God is at work in the hearts and lives of preteens all over British Columbia. He wants each of these young people for His own and has used the SPARK conference to ignite a flame within them. Against all odds God brought together 600 preteens and leaders together October 14 & 15 for a weekend of worship, dance, inspiring talks, games and a concert. In the days that led to the conference, weather forecasters warned us that one of the biggest storms and strongest winds to hit the west coast in years was on its way. Fortunately, we serve the God that is so much more powerful than any storm and He had His plan and purpose to fulfill that weekend in young people like the ones in Sooke who had overcome many obstacles to attend the conference.
Sooke is a small community about 40 kms outside of Victoria. It has two grocery stores, an A&W, 2 gas stations and 3 marijuana shops, mainly a blue collar area, and life is hard for many. This is the community and Sooke Christian Life Assembly is the church that Michelle Allan and her husband are called by God to serve. Michelle loves working with preteens and when Pastor Lowell first suggested she head up the preteens ministry, she jumped at it. So different from her past experience of Colwood Pentecostal, these kids are very needy, hardened by life’s circumstances of poverty, drug addicted parents and even prostitution which brings with it many behavioural challenges. These are kids with deep needs, hunger being one of them as Michelle shared a time when one boy was in the bathroom eating paper because he was so hungry. Michelle has always been a fan of the SPARK conference, had taken many preteens in past years while serving at Colwood and dreamed of taking her group this year. When telling the kids about it, they seemed so excited to go, until she shared the cost with them. “Please don’t ask my mom about it, she is too stressed about money already.” “I don’t want to go. I don’t want to tell my parents the cost”, were some of the comments she heard. Michelle started questioning whether she had set the bar too high and actually asked God to take the desire away if they weren’t to attend. Michelle broke down when she received the incredible news that an anonymous donor had given money so that they could attend. “Why do we ever doubt God”, she thought. Speaking to *Danny, a young man in her group who suffers from anxiety, Michelle asked “What if I told you if God wants you to go, He will provide?” *Danny asked her to please not mention money to his mom. Michelle spoke with *Danny’s mom and told her that an anonymous donor who didn’t know her son had given money so that he could attend. She wept but knew it would have to be up to his dad, as it was his weekend to have Danny. His dad, a drug dealer in the area agreed and *Danny was able to attend his very first SPARK conference. It was pouring rain as Michelle left Sooke with her 14 preteens but nothing could dampen their spirits as they knew God was definitely in charge; the ferry they caught ended up being the last crossing that day due to the high winds. During the SPARK conference the Sooke youth felt the presence of God, one of them saying “I felt warm” and another “It felt like it was something good” and “I heard God tell me to start talking to my friends about him”. *Jason, one of the Sooke group shared how he had asked Christ in his heart.
While at the conference God spoke to Michelle through the B1 challenge showing her that this is the group of kids He is going to mold and use, raw as they are. These kids are right where God wants them. This past conference we saw God work in many miraculous ways, from the power staying on amidst the storm to pizza arriving on time despite orders being lost, donors responding to the call of God to ferries crossing when they could have been cancelled. We are so grateful to God for caring so much about preteens and making Himself known to them. In Michelle’s simple but profound words, “God has His agenda; He makes it work.”
*All names have been changed to protect identity