In Forward in Christ, we report the news but aren’t always able to follow up. Where are they now? is our way of giving you the rest of the story.
In April 2004, we told you about the ROC, a youth recreation and outreach center in Watertown, Wis.
Here’s a recap:
The ROC opened in December 2003 as a partnership between the four WELS churches in Watertown. The congregations saw the need in their community for a gathering place for teens. Students in grades 7 through 12 would visit the ROC to hang out, do homework, and play games. Pastor Tim Mueller, the center’s director, also offered Bible talks and optional Bible study sessions and spent time interacting with the teens and counseling them as necessary.
So where are they now?
“What has stayed the same and will always be the same at the ROC is that Christ, our Savior, is the foundation,” says Mueller, who still serves as the ROC’s director.
Today 40 to 50 teens attend the ROC each of the four nights each week that it’s open. As Mueller notes, “When is it ever possible to share forgiveness through Christ with so many unchurched teenagers at one time?”
One teenager with whom Mueller shared God’s Word was Brandon Simmons. Simmons has many physical challenges, and Mueller says that prior to attending the ROC, Simmons had been so severely bullied that he was contemplating suicide.
Simmons notes, “After a few months of going to the ROC as a teen, I actually felt normal. I say this because I am not normal on the outside because of my physical disabilities, but through the ROC and Jesus’ Word, I am normal.”
“The first time Brandon came to the ROC in 2007, he stepped in and then immediately stepped out due to fear,” says Mueller, “but I followed him and encouraged him to come in. Since then he has been attending almost every night the ROC is open. As time went along, Brandon attended our nightly Bible devotions (Bible/Talk Time) and came to know and believe in his Savior. He began to attend church at one of our WELS churches and then brought his parents with him. When asked how he is forgiven by God or how he will get to heaven, he always uses his pointing finger to point up to Christ his Savior.”
Simmons eventually became a junior volunteer and now is an adult volunteer at the center. He is one of approximately 75 teens who have been baptized during their time at the ROC.
Todd Morris has volunteered at the ROC for 13 years. He notes, “When a teen asks to be baptized and states, ‘I want to go to heaven . . .’ and you realize that this teen didn’t know what God or heaven was about before attending the ROC . . . What more can you ask for?”
Learn more about the ROC at thewttnroc.com.
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Volume 104, Number 3
Issue: March 2017
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