I was in youth group, we need to “meet Jesus personally.”