Our one and true God has been ever-present and faithful throughout the pandemic. In the midst of isolation and closures, God in his lovingkindness gave us a 43-acre oasis to come meet with him and his people. We gathered, heard truth, fellowshipped, interceded for each other and left refreshed. Our heavenly Father did not leave us or forsake us. The truth and timeless hope of the Gospel penetrated our hearts in a dark and weary time; our souls were refreshed.

The pandemic took a lot from our children. There were educational setbacks, constant change, evolving family dynamics, fear and isolation. There are children and families in our own neighborhoods racked with loneliness and hopelessness. We do not want these dark and heavy things to define this generation. We want Jesus’ hope to define it.

After a year of being intimately cared for, I believe the time is now. The time is now to turn outward, be bold and to pray.


This June, Church of the Open Door is hosting two dynamic opportunities for its people to invite their friends and neighbors to – Vacation Bible School (June 14-18) and Camp IDRAFOJE (June 29-July 3).

A former chemistry teacher turned minister created this year’s VBS program, “Basic Elements.” The object lessons are captivating and the crafts are legitimately fun (making catapults, slime, suspension bridges and so on). Jeff Grable and the band are going to have us rocking and most importantly, the hope of the Gospel is not given on the fourth day, but EVERY day.

Camp IDRAFOJE (I’D RAther FOllow JEsus) is an overnight camp experience like no other. After a year of being under their parents’ watch, kids will have a chance to come together and celebrate the joy of the Lord while being a kid. This year we are focusing on friendship and diving deep with the one friend who will never leave, never fail and always have their back.

I think it will be a powerful opportunity for kids to take pause, reflect and process the past year amongst peers and their camp counselors. God has blessed us with his finest warriors to be his hands and feet. They are ready to serve and be a blessing because the time is now.


As the tiers change color, vaccines roll out and people begin to engage again, let’s do our part to reintroduce hope. Let’s kick off summer with a bang. Let’s instill confidence, community, truth and fun.

How amazing would it be for children’s first social encounters to be within the safety of the church? After a year of sitting in fear and loneliness of a pandemic, what if God’s people were the first ones they engaged with? What if they heard the worship and laughter of God’s children? What if they encountered deep grace and adoration in small group? What if they tasted the joy of Janet Juice? What if, in a course of a week, they were “known”? What if they started a journey they were destined for?


And while I believe more than ever that the time is now to seek the lost, I also think the time is now to commission our faithful CODkids to be the salt and light of the world.

What if God brought revival to our church through our children? What if God lit a fire in their bellies to declare the goodness of their God? It is not happenstance that kids recently returned to school. No, God is on the move. His timing is everything. He has some of his finest handiwork rubbing shoulders on the daily with kids who desperately need his saving grace. We serve a God who uses all ages, all people. Children are near to the heart of God and their childlike faith makes him smile.

Above and beyond the local mission field of the San Gabriel Valley, what if God gave our kids a personal encounter with missions? As many of you know, COD is praying that he might allow us to build a reproducing church among the Nyamwezi people in east Africa by 2030. This year we are raising money at VBS to bless the brand new Kabumbuli church with a permanent roof to replace the tarps it currently uses.

After a year of being under easy ups, and enduring the elements, our kids KNOW the blessing of permanent structures. What if God used their relatable experience to give them a heart for others? 2030 is only 9 years away. Our current 3rd– 5th graders will all be high school graduates. What if God uses this summer to kick-start a journey towards missions?


Friends, we need your help. The Lord continues to stir my soul and say the time is now.  

Will you partner with us? Will you pray the workers will be plentiful? Will you pray for revival in the souls of our kids? Will you pray for unshakeable boldness for our kids? Will you pray that none of us say no for somebody? Will you pray the Lord pours out his Spirit on us? This summer is critical and we can only move forward through prayer.

Will you spread the word? Each Sunday we will have flyers on the CODkids entry table under the tent. Will you take some to hang at work? Will you give them to your neighbors and coworkers? Will you pray for God to give you the privilege of personally inviting someone to the hillside this summer?

Our God is mighty to save. He was, and is and is to come. The time is now. God is on the move. To him be the praise forever and ever. Amen.

Jessica Lee
Children’s Pastor

P.S. If you’re willing to partner with us in prayer, or help us spread the word about these dynamic opportunities, I would love to know. Your help is a great encouragement; God is on the move!

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123, New Lenox, Chicago IL 60606

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8:00am, 9:15am, 11:00am

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