Rhema's God's Kids program growing
Thirteen years after the Rhema Bible Training College ran its first God’s Kids program, the Friday night event continues to grow and have a positive impact on young Samoans.
The program is part of the All Nation Ministry and offers bible services, outreach and practical training for the attending children as well as youth.
It is open to the public and children are encouraged to attend as the program combines Bible-based activities and games for everyone.
But the long-running program has not been without its challenges according to Pastor John Alailima, Rhema Director (Students Affairs, Legal and Uttermost Witness Admin) and Pastor Ofelia Iopu, who is also Rhema Director (Academic Administration and Operations).
They said that the program initially started as a once-a-month activity due to the low attendance numbers.
“The program started in 2008 and it was usually once a month because we didn’t have the numbers that we wanted. From the beginning it was open to the public and anybody can bring in their kids,” they said.
Today the children and youth who attend are divided into four groups: preschoolers 3 years of age and below; children 8 years of age and below; preteens 13 years of age and below; and youth 14-years-old and above.
Pastor Ofelia said the program has different categories with their facilities, praise and worship, bible ministry and a snack break.
She said after the preaching a program for youth between the ages of 14-17 is run where they withdraw to their own facility and the word of God is administered to them.
“So we have bible ministries, we have praise and worship, we have games, we have snacks, and for the younger groups they have movie times, we find suitable and appropriate short feature movies for them to finish up the evening,” she said.
Last year, at the height of the coronavirus pandemic following the Government’s declaration of the state of emergency in March 2020, the program was suspended temporarily due to a nationwide ban on public gatherings.
But it was soon up and running after the suspension with participant numbers gradually increasing following the relaxing of the S.O.E. orders.
Pastor Ofelia said last week Friday over 250 children attended the program and they are encouraging more to attend, as the registration is free and each child gets to be given a bracelet to indicate which group they are in, and in exchange for returning the bracelet gets snacks.
She said the program is open to anyone and described it as a “wonderful outreach” for the children due to its safe environment and the consistency by the Rhema Bible Training College to deliver it.
According to Pastor John Alailima, the main objective of the program is to use it as a platform to spread the word of God to not only the adults but also the children.
“When you ministered the adults and children, you ministered the whole family and when you ministered the whole family, it’s a blessing to the whole village and the community,” said Pastor John.
“So we never publicised this program but the children themselves talked about it and what they got from us and the program spoke for itself.
“Now we’re seeing the results with kids around town as they used to be very rowdy and disorderly. But they love to come to the program and we are giving them a model for ministry.
“We invited anyone to come and join us, mainly children because children their whole lives are ahead of them but adults' lives are halfway finished.”