BE youth center is a place of ‘refuge’
After the hustle of a busy week, Blue Earth Area students have somewhere to find peace a refuge.
That place is the Youth For Christ building which was recently given a new name, The Refuge.
Aaron Evenson, the area director of Youth For Christ, came to Blue Earth five years ago.
On June 13, Youth for Christ held a ribbon cutting in honor of the new name, The Refuge, and as a four-year celebration of it’s success in Blue Earth so far.
“The name now reflects what this is; a haven. It’s a place to unwind at the end of a week and share a positive message of God’s love and the Gospel,” Evenson says.
But, deciding upon the new name wasn’t the easiest for Evenson and the Youth for Christ group.
“We went through a lot of names,” he says. “We had started to lose hope on finding one.”
Refuge is a biblical name, stemming from Psalm 91:2, that reflects the theme and goal of the Youth for Christ ministry.
The goal of the Refuge building is simple.
“We want to give every kid a chance to make an informed decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ,” Evenson explains.
To do that, the students can attend a Friday night program that includes a 10-minute presentation. Those nights will include various speakers and people who share the gospel with students.
“We probably have about 50-70 students that take part in that program,”?he says.
Then, for those interested, The Refuge hosts a more in-depth Bible study on Sunday nights. That group averages about 10-12 students a week.
There is also a student-led Bible study called Campus 180 which is held at the high school.
As a result of these programs, along with having the drop in center available for students to come and spend time, Youth for Christ hopes to eventually place students in a church within the community.
“We ultimately want to take non-Christian kids and plug them into a church,”?Evenson says. “So our goal here is that they will learn about God and who He is and why He cares.”
He says they have seen success in that many students have found a church to attend in the area, which leads to these students becoming involved in other church and community programs.
“We have a long way to go, but we’ve helped and we’d continue to do anything to help,” Evenson adds.
Aside from the big change of the new name, The Refuge has been improved upon physically over the last few years.
Some of those changes have included replacing the roof, fixing windows, new air-conditioning units, painting walls, new carpets and improving the flooring.
“We still have changes to make,”?he says. “But this building has been such a blessing.”
The timing for acquiring the former methodist church building was perfect. Evenson came to Blue Earth and three months later got the building.
So, he hopes the ribbon cutting ceremony was able to serve as a way to get The Refuge name out to the community.
“We encourage people to stop in and see what we have here,”?he says.
Evenson feels they are more established, and having the ribbon cutting four years later will be a good way to get the name out there.
“This way we can make it more official and let the community know we plan to be here for a long time,”?he says.
As for the future, he hopes The Refuge will be able to add additional staff members and more after-school programs.
Currently, Evenson is the only staff at the Blue Earth Youth for Christ center. However, there are very dedicated volunteers who make a lot of the programs at The Refuge a success.
“We always could use more volunteers here,”?he adds.
But, most importantly, they have been and continue to be able to provide just what the new name reflects.
“This is a place of shelter from the storms of life,”?he says. “Kids get a new start and a chance for a brighter future. We have seen them restored.”