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One year ago, a local man felt the pulling of God on his heartstrings.
Joseph Memory, an Ocean Isle Beach resident who works as sergeant with the highway patrol in Robeson County, has a passion to reach the youth of Brunswick County before it is too late and their lives are plagued by trouble.
“A year ago I talked to a 19-year-old I had watched grow up,” Memory said. “He told me he likes to smoke pot. God really dealt with me after that.”
Memory decided it was time to take action and create a ministry geared toward youth between the ages of 13 and 19. Memory approached several area churches that were all on board with the idea and began planning events. In the first year, the events averaged between 300 and 400 people. The ministry has drawn youth groups from all over the Carolinas.
Sonburst Ministries is an interdenominational ministry whose mission is to bring youth to know Christ and for them to become viable, active members of a church. Each event is a collaboration between several churches, each providing a different essential service.
“We are trying to reach the youth who aren’t in a church,” Memory said. “As a highway patrolman for the last 13 years, I see the end result of bad decisions. I see death all the time, and I want to see them go to heaven. It bothers me when I see death like that. I always question, did they know Him?”
Memory recalls a recent fatality involving a teen in Robeson County who was found with a bag of marijuana in his pocket. When Memory arrived at the home to inform the next of kin, the teen’s mother said, “I always knew something like this would happen to him.”
“I just know we have to do something about it. I want to prevent teens from starting to use drugs,” Memory said.
The ministry is in its infancy, but Memory has big dreams.
“I want to see a youth center in our area, where teens can come, whatever their need is,” he said. “I have a love of the youth in this county.”
Memory and his family are active members of the community. He has two children ages 17 and 20 and more children he has taken under his wing.
“After I talked with that young man a year ago, God was really dealing with me,” Memory said. “My burden is that there was nothing for them (teens) to do. My burden is for the youth. I want to see souls changed and lives changed and families stay together.”
Rachel Johnsonis a staff writer at The Brunswick Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sonburst Youth Rally set for Ocean Isle Beach
By Rachel Johnson
On June 16 Sonburst Ministries will have a youth rally in Ocean Isle Beach complete with a surfing competition.
The surf contest is 8 a.m.-1 p.m. on the beach directly in front of the cross close to the Ocean Isle Beach Fishing Pier. Contestants in the contest must pre-register at OIB Surf & Java in the Lowes Foods shopping center before June 16. Registration is daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. The competition is open to all ages. For registration information call Jesse McCrery at 575-6277.
In addition to the surf contest, there will be activities throughout the day for the youth including flag football, a donut-eating contest and other beach activities. The Carolina School of Surf will be providing a few boards and lessons for beginner surfers. Registration for these activities isn’t necessary.
As the day progresses, lunch will be served and activities will move from the beach to the Oyster Festival site near the museum. From 2-7 p.m. youth will be engaged in praise and worship activities and hear a message delivered by Cory Hester on purity.
The day is about reaching everyone possible with the message of God.
“We hope to target everyone on the beach that day,” said Joe Memory, founder of Sonburst Ministries.
Organizers are seeking help from anyone interested in ministering to youth.
“Any churches and volunteers that want to come to the event and prepare food and/or minister to the youth are welcome. If they have a heart for youth,” said Diane Tripp, organizer. “It has been amazing to see the work God has been doing bringing the churches together to help the youth.”
Parking will be next to the museum. K-Love radio will be broadcasting live from the event.
There is a T-shirt logo contest for the youth. Attendees are asked to submit entries at the event to design a T-shirt for Sonburst Ministries for T-shirts.
There are no charges for any of the activities. All events are free and the entire community is invited to come and participate, especially the youth.
“We just want youth to come and know we love them right where they are at,” Memory said. “We want them to feel acceptance and love.”
Sonburst Ministries is seeking help for the upcoming event.
“We are looking for as much help as we can get. We need people to come onboard and help with everything from prayers to monetary to volunteering,” Memory said.
For more information on how to help call Memory at 279-6903.