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December 31, 2000: California church trailblazer for city's revitalization

December 24, 2000: New Jersey township retracts impediment to A/G congregation

December 10, 2000: Christmas stocking project brings hope, gifts to needy kids

November 26, 2000: A/G church looks to second half-century with founding pastor

November 19, 2000: Quest for souls occupies Christians during Olympics

November 12, 2000: Three ministers reaching their world

October 29, 2000: A/G Minister to ride to each state capitol, pray for nation

October 22, 2000: Art academy connects students with Creator

October 15, 2000: Columbine survivors share testimonies, hundreds respond

October 8, 2000: Graham conducts final evangelism conference

September 24, 2000: Independent congregation receives help from Lousiana A/G church

September 17, 2000: California ministry team breaking strongholds

August 27, 2000: Bold outreach touches hurting in Allentown

August 20, 2000: Baptist church gives A/G congregation its facility

August 13, 2000: Climbers conquer Kilimanjaro, help A/G

July 30, 2000: Chicago church, city partner to improve lives of women, children

July 9, 2000: New Mexico fires damage A/G families’ homes

June 25, 2000: God moves in Mississippi high school assembly

June 18, 2000: California skate park becomes 'teen church'

June 11, 2000: Convoy and partners team up to reach poor

May 28, 2000: Tornado damages A/G church in Texas

May 21, 2000: National Prayer Center ministry expands reach

May 14, 2000: Adventure, ministry on Pathfinder missions

April 30, 2000: Church reaching deaf students in Louisiana

April 23, 2000: 40-day fasts unite, renew A/G churches

April 9, 2000: Colorado church booms with bilingual services

March 26, 2000: Cell groups strengthen California youth group

March 19, 2000: Michigan church bounces back from brink of closing

March 12, 2000: A/G man holds world arm-wrestling title

February 27, 2000: A/G minister helps others get their wings

February 20, 2000: Former editor with Christ

 

Columbine survivors share testimonies, hundreds respond

A throng of young people gathered around makeshift altars in the Rush City (Minn.) High School gymnasium after two survivors of the Columbine High School shooting shared their testimonies and challenged the audience not to take life for granted.

"It was so real," Becki Olseen, 16, says of the "Littleton Meets Minnesota" outreach to teens. "Here were people who lost 13 people at their school and they almost lost their lives — that really got to me."

Nancy Swanson, youth pastor at the Assembly of God, Pine City, Minn., says more than 2,000 heard the Littleton message.

Olseen acknowledged making a Christian profession before she attended the March outreach, but her faith had been waning due to peer pressure and apathy. However, since the night of the event, she says, her heart and attitude have changed and she is "totally focused on God."

Others had similar reactions to the gathering that promised to tell the real stories of how triumph came out of tragedy. Bill and Sheila Hanson took their children so they could hear what the students from Littleton had to say.

"We had no idea it was a revival," Hanson says. "We thought it was just the kids from Littleton coming to talk about what happened. But my husband decided to go at the last minute and it changed his life."

Bill Hanson had struggled with alcohol before attending the event, but Sheila says he broke free after making a commitment to Christ as he sat in the bleachers watching the program.

"He has not touched alcohol since that night," Sheila says. "Our family has completely changed."

After Columbine students Lauren Beyer and Heidi Johnson gave their testimonies, 17-year-old Josh Weidmann of Littleton preached a salvation message.

"The wave of God’s power just seemed to build as Josh gave one of the most convincing cases for following Christ I have ever heard," says George Halama, founder of Scarlet Circle Ministries, which partnered with Pine City A/G to produce the event. "When Josh gave the invitation the entire altar area filled backing people up into the aisles."

"It was powerful to see the reaction of the kids," says Gary Johnson, pastor of Pine City A/G. "The power of the Lord brought the people to the altars."

Nancy Swanson, youth pastor at Pine City A/G, says more than 2,000 heard the Littleton message. Of those, 100 made decisions to follow Christ as their Lord and Savior for the first time and 150 more rededicated their lives.

"We wanted to do this because this is a hard area to bring the gospel to," Swanson says. "Most of the kids don’t know about altar calls, but when they went forward they dropped to their knees. It was awesome to see hundreds of people get on their faces before God."

Following the event, Pine City A/G started a youth ministry called "The Gathering" at a local restaurant that went out of business. Every Monday night teen-agers come to listen to Christian music, play video games, eat and meet other youth.

Swanson has a team of teen leaders who welcome visitors and pray for those in need. "It’s a hook to get us talking with the kids," she says. Since the ministry began, several have made a Christian commitment.

— Kirk Noonan

 

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