Misawa group serves teens pizza, Bible lessons
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — It mixes pizza and prayer, life lessons and laughing, stories and scripture.
Students from Robert D. Edgren High School flock by the dozens every week to V.I.P — or Video, Inspiration and Pizza — a new club with a Christian bent for teenagers on base.
Last week, nearly 40 kids showed up for free pizza and a lesson about the Bible’s “works of flesh” — feelings such as hatred and jealousy — and “fruits of the spirit” — love and joy, for example.
The discussion with youth leader Jessica Hall focused on how each might apply to a teen’s life.
Hall is excited by how fast the group has grown since the first meeting in late January.
“Every week, someone brings a friend,” she said. “Even if some kids were just coming for the pizza, they keep coming back.”
The group has a clear Christian focus. Christian music videos played on a large-screen TV during Wednesday’s get-together.
“There’s no requirement for people to become Christian if they’re not Christian,” Chaplain Capt. Matthew Boarts said. “Some people come without any affiliation. They’re welcome.”
The base chapel funds the club with Protestant collections from church services, Boarts said.
The club meets Wednesdays from 12:35 to 1:15 p.m. in the JROTC building.
It was thought the weekday lunch hour might be more convenient for students with busy extracurricular schedules, Hall said.
Some teens said the timing is good for other reasons.
V.I.P. “makes you think about things during the week and not just on Sunday,” sophomore Chris Pollard said.
Senior Ashda Kriegh-Fleming comes for the life lessons — and the food. “Eating’s good,” she said.
Hall said she wants the club to be a safe haven.
“A place where they can feel comfortable and have someone to open up to and not feel the pressures of the world,” she said.