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May 23, 2019
 
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Royal Rangers Retreat

Mar 02 2019

I have been aware of a group through the Assemblies of God known as Royal Rangers, but it wasn't until last weekend that I realized what a big, well organized group this is. RR is a boys' group for elementary through high school aged boys. The northern New England district's RR winter retreat was last weekend, and they brought me in to do their four chapel services.

I was very impressed with the structure of the weekend. Events included snowmobiling, first aid classes, tomahawk throwing, fire starting, rock wall, and a lot more. There was even outdoor camping for the older guys. Some had tents, some made igloos, some went several miles away by snowmobile! All the boys had a blast from beginning to end.

For me the weekend was a bit of a challenge. I don't like going away overnight without my wife, but this was a guys only event. I'm also a rather private person, but I was housed in a cabin with about 16 other boys and men. To their credit, the guys were all quiet at lights out time, and it had to be better than the guys who slept outside.

In spite of my being stretched beyond my comfort zone, I enjoyed being there. There was one kid named Josh with what we used to call "killer long" hair, not that that's significant. He was a middle schooler, which is the grade I teach, so we hit it off. He was also pretty good with slights of hand, so we had some fun. The younger boys loved it when I took out the rabbit and doves.

I did four services and the audience-all age groups of kids as well as the men chaperones-all loved what I did, and I enjoyed performing.

Admittedly, the adult men I talked with were very much from a religious right bent. Lots of references to Trump, guns, and John Eldridge books. While this made me feel a bit the outsider, I do respect what these guys are trying to do. Men mentoring boys is so important (to say nothing of biblical). This is especially true given an American church culture that is losing its male memberships in droves.

The retreat was over at about 10 AM Sunday, and I headed out on the 90 mile trip home. I literally was loading the last of my props in my car when the forecasted snowstorm started to spit its first few flakes. It was slow going, but I made it home Sunday afternoon in time to get ready to start my next week of teaching.

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The presentation was fun and encouraging... The gospel message was clear and encouraging. I purchased your book and just finished it. Your scope is broad and again encouraging. May God continue to bless your ministry. I will encourage others to read your book. -Parishioner of a local church

"Hey, I  wanted to say that was a great message in chapel today! It touched something:) thanks for doing it!" -High School Student  

"We are so grateful that you brought your amazing ministry back to our church this year... The Gospel message you bring applies to all!  It is such a positive, valuable work that you do."  -Coordinator of Christian Ed. UCC Church

"There's no questioning it. This is powerful stuff. It's extremely touching at times, never less than entertaining, and I see a lot of sincere love for Jesus in you guys."  -Dwight Lilies, song writer

The Lord has given you a wonderful window through which to present the Gospel!   - Field Director of Alliance Missions to Paraguay

"What a wonderful ministry to both children and adults.  In past years it has been a struggle to arrange programing that would hold the attention of all ages, but also challenge each heart with God's gift of Salvation.  Thank you for sharing your ministry."  -Sunday School Sup't.

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