Pauls Valley Democrat
Unity is the message of a Pauls Valley ministry working to bring youth together and light the way toward hope through a higher power.
Led by former missionaries Michael and Rhonda Slayden of Pauls Valley, it's called The Light.
Both describe it as a youth outreach ministry with one big mission in mind — help as many kids 12 and up find hope through God and Jesus Christ.
“It's to bring kids to Christ,” said Michael, who is an ordained minister who’s worked as a youth and children's pastor and in college ministries.
“The Lord showed me the hopelessness out there for so many young people,” he said. “The fact is there is hope. You just need to know where to look. Jesus Christ is the only hope.
“We want to light a fire for the people to find God and hope and for their lives to transform.
“I want to see a revival here with the youth and the children. If we get together in unity God's going to show up and change the situation here.”
The ministry is open to kids at 6 p.m. each Friday and Saturday night. It's partnering with Kings Kids, located in the 100 block of West Charles, as the group meets there with hopes of someday having its own facility.
Started this past April, the ministry features plenty of games, a snack bar and even inspirational movies for the kids to enjoy.
“It's a good, clean, safe place for them to have fun,” Rhonda said.
“We're also there to show them there's hope.”
While there kids can take part in a casual, relaxed environment playing games together and talking spiritual matters of the heart.
“We fellowship with them and play games with them,” Michael said. “I share with people. I talk to people about issues in their life.
“Here they're hungry to know more about God. One little girl came up to me and asked, 'Are we going to talk about God.' She started to talk about God. Then other kids there with us started asking questions about God, the Bible.”
“We've had some kids ask us to pray with them,” Rhonda said. “They want adult interaction, so we play games with them and talk to them.
“We want to be a positive witness to the kids. We want them to come and have fun and we want to be a positive influence.”
According to Michael, the name of the ministry was chosen to signify the light of hope for these kids.
“The name 'The Light' comes from the darkness out there from those with little hope,” he said.
“It's time for the light to come. We believe God will raise up the standard in this town — a standard of light. We want kids to know Christ and to get their hope through Christ.”
With this message of hope at the heart of their ministry, the couple are now working to help unify the churches of Pauls Valley in the ongoing effort to help kids.
“We want the churches to come together in unity. We want to see a revival with the youth,” Michael said.
“Our long range vision is for all Pauls Valley churches to come together and work with local youth,” he said.
“If Pauls Valley wants God's blessing we're going to have to do it God's way and come together in unity.”