Standing up for Christ
Their message is Christianity, and their mission is to spread the gospel.
Nine teens from De Soto Youth Ministries will travel to Brazil for 10 days to teach other teens about Christianity.
They leave Friday for Mogi das Cruzes, Brazil, and once they arrive they will travel to schools and other groups and educate them about Christ through songs, dance and a drama.
Last year's group from the youth ministry performed 17 programs at which about 1,800 Brazilians made commitments to Christ, said DYM Vice President Donna Wilting.
Her husband and DYM President Bill Wilting will travel with the students. Bill said he was most amazed that they are able to preach the Gospel in public schools while in Brazil.
"In America, we are a free country," he said. "We have a democracy. It's illegal to do that."
Sunday night, the Brazil Extreme Team performed the program they will present in Brazil to family, friends and those who donated money to help them pay for the trip. The total cost of the group's trip is $18,000.
The teens started out the night with a song in Portuguese sung by William Viriato, DYM's summer intern and a native of Brazil.
Next, they performed a rhythm routine featuring different sequences of stomps, claps and hand snaps. After they showed the audience their routine, they challenged a male and female audience member to learn their moves.
The group later performed a couple of songs with some members playing instruments and others singing the lyrics.
The group wrapped up the performance with the drama "The Choice." In black costumes with white gloves they showed the choices that people make between good and evil and between accepting and rejecting Christ.
"It is our prayer that the message will be clear, that the message will penetrate confused hearts and that the message will be well received," Donna said.
After the drama, youth center director Chad Chambers gave a message about the way to accepting Jesus Christ and said Christ's self-sacrifice related to a recent news event in which a Chihuahua saved the life of a young boy by stepping in between the boy and a rattle snake.
Extreme Team member Rebekah Dougherty and her cousin Maisie Crayton, both of Edwardsville, will travel for their second year to Brazil together.
Dougherty said she wanted to go again because she enjoyed how excited the Brazilians get about Christianity.
"The people so bad want to hear the gospel down there," she said. "You can just see on their faces so much it's affecting them."
Crayton, who is using the trip for her senior project at Bonner Springs High School, shared Dougherty's sentiments and said there was nothing else she would rather do than travel to Brazil again.
"I don't want to pass it up," she said. "We would just be back home eating potato chips or something."