Teenagers with Abundant Life Ministries recently competed in Baltimore, Md. for a national talent competition. After an emotional day, Caitlin Branscome, Bryttany Melton, Karah East and Katelyn Finn won top honors for their drama “Letters From Hell.”
The four girls act out a skit illustrating what may happen if they decide not to tell their friends about Jesus. An accident suddenly kills a friend and a letter is written and delivered from Hell, asking why she was never told about Hell and how she could escape it. The graphic make up and gut wrenching screams drove their points home and was well received by the audience.
“One woman came up to me and told me that it made her cry,” said Patrick Carden, youth leader for Abundant Life Ministries. But it wasn’t just the adults that felt the impact. The teens spoke about the emotions and what they learned while practicing and performing the drama, too. “We learned to tell about Jesus,” said Bryttany Melton. “It is our business.”
The teens also competed in the national competition in other categories including human video, group interpretive dance, solo interpretive dance (Bryttany Melton), drum solo (Ryan Saunders), and Short Story (Alyssa Saunders). Awards received at the district level include second place in multiple voice to Destiny Semones and Shannan Hall, second place in poetry to Caitlin Branscome and third place in multiple voice to Breanna Bentley and Jenna Buckner.
The youth group is led by Patrick and Amy Carden. They have been with the youth of Abundant Life Ministries for approximately five years. In that time, they have seen the group grow from about seven-to-10 youth on Wednesday evenings to 25-to-30. Carden described a typical teen service starts with a newly formed band and ends with prayer time. “We provide a place where the kids can have a quiet place to pray before they go home. They may not have that once they leave, but they have it here.”