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2003 PE Report

Americans find comfort in ‘nesting,’ but connecting is another matter (December 22, 2002)

Viewer discretion advised: Reality-based programs stoop to new low (December 15, 2002)

A/G among fastest growing faith groups (December 8, 2002)

Christians play crucial role in foster care (November 24, 2002)

A/G churches remember with outreaches (November 17, 2002)

Elderly face added woes from credit card debt (November 10, 2002)

PE Kidz News from BGMC (October 27, 2002)

Cyber-evangelists find innovative ways to share gospel (October 20, 2002)

Risks, stigma accompany wearing of tattoos (October 13, 2002)

Women lead on-campus ministries (September 29, 2002)

Tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries find underage Internet client base (September 22, 2002)

Marijuana, cocaine have abusive company: Ecstasy, meth and prescription painkillers (September 15, 2002)

September 11: A day that changed American Christians forever (September 8, 2002)

Congress, courts clash over Internet filtering issue (August 25, 2002)

People with disabilities bless churches (August 18, 2002)

Short-term youth binges can result in long-term habit (August 11, 2002)

Christians aim to preserve traditional marriage (July 28, 2002)

Payback time: Christian volunteers motivated to give back to community (July 21, 2002)

Urban training centers minister
to ever-growing population
(July 14, 2002)

E-mail rumors dupe multitudes, hurt credibility (June 30, 2002)

Not so innocent: PG-13 films increasingly push sex, language limits (June 23, 2002)

Skipping church: Why are some Americans staying home on Sunday? (June 16, 2002)

Fudge fellowship: Pastor's wife treats tavern clientele (June 9, 2002)

Persevering nomadic church finally reaches promised land (May 26, 2002)

Tragedy brings A/G church, community closer to God (May 19, 2002)

Couples find God's calling in adopting, raising children (May 12, 2002)

A/G chaplain ministers to women in maximum-security prison (April 28, 2002)

Youth center offers alternative to teens (April 21, 2002)

A week without television (April 14, 2002)

Technological know-how aids San Jose church outreach (March 31, 2002)

Cincinnati racial reconciliation brings inner peace to inner city (March 24, 2002)

District's fund-raising efforts aid pastors planting churches (March 17, 2002)

GED program an effective ministry (March 10, 2002)

Building relationshipis at heart of women's ministries outreach (February 24, 2002)

Single-minded devotion: Unmarried ranks offer ministry opportunities (February 17, 2002)

Bethany College honors black minister pioneer (February 10, 2002)

A/G quarterback wins Unitas Award (January 27, 2002)

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys' hearts (January 20, 2002)

Pastor breaks giving record after 10 days atop billboard (January 13, 2002)

2001 News Digest stories

2000 News Digest stories

Camp Melody plants song of love in boys’ hearts

(January 20, 2002)

The camouflage coat of the frog feels slimy to the teen-age boy.

"Watch me squish his guts out," he announces to other inner-city boys attending Camp Melody in rural Pennsylvania. A curious cluster gathers, as if witnessing some street gang execution. Stanley Jackson, another boy, quickly emerges.

"Let him go."

The first teen’s gaze shifts from the frog to his friend. "What?"

"Let him go. It ain’t right to kill him."

The boy swallows hard. He looks at the frog, then back into Stanley’s unyielding eyes that look like they did when he shared about his mother’s recent death from cancer. The boy slowly relaxes his grip and the other boys cheer as the frog hops to freedom.

Making memories: From left, Mike Cumberland, Brandon Traenkner, Jesmar Matos, Samuel Drayton, Tiaheem Thomas and Joshua Fontanez form lasting friendships at Camp Melody.


"A year earlier, he would have killed the frog anyway," says Dawn Fossnes, member of New Life Assembly of God in Ocean City, N.J., and founder of Melody Ministries, Inc., a Christian outreach for underprivileged boys ages 10-14. "Each year, the boys learn a little more about proper choices and serving God."

Camp Melody — named after Fossnes’s goddaughter Melody McTamney who died of leukemia at three weeks old — opened in 1999, fulfilling a 15-year dream Fossnes’ had of starting a free camp for those from troubled homes. The camps have been held at rented grounds while Fossnes seeks a permanent site.

"My mom is a drug addict, and my dad was a Christian but died in 1996," says 13-year-old Howard Ayllon of the Bronx, who is originally from Puerto Rico. "My aunt is raising me, my brother and three sisters. She was a drug addict, but accepted Christ as her Savior when Dad died."

Howard wants to become a preacher. He helps with the food pantry at his inner-city mission church, and hands out church fliers and gospel tracts on subways. At the camp last year Howard heeded a sermon about boldly sharing God’s truths. "God spoke to me and I stood up and said yes I am ready to tell the world about Jesus," he says.

Testimonies such as Howard’s are why Fossnes plans to expand Melody Ministries. To keep contact throughout the year, adult volunteers make a commitment to pray for and write to one of the boys periodically, including for his birthday. "The boys get their first letter from this prayer partner on the last day of camp," Fossnes says. "These partners make a commitment until the boy is out of high school. It’s good for the prayer partners, too. It gives the boys permanence, hope and love where there hadn’t been any."

Fossnes says the boys respond enthusiastically to any attention. "The speaker at camp last year asked if anyone needed a hug and they all lined up."

– John Cockroft


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