Every year since 2007, Union High School in LaPorte Cityhas been a Field of Faith site in the fall. Over 500 students from several districts, including Vinton-Shellsburg, Benton Community, Center Point-Urbana, Jesup, Waterloo, North Tama and other schools all had students who gathered at the Union Football field.
There were several who volunteered to help lead this event. Among those, were Pastor Nathan Richardson (LaPorte City), Pastor Chad Adelmund, Joel and Beth (Center Point-Urbana), Matt and Hallie (Benton Community), Mick and Carl Gonder (FCA), Graig Greiner (NT Basic), Ben and Bethany (Jesup Community), Heather (Vinton-Shellsburg Community), Joe and Gloria (Union Commuity), Michael Robers (Hudson Community)
Joe Hadecheck welcomed the crowd of over 500, followed by a brief introduction by Carl Gonder, a former professional basketball player, who brought along his size 17 shoes as an illustration, placing them on the field, he encouraged the kids to not be afraid to take a stand for Christ. He mentioned that Fields of Faith had reached over 200,000 kids last year alone.
Gonder sited King Josiah, whom the Bible says was 8 years old when he was appointed king. He told about all the things that this young king did in 2 Chronicles 34, and using his example, he encouraged those that were in the audience to be like this young man.
Craig Greiner emceed the group throughout the evening.
Union Student Natalie Tecklenburg, shared with the group a song called, “Blessings” and shared with everyone the story of her mother’s cancer diagnosis and how she realized then that she needed to talk to God about everything that was happening in her life, not just this. She updated her story to tell us that her mother was now cancer free, but she also pointed out that God has a plan for everyone.
Several high school students from a variety of area schools shared testimonies of their journeys of faith at the annual Fields of Faith event at the Union High School football field in La Porte City.
The students included:
Noa Marting of Jesup: Noa’s story was moving as she shared her story and struggles. How she always wanted to be the best at everything. And was, until an event in her life caused her to think that because of her mistake no one could love her. Then she realized that God did and that His love was not based on you, but placed on you, and that He can love you through anything.
Payton Haefner of Vinton, shared his story of growing up hearing about God, attending youth group but not really understanding how to have a relationship with Christ. He cited I Corinthians 13:13, “ And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” and shared that as he went on a mission trip, one of the speakers there gave an illustration of Christ being crucified on the cross. He asked the group that went on that trip to imagine walking around the cross and seeing all that Jesus went through. But when you saw Jesus’ face, He would smile at you and say, “I love you.” citing again the passage in I Corinthians, “the greatest of these is love.”
Isaac Wiley of Vinton, spoke as well of growing up in a Christian home, and attending the activities. But there was one event he went to called, Chrysalis, where he felt the biggest impact was made on his life. At the time he was struggling with who he wanted to be and how he fit in. the group had shared the verse in Jeremiah 29:11 that says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Wiley realized then that God did indeed have a plan for his life.
Macy Roberts of Hudson shared her testimony of being healed. She had struggled with her health, missing 6 weeks of school At one point a doctor telling her mother not to let her talk about it, that it was all in her head. She shared how a friend of her dads had called and inquired about her health and asked if it was okay to pray for her. He of course, was given permission to and at that moment she began to feel well again. She was reminded of Psalm 18:16-19 where David speaking of God said,
“16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”
She reminded the students that it doesn’t matter what you’re going through, God won’t give up on you.
Lauren Dufoe dual enrolled through Center Point Urbana encouraged the group to not let fear rule their lives, or affect their next decision.
Emma Herron shared Deuteronomy 31:8, “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” and talked about how this passage meant a lot to her as her mother and aunt struggled with cancer.
Trinity Schnor encouraged the group to live their testimony.
Samantha Rabe of Benton Community talked about her family struggles and how God answered prayer. Citing her grandmother, who had been a godly woman all of her life, struggling with cancer and she was healed, saying that sometimes God gives His toughest battles to His strongest soldiers. But she also shared about her grandfather who was ill in the hospital and how it was time for him to pass, and she simply prayed that God would take him safely home, and how she felt God’s presence in that room. At this point Craig Greiner reminded the crowd that God isn’t some sort of vending machine to give us what we want all of the time, but that sometimes His answers are best, even if they are not what we want.
Jared Wyse of Center Point-Urbana, talked about I Corinthians 10:13 which says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” He said that sometimes we might say, “What I’m doing isn’t so bad, after all someone else did something much worse than I did.” He cited Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” reassuring the crowd that even though they might be tempted to sin, God is there providing the strength and a way out of the temptation.
Kelsey spoke of her faith, growing up in a Christian home she felt like she didn’t have much of a testimony. She felt like she had never been in the position that she needed to depend on God. In her sophomore year of college, she was struggling with her swimming and someone asked her what she planned to do after she was finished swimming, something she hadn’t considered. She realized that while she was a Christian, she hadn’t been living her faith. The verses she shared were from James 2 which say “4 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. ” explaining that it’s like walking across a beam. You start to feel uncomfortable so you crouch down content to just sit there, expecting that when we arrive in heaven to stand up and say, “I did it!” and think that God will applaud. But God doesn’t ask us to be lukewarm about our walk with Him, He’d rather we were cold than lukewarm.
Crystal grew up in Mason City, attended Awanas, and was active in her church, but didn’t have a personal relationship with Christ until after her freshman year in college. She stressed I Corinthians 15:33 “Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” explaining that she had had bad experiences because of the company that she kept while trying to fill the God sized hole in her heart.
The featured speaker Mick Rodemeyer, a former arena football athlete shared his story of overcoming drugs and addiction and replaced it with a life of faith. Explaining that his problems all came about because he was full of pride which kept him from listening to anyone in his life. He encouraged the kids to hang with and become the cool kids on Sunday, and the ones that people talk about on Monday.He reminded the crowd of something his mom always told him, “Life is easy if you make good choices.”
The local event is part of the national Fields of Faith movement, a project of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.