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Resident starting ministry for military teens

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POSTED: August 25, 2010 3:14 p.m.
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A snowboarding trip was a treat for the military teen ministry in Germany.

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New Richmond Hill resident Jimmy Bryan feels he and his family were sent here with a purpose.

For many years, Bryan has served in overseas ministries targeted towards teens of U.S. military families. He believes that this particular group, which he calls a “third-culture” because they are not military, not civilian, and generally not catered to by military support groups, needs their own special form of support.

“Right now, with all the involvement we have with Iraq, Afghanistan … and not only the frequent deployments, but the multiple deployments, the impact on the military family has been astounding,” said Bryan. “You look at a young person who’s been in their formative years over the last 10 to 12 years, and one of their parents may have been gone for six, seven, or eight years even, so where are they finding a foundation? So we’re trying to support (them).”

Through Club Beyond / Youth Life Military Ministries, Bryan hopes to set up such a ministry in Richmond Hill.

“We are a youth outreach organization. You’ll see a lot of organizations that have a military faction, but we do military ministry in the grand scheme of things. We specifically do youth ministry for the military,” he said.

The ministry will take on the structure of a club or weekly group meeting, featuring dinners, games, skits, and music. Special outings will include activities like paintball, camping, and more.

In this way, Bryan hopes the ministry will be a healthy environment in which teens can gradually share or learn about faith.

He stresses that religion will not be forced upon them. “We just live life with them. Ultimately, when the questions come up, like ‘Why are you so different?’ ‘Why are you always happy?’ … that’s a great opportunity to talk and share,” explained Bryan.

For now, the Tennessee native and father of two is focusing on getting the word out, recruiting volunteers, and organizing the program. He encourages “anyone who wants to touch the military families in the community, educate the community, and love and reach out to the teens” to join him in the effort.

Bryan wants to see this ministry become a fixture in Richmond Hill for decades to come.

“We believe there are good messages for every kid in this community. Every single kid. I just want to love them and make sure they realize the opportunities in life,” he stressed.

To learn more about the ministry, or to volunteer your time or donate to the cause, please call Jimmy or Heather Bryan at (912) 344-6612.
 

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