Twenty-eight churches,182 youth and adult leaders gathered in Bismarck, North Dakota, Brookings, South Dakota and Rapid City, South Dakota for worship, service, learning and fellowship around the theme—Standing in the gap, Ezekiel 22:30.
Bismarck McCabe United Methodist Church hosted youth in North Dakota. Youth began with worship and fellowship activities. The Bismarck location made hats and scarves for S.I.T.—Students in Transition, a program through the Bismarck Public School system. These students experience homelessness, are unaccompanied minors or struggle with permanent housing issues. SIT not only helps with basic needs - food and shelter - but also hooks them up with resources, pays the fees so they can participate in extra-curricular activities and pays application fees for college. Most of the youth at Winter Connection did not realize the program existed or even that there were students in their schools who are homeless.
Brookings First United Methodist Church hosted youth and adult youth leaders on the eastern side of of South Dakota. Fellowship and worship led by the Brookings First UMC contemporary worship team and Pastor Matt Morrison, Sioux Falls Asbury, kicked off the event for everyone. Time was also spent in service making hats and scarves for elementary students who need them. Youth enjoyed time climbing the rock wall at SDSU, playing hungry, hungry hippos, marshmallow dodge-ball and learning about discipleship and leadership.
Youth in the Rapid City area gathered at Storm Mountain Center. Worship was led by CCYM members, Pastors Peggy Hanson, Karl Kroger and DeAnn Eidem. Participants spent time in service cutting wood for Storm Mountain, cooking and serving meals to people on the street in Rapid City. Another team made fleece hats and scarves that were placed on President's statues downtown (for those in need to take). Youth enjoyed time learning about each other, developing leadership skills and ice skating.
Churches involved with Winter Connection were: Arlington, Bismarck McCabe, Brookings First, Fargo First, Hettinger, Howard Beach, Huron First, Jamestown St. Paul, Lake Preston, Lead Trinity, Madison, Mandan, Milbank Central, Murdo, Piedmont Grace, Pierre First, Rapid City Canyon Lake, Rapid City First, Sturgis and Winner.
Here what participants had to say:
I liked being able to have the event at Storm Mountain. I also liked making the hats and scarfs by hand because it was like we were the hands of God.
I liked that we got to see some of our friends from DakYouth.
It was cool to see all the churches coming together
I really liked the ice-skating, playing Ninja, the vending machine, feeding the homeless.
I enjoyed listening to Pastor Bruce Adams, preach and the message he gave about idols in their lives. I was surprised to understand that their electronics could be an idol in their lives.
I enjoyed the games and meeting new friends.
Winter Connection 2019 will be held January 25-26.