Youth ministry programs

News Release: October 2010

"To silence my cries, the workers would inject me with sleeping medication."

I want to share my story with you, and invite you into a glimpse of my world. When I was born my mother was a single parent and unable to support me. She looked to family for help, and was rejected. So she tried to raise me, but was unable to earn enough money to feed me. She decided to send me to a state institutional orphanage. At this orphanage there were literally hundreds of babies and children. The workers were few, and so often times I would sit in a soiled diaper for hours on end. I would cry in pain from the rashes and infections of not being properly cared for. To silence my cries, the workers would inject me with sleeping medication. My cries did cease, however, my body started to stop functioning. My body was not developing properly as an infant, and my brain was not getting what it needed to grow. At the age of five I became handicapped and mute. My mother came back to claim me and take care of me. However, the doctor told her that I would remain in this condition and never be healthy again. This burdened her heart because she wanted her child back, but would not be able to take care of a now handicapped child.

A few weeks later, an organization decided to claim me as their own. The brought me to a home where I would have a mother and father for life. I would have 15 brothers and sisters and people that told me they loved me. After some time, proper nourishment, and the overflow of Gods love being poured into my life...I was healed. My body began re-developing and my brain started functioning properly. I currently run a kitchen in a hotel and on my off time I get to visit and serve the elderly. I have more energy than most people you would ever meet, and Gods light shines out of me.

News Release: July 19, 2010

"Please God, protect us. I can't die like this...I still have so much to do with my life."

TANZANIA - "God, I can't die like this

There is something different about a prayer when you think it may be your last. When you are praying for your life, I believe it's then that God literally puts you in the palm of His hand.I hate when people say "The day began just like any other day..." but this one did...Kinda ...

We arrived at the house, and found out that the person sick was a little boy. He had cancer. They couldn't afford treatment for him so he just lived with the pain. The pain was severe in his leg and stomach. As I leaned over and prayed for him and said "God, this is where we NEED you to heal this boy. You send us out to heal the sick. This boy has no means of being healed but by your grace." At that point, all the pain in my legs and stomach went away. It was as though I was having the pain, for this little boy. I continued to pray for him, and I believe that God will heal him.

youth ministry programs

We then returned to the house and Jessica, Jillian, and Trevor were working out. We all laughed together as they did the intense moves of P90X. After the workout, our contacts David and Martin called us to the kitchen for dinner. As I walked over to the table I heard a huge bang. It sounded like a tree falling onto the door. Then I heard the pound again, and it was coming from the back door of our kitchen. My instincts told me that this was not normal. I screamed " someone is breaking in!" and I ran towards my bedroom.

A moment later and the intruders had broken through the back door using cement blocks. They marched forward with a gunman in the front, and men with clubs in their hands. My team scattered frantically trying to find somewhere to go. (From this point forward, I can only tell you my account of the story because we were all separated).

I had run into my bedroom, turned off the light, and closed the door. Jenae knocked on the door and said "Jessi, let me in, its Jenae." I opened the door and the key fell out of the lock. Jenae came in and I slammed the door shut behind her. I was unable to lock the door, so I braced it with my body. Jenae ran around the room trying to find somewhere for us to hide. We were unable to fit under the bed, and the closet had no coverage because there were no doors. I told Jenae to just help me hold the door. She sat beside me and braced her leg in the door frame of the storage closet.

I began praying harder then I have ever prayed in my life. I asked God for forgiveness for my sins, and to protect us. I said to God "God, I can't die like this...I can't die like this...I know you have so much you still want me to do..please help us." I then heard them break down Trevors door. My heart started beating so hard I could feel it in my mouth. Jenae and I grabbed each others hand and held our fingers interlocked until our knuckles turned white. I could hear the men screaming, and I couldn't hear anyone from my team...

To read the conclusion of this story, please visit Jessie at her personal website: Jessi Marquez

When on her website, click on ... "The night I prayed for my life".

Jessi is taking the book "Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meetings" with her on her mission voyage. For reviews of the book, please click:
Not the Same Old, Done-it-before Youth Meeting (the book)

youth group games

" The ideas here work. I know that because I've seen them work. Every one has been teen-tested."...Frank Tangredi, youth leader, New York

Click here for more "Activities for Christian Youth Programs"

News Release: June 1, 2010

Jessi in Thailand ... June 1, 2010

PROTESTS IN THAILAND The Red Shirt political protest in Bangkok, Thailand has been active for nearly two months now, and has entered a new, deadly phase in the past week, with at least 36 of the total 60 deaths occurring in just the last few days. Anti-government protesters have barricaded themselves against government troops and the Thai army has declared certain protest areas to be "Live Fire Zones". A state of emergency is in effect, covering 17 provinces in the country, as protesters have refused orders to leave, and news just emerged that a renegade general who supported the Red Shirts, Khattiya Sawatdithol, died today from a gunshot wound he suffered on May 13th.- Boston Globe

Our First Week In Thailand we were traveling to a temple. On the way back to our base a huge storm erupted. Rushing to find cover, we somehow ended up amongst the protesters. Tires with spears surround the "red shirts" while people warn us to keep moving. Please keep the people in Thailand in your prayers

News Release: March 23, 2010

Jessi in Malaysia ... April 23, 2010

Okay...I guess it's about that time that I share with you all what Malaysia has been like. Our ministry contacts are AMAZING, and fill our days with so many great opportunities. My team is really growing, and I literally am learning something EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Restaurant Ministry:

Our Ministry contacts own a restaurant. From 12-2 we work at the restaurant doing all different tasks. I am one of the waitresses. Who knew that I would be waitressing on The World Race. This is a great opportunity to help the ministry make money, as well as meet people in the area.

Cell Group: Cell groups are small groups of people that meet together. We meet with a group every Wednesday night. My team has led worship for this cell group, as well as given sermons. Last week I was able to give a sermon on "The Servants Heart." It was a great opportunity to share with those what I believe it means to be Christian. I think such a core value in Christianity is SERVING others, and putting others before yourself.

Community Feedings: We have had the opportunity to feed the hungry in Kuala Lumpur. God teaches us to feed the that is what we do.

Skits and Dramas: We have created skits for children, as well as learned the "everything" drama. Skits and dramas are a great way to reach out to people when there is a language barrier. Plus...they are kinda fun to do!

Childrens Ministry:

We have created songs, skits, and lessons for children. One weekend, we were in the Jungle and did 6 Children services in 3 days!! We sang screaming songs, songs with hand and body motions, skits with lessons, etc. Often times we are put on the spot to LEAD. I once had to come up with a devotional for the children with no prep. I did the lesson on how God wants to change us...and had the children act like catapillars and butterflies. Why crawl when you have the ability to fly? Reaching out to Prostitutes:


This was probably the hardest/most rewarding ministry for me. Our team would go into bars and clubs that were known for hosting prostitutes. We would go in pairs, and try to befriend the girls. We would get their contact information, and then call them at a later date to meet up. Then an organization we work with mentors them and gets them out of prostitution. I have met some really sweet and amazing women while doing this. This is a very hard ministry to do though because it is very hard to watch what goes on. Watching the businessmen purchase the women made me sick to the core. The first night I went, I spent hours crying asking God to help me forgive these men. I felt so much anger toward them. It breaks my heart seeing what sin can cause.

Jessi in Philippines ... March 2010

9 kids ... no bathroom ... 1 bed ... rat bites ... lice ... sickness

These were the words that stuck in my head when "Mama Marilyn" described the family we could potentially help. The first week here I went over to this family's "home"...

The first morning Jessica and I walked Sanji and Sunshine to school. They had missed so much school that they were going to be kicked out. We decided that until their graduation mid March, that we would go to their house every morning and walk them.

Their mother was sick, and did not have the energy to get the girls ready for school. She was using all of her energy to take care of her four younger children -

a 2 month old baby

a 1 year old girl named Rhea

a little boy named Nestle that is almost 3

and a 5 year old girl named Angel.

from left to right: Nestle with Dad, Mom with Rhea, Myself with Angel, Sangi, Jessica and Sunshine

I remember the first morning we spent in their house. The 2 month old was so malnurished ...she was able to fit in the palm of my hands. Rhea was very sick and was covered in dirt, while Nestle ran around naked covered in his own urine. Angel ran up to me with open arms...her hair infested with lice that I was able to pull clumps out with my fingers.

Throughout this month we have been able to get the girls to graduate and stay in school. We have given Rhea, Nestle, and Angel showers, and held them as they fell asleep in our arms. We have played games with them, taught songs, and loved them. We have taught them about the Love of God and prayed for them.

I ask you now to keep this family in your prayers. They are in desperate need of a home. Pray for their health and that God will continue to bring people in their lives that can help them.

News Release: February 20, 2010

Jessi in Australia ... February 2010

Throughout the day some of us got to know an Aboriginal woman named Marlene. The homeless community here is primarily made up of the native Aborigines. Jessi saw her and approached her suspecting that she was having a hard time. Marlene told Jessi that her sister had abused her and that she was very scared.

What I am going to share with you is something that happened while praying for Marlene...

While we were at her "home" I sat with her on the floor while she sang for me. I prayed strongly for her protection and asked God to send angels to watch over her. A few of my teammates were with me and all praying for her while she started to rest. She then asked me to Sing for her. I started nervously laughing. I am very self concious about my voice. I used to love singing but when I got sick and had to take steroids to be healed, my voice became raspy and made it very hard for me to sing. When I am in worship I always pray that God would heal my voice so I could feel confident in praising Him. This hurting woman wanted me to front of my TEAM MATES! I laughed and looked at my team mates about what to give me a song to sing...or to sing with me. I then just prayed that God would give me the words because I was just soo nervous! Then the song "Thy word" came into my head and I just started singing. My mom would sing this to me as a child and it was the first Christian song I ever learned. As I was singing to her my heart was focusing on EVERY word. I never knew how much meaning this song had, and how much it reflected on my own life.

I then started weeping. My heart broke for Marlene and my heart was sobbing that God loved us so much and we had done nothing to deserve His love. I felt agony and brokeness for the entire community, while feeling overwhelming Joy at the same time!

Jessi Marquez, World Race Contestant, First Stop - New Zealand.

"You were a child, crawling on your knees toward it"- MGMT

Kids by MGMT is one of my favorite songs. I really can't wait to begin to start working with children. I truly believe one of the best things you can do as a Christian is to have the heart of a child. How can you view God as your father, if you are not His child?

I plan to explore this idea more throughout the race, but what I have on my heart right now is why God chooses to be called our Father? I think the Spirit of adoption is what helps us develop that relationship with God. God is not a tyrant leader, but like a Father that loves us and wants to see the best for us.

We have been adopted into Gods family, and we are taught that we should cry out to him " ABBA! FATHER!." I read recently that "Abba" is the most initimate form for referring to a father. It is like saying "Daddy"- it represents a deep level of intimacy.

News Release: January 10, 2010

We have only been in New Zealand for less than ONE WEEK. I think I am learning about community fast. One of the most important things I have learned about community is that you have to put others before yourself.

Community can create so many amazing things. You can grow with each other, share feelings and past experiences, laugh and dance, hold each other accountable, and have someone pushing you to be the best version of yourself.

However, this morning while playing cards with a few squad members I just laughed at a few things. As amazing as community is, it does take some adjustments. Right now for me its the 3 S's.

SOUNDS- Sleeping in tents with 100 other people is just funny. You can hear every cough and every snore. I couldn't fall asleep one night because one person was snoring SOO LOUD! Also, the cows tend to MOO during the night and our tents are right by them. Also, we were on a screen fast meaning no Ipods or computers for 2 days so we could work on building community. I am addicted to this was really hard. However, we figured a way around that one by having community dance parties! The Ipod speakers my parents got me helped with that one :)

SCRATCHY TOWELS- So after I showered I hung my nice COZY towel on the clothes line to dry. The next day my towel was gone, and in its place was the same color towel but a scratchy version. Someone had accidently taken my towel! At first I was kinda upset about this...I really liked my towel, and I know that doesnt seem like a big deal but when you get out of a cold shower...a cozy towel is a dream. My current towel is scratchy and not cozy, but I am letting it go. Community shows me that sometimes you won't be comfortable, sometimes your things will get misplaced, and you move on.

SUGAR- Okay, I HAVE A HUGE SWEET TOOTH! In community you eat what is given to you, and you are thankful. WE GOT ICE CREAM TONIGHT!! Which is a huge deal because I have been craving sweets soo much. I have been drinking tea non stop with sugar just to curb my cravings. Well living in community means that when they ring the bell for seconds, everyone rushes up in line. I didn't get seconds on ice cream. I was bummed but there is an unlimited amount of tea with sugar!

The Christians Under the Stairs youth group and parents of youth members found Jessi to be excited and very sincere. Our youth are going to support Jessi and we plan to receive bi-monthly updates from her as her journey begins. So we have much more to follow on this story.

If you want to join our youth in supporting Jessi, please learn some more about her at her personal website: Jessi Marquez

Jessi is a wonderful young lady, who has much to bring to the people she will be meeting. We encourage you to consider supporting her.

News Release: November 22, 2009

Jessi Marquez, World Race Contestant, Shares her Vision.

Christian teens discussions

Eighteen youth from the C.U.T.S. youth group welcomed Jessi Marquez, who shared her vision that led to her participation in the World Race. Ms. Marquez shared how she had been active in church services and youth programs while in high school in Huntington, NY. But even though she was active, she did not truly understand her faith. It was just stories and not at all personal.

After attending the University of Miami, which she describes as the "Party School of America", Jessi stated she took a prestigious job in New York City, arranging parties for the rich and famous. Then in early 2009 Jessi had an epiphany. She realized that this life style did not have true meaning for her.

Prayer suddenly became a part of her life. She was desperate for answers to rising questions about the important elements of life. Jessi states a reading of "The Shack" by Wm. Paul Young taught her that God is not simply an awesome power uninterested in His creation but was a God who cared about her and each one of us - personally. She began to pray more constantly, asking that the Spirit of God truly guide her. This led to a realization that it was time to search for something new.

In the summer Jessi sent an application in to participate in the World Race, an eleven month missionary journey to eleven different countries. Jessi writes:

"I will be leaving the country for a year on January 1, 2010. I am going on the World Race through an organization called Adventures in Missions. I will be traveling to 11 different countries over 11 months to spread hope and love, and genuinely serve people right where they are.! I will be leaving the comforts of home and abandoning a traditional lifestyle to live in a tent with a backpack! I will be doing a variety of things including working in various orphanages and working to stop human trafficking!

In order for me to embark on this trip, I need your prayers and support ! Your prayers are greatly appreciated as I prepare for this trip!"

The Christians Under the Stairs youth group and parents of youth members found Jessi to be excited and very sincere. Our youth are going to support Jessi and we plan to receive bi-monthly updates from her as her journey begins. So we have much more to follow on this story.

If you want to join our youth in supporting Jessi, please learn some more about her at her personal website: Jessi Marquez

Jessi is a wonderful young lady, who has much to bring to the people she will be meeting. We encourage you to consider supporting her.