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Does God exist? Is the Bible reliable? And if God exists, why is there suffering in this world?
These are the big questions that many of us ask. Inevitably, we saw these questions arise here at the Rescue Mission as our residents encountered God and learned about Jesus Christ, many for the first time. It became clear to us that we needed a way to address the questions residents were having, and give them the tools to build a basic foundation of what they believe and why they believe it.
To meet the need, the Rescue Mission’s Apologetics class began. In April 2016, we began hosting a biweekly Apologetics class on the Village of Hope campus for our residents. It has quickly become an integral part of the Rescue Mission community and an invaluable resource to our residents. As they grow in their faith and encounter these difficult questions, there is now a resource for them to find answers and grow more confident in what they believe as they learn.
“Everyone, including those at Orange County Rescue Mission, needs to know if faith is based on reasons and evidence or wishful thinking,” one of the class teachers, Jeremy Livermore, says. “We want our participants to leave Orange County Rescue Mission with confidence that Christianity will stand up to the challenges they will face.”
We have been extremely blessed by the individuals that have stepped up to teach the Apologetics class and share their knowledge. Our first Apologetics teacher to kick off the class was Natasha Crain, a blogger, author, and speaker who is passionate about equipping Christians with an understanding of how to make a case for and defend their faith in an increasingly secular world. She is the author of two apologetics books for parents: Talking with Your Kids about God (October 2017) and Keeping Your Kids on God’s Side (2016).
She says this about her experience teaching Apologetics at the Rescue Mission: “The students at the Rescue Mission were very enthusiastic learners. Most had never heard of apologetics before, but quickly became engaged with the talks. Many would discuss the subjects further with me after class—asking insightful questions on topics such as the problem of evil and suffering, evolution, the history of the early church, what happens to those who never hear about Jesus, and much more. It was such a blessing to be part of this unique apologetics program.”
In the year and a half since the Apologetics class began, the benefit of the curriculum has been so evident in the life of the Rescue Mission and its residents. Residents often comment on how what they have learned has impacted their relationship with God and their ability to communicate not only what they believe, but why they believe it. And from that, a true joy in Jesus Christ springs forth. This is beautifully exemplified in Natasha’s memory from her first talk: “One of my favorite moments happened after I ended my first talk and asked for any questions. A student raised his Bible in the air and said with the most genuine joy, ‘That just made me appreciate God’s Word even more!’”
Thank you to Natasha, Jeremy, and all of the other teachers that make the Rescue Mission Apologetics class an engaging and fruitful environment for our residents to better know and enjoy God and share their faith!
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