Ministry Update: April 2020

Dear Praying Friends,

Thank you for praying for our family, and the children/families our ministry serves.  During the Covid-19 pandemic, we’ve been able to provide groceries and hygiene supplies for the AOS migrant/mobile home community we serve regularly through our neighborhood programs. We’re also monitoring and responding to needs of households our KidVenturez and camp programs serve (a good number of which are elderly grandparents with custodial guardianship over the grandkids, and shouldn’t be going out into public places right now). The support of our faithful partners is helping us to serve these households in a time of crisis.

Experts predict that our nation will get back to relative “normalcy” sometime around June, coincidentally the time our summer camp ministry kicks off. Your Easter gift to Breakaway Outreach will help give at-risk children a life-changing, hope-restoring summer camp experience this year, at a very critical time when kids will need to be processing all that has unfolded during this worldwide tragedy. They will be ripe with questions about God, faith, suffering, grief, and loss (read further to see our strategy for serving any kids who may not be able to participate in a residential summer camp due to this pandemic).

During times of pandemic, the body of Christ has historically shined the brightest. If you want to know how Christianity went from an obscure and marginal movement to representing around 6 million believers by AD 300, historians will tell you that the way Christians responded to plagues was a huge factor. I wrote about these historical accounts in the fourth chapter of my book “Shapers: Leadership That Restores Hope, Rebuilds Lives.”

The Gospel doesn’t take a back seat in times like this; it remains our steering wheel. Reaching vulnerable kids with hope isn’t on hold. Shaping resilience in young lives, helping struggling families, and strengthening communities isn’t being postponed. Compassion isn’t canceled. Now, perhaps more than ever in this generation, souls are searching for hope and ready for spiritual answers to the world’s unrest.

As a dear friend, partner, and shareholder in this ministry, we want you to know that our outreach efforts are not paused during “social distancing.” We have been engaged in serving area families facing hardship in the midst of this pandemic, bringing essential food and hygiene aid to low-income households that our ministry serves throughout the year. We are also confident that our Summer of Hope 2020 is going to reach more kids and families with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ than we could have ever imagined before this global emergency.

Most of our friends understand that this is the time of year we are raising funds for kids to go to summer camp. Breakaway provides day camps and residential summer camps for at-risk kids all across our region. More than 95% of the kids who attend our camps in Tennessee would likely not be able to participate in a summer camp without the financial aid of a scholarship. Over the years, we have provided camp scholarships for kids affected by economic insecurity, family hardship, parental incarceration, domestic abuse, and various forms of trauma. Our camps have also been a place of refuge for foster children, orphans, and kids from migrant/refugee communities. We are driven by the belief that no child should have to face hardship alone.

What makes Breakaway camp so unique? It is one of the few camps built specifically for kids facing systemic hardship and high-risk social factors. Everything from our Bible curriculum to the daily recreational activities are structured around building social resilience and spiritual enrichment, taking into account the special needs of our campers. Because of the common struggles that our campers share, they know that this community is a safe place to talk about their problems without risk of being stigmatized, branded, or labeled.

This year’s camp curriculum for our residential and day camps is called “God of the Odds.” It’s based on the Old Testament life of Gideon. This resilient “overcomer” story will resonate with our kids in several particular ways—Gideon was born into family hardship, his future looked bleak, he struggled with injustices, his people were forced into “social distancing” due to Midianite oppression, he had feelings of insecurity and inferiority, he faced insurmountable odds, and yet he saw God come through despite those odds. What a powerfully urgent message for kids living in the middle of a global crisis!!!

We understand that Coronavirus could affect how we flesh out our camp ministry this summer, but it will not stop the impact or the creative ingenuity of our outreach. As we continue to prepare for our “normal” camp ministry, we are also implementing a contingency campaign to distribute “camp in a backpack” to any kids who may not be able to participate in a typical summer camp due to this pandemic or its ripple affects. The backpacks, delivered to children across the East Tennessee region, will include: Bibles, daily Bible lessons, games, crafts, nutritious snacks, a birthday gift card, and a personalized note from a “Breakaway Angel” who is praying for them. They will know that they are not forgotten! We can’t empower kids without your help. Any donation you can make right now will ensure that underserved children get a summer camp experience in one form or another. Thank you for standing with the children, struggling families, and us during this pandemic. We are all in this together, and we will prevail by the grace of God.

God has made us for such a time as this. These aren’t days for fear or trepidation, but days that call for bold faith and gritty courage in the face of an unseen adversary. Nobody understands the concept of an invisible enemy more than Bible-believing followers of Jesus Christ, yet we know WHO wins this war. Easter is an occasion to celebrate and proclaim His triumph over every enemy—including the grave! HE IS THE GOD OF OUR ODDS, and He will never fail you, beloved. Let me encourage you with two unshakeable thoughts David penned in scripture: Psalm 37:25 “I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread,” and Psalm 27:13 “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” He will provide, my friend. He always has. God bless you and yours during this trial.

Betting on the God of the Odds,
Jimmy and Cindy Larche

Summer Camp for At-Risk Youth: In Their Words

“This is the funnest thing on earth.” Breakaway’s summer camp for prisoners’ kids, at-risk youth, and underprivileged children.

This has been our ninth year of providing summer camps for prisoners’ kids, at-risk youth, and underprivileged children. Some of the stories we’ve heard at camp this year have been heart-rending…

A 14-yr old girl shared how she was the one to find the body of her grandmother’s boyfriend just after he put a pistol in his mouth and pulled the trigger. She confessed to being suicidal herself and shared how just two weeks before camp, she wanted to take her own life but the thought of going to summer camp gave her a glimmer of hope. Continue reading “Summer Camp for At-Risk Youth: In Their Words”

Breakaway Summer Camp: Fearless

Breakaway’s summer camp for children of prisoners, at-risk youth, and disadvantage kids. Our theme this year was “Fearless.” Kids learned five daily principles:

1. Day One: Because of God’s presence, I can face anything. (Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego)
2. Day Two: Because of God’s purpose, I can risk boldly. (Esther)
3. Day Three: Because of God’s power, I live with a different perspective. (Lazarus)
4. Day Four: Because of God’s peace, I can overcome evil. (Stephen)
5. Day Five: Because of God’s perseverance, I can finish strong. (Paul)

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Summer Camp Testimony: A Changed Life!

Breakaway’s summer camp is almost here and we are going to be hosting the largest camp we’ve ever had in nine years!

I want to post a testimony from the mother of a youth who has been impacted by this incredible ministry.

K.B. came to summer camp for the first time three years ago. Both of his parents were incarcerated, and his mother had just been released at the time he received a scholarship to attend camp.

During that first summer camp experience, K.B. showed up with somewhat of a chip on his shoulder. He showed signs of a kid with some anger issues. He struggled at first to respect leaders, and almost got into a fight with another camper. But our camp staff was disciplined, patient, and loving in helping Kobie settle in and realize that he was in a safe place to be open about his struggles.

One night there was a particular incident where K.B. had been in a conflict, and as we worked to resolve that issue he broke down in remorse. He cried. We prayed with him. Then he cried some more and we prayed some more.

We saw a noticeable change in K.B. from that moment on.

K.B. has not only been coming to summer camp for three years now, he has attended Breakaway Christmas parties, Kidventurez outings, and benefited from mentoring relationships with caring adults through this ministry. His dad was released from prison, got married to his mother, and the father has now gone back to school to finish his education. Today, their family is thriving.

K.B. also just received an award from the National Junior Honor Society. NJHS serves to honor those students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of scholarship, leadership, service, citizenship and character. Common requirement include maintaining a high grade point average (the national minimum is a 3.0) and becoming good citizens (by participating in service projects).

His mother wrote to us and said, “You guys are a big part of our [K.B.] accomplishments. Thank you.”

We are looking forward to having K.B. back at camp this summer and grooming his leadership capacity.

Summer Camp for Chattanooga At-Risk Youth and Children

We are just a few weeks away from launching our 9th annual summer camp for at-risk youth, prisoners’ kids, and disadvantaged children.

It’s hard to believe that nearly a decade has gone by since that first camping experience in 2007. We’ve seen so many changed lives, including maturing youth leaders (disciples) who will be serving at camp this year! At one time they were just nine or ten year old campers themselves, hearing the Gospel for the first time at summer camp. This year, they will be serving as cabin leaders, recreation coordinators, team captains, and bearing other leadership responsibilities.

Making disciples and shaping future leaders is what summer camp is all about!!!

This year, we already have more campers registered than ever before, and we are trusting God for a harvest of changed lives, new mentoring relationships to take shape, and many next-step opportunities to serve the families of these children all year round. Camp always breeds movements that continue to reach under-served communities long after kids go back home.

Would you begin to pray with us that this year’s summer camp would usher in God’s Kingdom in places and lives where darkness has prevailed?

CampCard 3 (272)Our kids have experienced so many issues with abandonment, despair, and desertion… I remember when Amanda (pictured) came to our camp a few years back. She climbed the ropes course and got stuck at the top. Rather than allowing the assistants to get her down immediately, she persevered for 45 minutes as she refused to quit and continued to press through until she ‘conquered’ that ropes course. “If I can do this, I can face anything in life,” she later told a team leader. It’s an amazing thing to see kids develop resiliency skills and perseverance traits in their character, seemingly overnight, during summer camp.

I was in Baltimore when the riots broke out last week. Seeing such unrest, despair, and a sense of hopelessness with young people breaks my heart. We can all do more to bring healing and reconciliation to our communities. Where do we start? Over the years I’ve learned a valuable leadership lesson, and that is this…

… DO FOR ONE WHAT YOU WISH YOU COULD DO FOR ALL.

What can you do to help bring hope to hurting communities? Maybe you could help send ONE child to summer camp.

Kat-Camp72We still have several young people on a waiting list for a full or partial summer camp scholarship. A full scholarship is $175. Give here. For those of you who have already given, YOUR GIFTS ARE SHAPING ETERNITY IN THE HEART OF OUR NATION’S MOST DESPERATE KIDS. THANK YOU!!!

In addition to praying for our campers and their families, please pray for our staff, leadership team, counselors, and bus drivers. So many people give of their time and resources to make camp a place where Jesus is glorified and lives are transformed. Blood, sweat, and tears make it all happen, but nothing makes it as fruitful and spiritually effective as God’s people praying for breakthroughs, victories, and triumphs over the scars in these kids’ lives.

We are humbled by His grace, empowered by His Spirit, and so incredibly grateful for your partnership in this Kingdom movement.

jim-and-cid-blue
Jimmy and Cindy Larche
Founders (Breakaway Outreach)

Germany Missions Report: Baseball Camp

2014 Germany Missions Report

One of the unique aspects about Breakaway Outreach is that we are not only committed to serving the under-served children and at-risk youth in our communities, but we are consistently making disciples by empowering, equipping, and mobilizing these same kids to grow spiritually and serve others.

Two great pictures of this are seen in Antwon and Ryan.
missions report
We love to tell Antwon’s story (pictured above with Jimmy)… as a 9-yr old prisoner’s kid, he attended our summer camp for the first time in 2007. He has attended each year and has steadily become more involved with church life over the last few years. At seventeen, Antwon just returned from his first overseas mission trip in Germany, where he had the opportunity to coach baseball to children and share his testimony with multitudes of German young people.

Another teenager who served on that mission trip, Ryan (pictured below at Breakaway’s summer camp), was recommended for our summer camp in 2009, shortly after losing his mother and little sister in a car accident. Ryan gave his life to Jesus at summer camp, and was later baptized and taken in by a loving church family. Today, he serves faithfully on the worship team at his church.

germany missions report

A few years ago, a divinely orchestrated sequence of events led us to begin an outreach partnership in Germany. This outreach is reaching youth and children through gospel-centered baseball camps. It’s a powerful evangelistic movement that is multiplying quickly in Germany. This summer, we saw young people responding to the Gospel during “Team Times” on the baseball field, as well as souls coming to Jesus through the camp evening services. During the first evening of camp we had a teenager from Zimbabwe come forward for salvation. She came weeping and confessed, “I saw Jesus with arms open wide saying, ‘Come to me.’”

One of the most powerful testimonies from baseball camp was from a single mother of a family that was once “Romani” gypsies. She approached Jimmy after an evening worship service, asking if she could tell him her story…

In 2011, her family was new to Germany, after stints in Macedonia, Bulgaria, Greece, and Italy. They were having a very difficult time fitting into the culture and learning the language. It was during this time that they were given a brochure about baseball camp. They found it intriguing but didn’t follow up with it until the following summer. When they heard that baseball camp was coming again in 2012, she registered her three kids to attend.

One by one her children began following Jesus. They were so excited that they invited their mother to come to the camp evening services at the church. She declined, but was so happy to see her kids finally finding a community to become a part of in Germany. The next year, in 2013, she finally obliged to her kids’ constant begging, and attended a camp evening service. Her family was showered with love from the local church family and from the Americans who were visiting.

She has been no stranger to church ever since!

Last year, when baseball camp was over, there was discussion about whether or not there would be a baseball camp in 2014. The church talked about taking a year off, but too many parents came forward and said, “We must have baseball camp next year!” The Romani “gypsy” and single mother of three, came forward and said, “I don’t have much to offer. My home isn’t very big. But I will do whatever it takes to help make baseball camp happen next year—even opening up my home to host the Americans.”

That mother was a remarkable host parent this year to two of our Americans during baseball camp—one being Antwon. Her 14-year old son was baptized along with two others whose lives had been transformed by baseball camp. Her son will be coming to America to serve with our ministry this October through December. We are so excited to receive him, fill him up with some great southern cooking, and shower him with more and more of God’s amazing love.

As that mother looked Jimmy in the eyes during the camp evening service, her voice cracking and her face wet with tears, she told him to go back home and tell the Americans that it is all worth it.

Her family has been transformed by the power of God’s love. And the instrument that God has used to reach her household is baseball—a simple American pastime, but a dynamic evangelistic tool in Germany.

God is using the simple obedience of you and me to bring the nations to Himself; Germany, Zimbabwe, Romani gypsies, prisoners’ kids, orphans, the margins of society to the ends of the earth!

We are so humbled to be serving a God who always gives the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6-7). May we keep planting, keep watering, and keep looking to Him to finish what He has begun through the spirit of outreach and missions in our lives.

Sharing His heart for every nation, every tribe, and every people,

Jimmy and Cindy Larche
Founders and Lead Missionaries
 

Shame is No Longer My Name: Ministry to At-Risk Youth

Shame_450Last week, I had the privilege of speaking at Camp David of the Ozarks Banquet for Hope. Their summer camp for prisoners’ kids is very similar to our ministry to at-risk youth, Breakaway Outreach.

Founders Benjamin and Grace Smith are inspiring folks who have written a powerful book about working with at-risk youth called Shame is No Longer My Name. Here are four reasons why you should read this book: Continue reading “Shame is No Longer My Name: Ministry to At-Risk Youth”

2012 Uncle Wilbert Summer Camp Adventures

Every year at Breakaway’s summer camp for at-risk youth and under-served children, Uncle Wilbert and Aunt Sally Mae do a video skit for the kids. Here is last year’s 2011 Uncle Wilbert Adventures and this year’s 2012 sequel, for your spiritual enlightenment and twisted sense of humor! Comment and LIKE on Facebook.

Continue reading “2012 Uncle Wilbert Summer Camp Adventures”

5 Ways You Can Pray for Summer Camp and Broken Families

Breakaway Outreach will be facilitating multiple camps throughout the summer for prisoners’ kids, under-served children, and at-risk youth. Our first camping experience kicks off in just a few days (June 4) in Robbinsville, North Carolina. Here are some specific ways you can pray for our summer Kidz Camps…

Continue reading “5 Ways You Can Pray for Summer Camp and Broken Families”

And the Winner of the 2012 Dodging Delinquency® dodgeball event is… [PHOTOS]

Thank you to everyone who participated in Breakaway’s Dodging Delinquency Charity Dodgeball Tournament to help send prisoners’ kids to summer camp this year. Your sportsmanship was incredible and your support will go a long way in empowering the lives of at-risk kids in our community. Thank you Hamilton Place Menchies; your yogurt is amazing and your dodgeballs were perfect! Thank you Little Caesars Pizza for catering. Check out the Facebook photos and the WDEF Channel 12 news video about the event here.

Continue reading “And the Winner of the 2012 Dodging Delinquency® dodgeball event is… [PHOTOS]”