On January 30, 2013, Urban Alliance network participant House of Praise & Worship/Casa de Adoracion y Alabanza (Hartford) hosted the second Youth Explosion of 2013.

While the previous Youth Explosion, held in November, had a theme of “The Light of the World” and set the stage for Youth Explosion 2013, the gathering in January, which drew over 250 people, had a theme based on Psalm 23:4:

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” (Psalm 23:4)

Leaders from House of Praise and Worship, along with two other Hartford churches, selected the theme to help encourage youth to remain faithful during trials.

Upon entering the church, attendees were greeted with a scene that included branches, boulders and fog. The realistic décor was designed by Youth Explosion leaders to help illustrate the feeling of being in a landscaped valley. 

The energy of the praise and worship team, which included several youth and was led by Patrice Howell of New Life Worship Center/Centro de Adoracion Nueva Vida (Hartford) filled the room. They joyfully sang and played instruments including bass, drums and guitar.

The guest speaker for the night was Pastor Joel Cruz Jr. from House of Praise and Worship. “He spoke about the importance of ‘walking’ while we go through the ‘valley of the shadow of death.’ By running while passing through a dark path, [it will] only create problems of tripping from things we can not see. [If we run] while passing our darkest moments in life, it does not allow or help us make well-thought decisions. By ‘walking’ through the ‘valley’ with God, you are showing patience, trust, and carefulness at your darkest moments. Walking [rather than running, during trials] helps you avoid the trip and fall of life, especially during a time in your life when tripping and falling could happen during a ‘dark’ time,” explained Pastor Karla Cruz, House of Praise and Worship (Hartford).

The next Youth Explosion will be held on March 8, 2013 at New Life Worship Center / Centro de Adoracion Nueva Vida, 127 Mather Street, Hartford.

If your church or congregation will like to be a part of Youth Explosion, please contact House of Praise and Worship at pastors@comcast.net.