Friends and family club in HB!

April club in Huntington Beach was fantastic!  For starters, it seemed like a reunion of sorts as a lot of moms from years past were all able to be there with their children and everyone was catching up with one another.  It’s amazing how much older and “grown up” kids look even after 6 months of not seeing them!! 4B2F9CCE-B387-449D-8D99-CFE305A7AD42.JPG A Life Group from Branches HB church made a delicious spaghetti and meatball dinner for everyone.  This Life Group has been providing a meal every other month all year and I noticed how they don’t just drop off the meal and disappear, they sit with the moms and dads and their children and spend time fellowshipping with them.  This HB club really does have a family vibe going on.  After dinner was our usual game time.  Abby Clark and her “Vana White’s” – Kelsie and Jill- always bring the fun through the games.  And hats off to them as they got pretty much EVERYONE up and out of their seats to be participants!  That may be a club 1st and the candle prizes might have been an added incentive but at any rate, we all got up and played, looked silly and laughed.  It’s so good to just laugh isn’t it?  It’s good for the soul.  Remember that the next time you try and hide from being a game participant; you will miss out on some laughter.  09470CAD-19C8-4673-B175-95D72CBA2719.JPGAfter game time we settled in and things got a little more serious as we had “Real Life Talk” where 4 incredibly vulnerable and courageous people shared their stories.  Eddie has been coming to club as a volunteer for 2 years now and he hangs out with the dads at breakout time, Jana is on staff at Branches HB and she also has been attending club to volunteer, Abby is another volunteer and this was Pastor Santos’ first time to our club but we hope not the last.  Each story was different but each story shared the person’s struggles and trials, heartaches and danger and each one had a common theme – God bent down and intervened in their lives and changed the direction of each person’s life and possibly spared some from an early death.  And that is the power of a story.  Yes it’s a little frightening and can cause some anxiety at the thought of sharing your story, but when we get real and honest with other people, we all understand that we are not the only one who has hard times, confusing times and sad days.  We get to be encouraged and reminded that God doesn’t ever take His eyes off of us, and when we call out and wait for Him, He will comfort us, fill us with wisdom, catch every tear and show us the way out. 10BA16BD-70EF-45AA-9D85-068F2DE6772B.JPG Just like He did for the 4 people who shared their stories at club.  After story time we had our craft time.  Seriously, Tracy Sumner brings  the most creative and usable crafts every month.  This month was purse sized bottles filled with rose water.  Some of us didn’t make it into the craft time because we were catching up, processing what was shared and receiving prayer so Tracy hand delivered us all our own bottles.  Like I said, it really is like family at club and all are welcome!

 

-Chick

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Santa Ana HighSchool

Last Wednesday at Santa Ana Highschool we made memory boxes for the teen parents to share with their kids. It was so cool to see them them get crafty with their boxes and think of sweet memories they’ve had with their little families. Here are some pics, enjoy!IMG_0475IMG_0478IMG_0481IMG_0479IMG_0482

Sara’s Story!

I don’t remember when or why being pro-life became such a big part of who I am and what I stand for. I remember doing a report on it in college, so perhaps it was then that my interest and passion in the topic began to take root, though at the time, it stirred up more anger and frustration than compassion, and I didn’t know what to do with those feelings. I had a hard time communicating my thoughts about it, because I couldn’t seem to do it without getting heated or overwhelmed. At this stage in my life (around 14 years ago), I’d say my stance could better be defined as “anti-abortion” rather than pro-life, and it’s taken years of growth and softening to get to a very different place in my beliefs.
My senior year of college I interned at a pregnancy resource center in San Diego, one that provided free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and counseling to women facing unplanned or crisis pregnancies. It was during my counselor training here that I really took hold of the concept that our only job was to “speak the truth in love” to everyone who walked through the door. We wanted to educate them on what was happening in their bodies and with their baby, inform them of their options and the possible outcomes of each one, and provide resources and next steps, all while being loving and grace-filled and always rooting for the best for their lives and their babies’. DSC_0079
Several years later, in my mid-20’s, my Mom sat me down and told me a story she had kept hidden for a long time, that she herself had had an abortion when she was young and unmarried and scared, and the lifelong heartbreaking effect this is had on her life and her relationships. Mostly the shame she carried with her even though she knew she had God’s forgiveness and grace. It took years and years to fully accept that and let it sink deep into who she was. And she longed for other women to not have to experience what she did. We both cried together, especially when she said it felt redemptive to her to see this topic be something that took root in my heart, before knowing anything about her story. Adding a very personal face to this belief I held continued to soften my heart even more and add so much compassion and empathy for the women who have been through this or have had to face this difficult decision.
Fast-forward to today. This passion was something that had taken a back-burner in my heart, with life and other dreams filling in the remaining spaces. I knew it was always something I wanted to fight for, but again felt helpless as to where to start. The debate of pro-life vs. pro-choice will probably always feel incredibly divisive since it is one that is filled with deep-seated emotions and political and religious beliefs. But I’ve started understanding and accepting that it is not a simple or straightforward issue that can be blanketed by a “good” or “bad” label, or “right” or “wrong,” but instead I can choose to stand for life in every way possible and help demonstrate the beauty and light that lies in valuing every human life, no matter the age, race, religion, disability, or status.
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For me personally, I felt convicted to not just stand against abortion, but to put into practice the belief I held to value every life, and support all those who are choosing life for their baby and the community that’s around them. I had heard about YoungLives once before, but when it popped up on my Instagram feed from a friend who supports them, I felt God nudging at my heart that this was a tangible way I could join in and participate in the mission to support all those who are making the beautiful – and sometimes incredibly difficult – decision of life for their baby.DSC_0199 So I reached out and volunteered to be a part of YoungLives Santa Ana, and I have loved meeting these young women and their boyfriends and their precious babies that they bring every month, and love hearing the stories of the relationships and friendships that have been forged in this club. It is a beautiful picture of all being in this life together and the idea that there is no such thing as other peoples’ children. We all get to play a part in supporting life, and in lightening the load for those whose path feels more difficult at times. I am so grateful this ministry exists, and I can’t wait to watch this community continue to grow in love.
-Sara Bacon

Camp Video!!

If you don’t already know, camp is coming up and it is AWESOME!! Let me tell you a little bit about Lost Canyon Camp. From the moment you step off the bus you hit the ground running, with an awesome zip line, rock wall, giant swing, pool, games, horses, sports and more! This week is nothing short of craziness but trust me it will be the best week of your life (just ask anyone who has gone before you). If you haven’t already I really encourage you to consider coming to camp this summer July 9-15th, we would LOVE to see you there!! If this looks like something you want to do contact us for more information!! If you are not already sold on coming watch this video, you will burst with excitement!!