HARLETON — From bullying, suicidal thoughts, loneliness, and many other issues today’s students are facing, a group of Harleton ISD students gathered together Wednesday to hand their burdens over to God during the annual “Fields of Faith” event at Wildcat Stadium.

“’Fields of Faith’ is a national, annual event where students gather at their school football fields to pray, worship God, share their testimonies and fellowship with each other,” J Star Ministries Minister and Fields of Faith organizer Patrick Johnson said Wednesday. “Fields of Faith started for me in 2006 when I was the guest speaker at the event in Beckville. It was such a great turnout and we were able to reach a lot of unchurched kids and so we decided to bring here to Harleton and have been doing it for 10 years.”

Fields of Faith began in 2002 after an Oklahoma Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader decided students needed something more.

“With the times that we’re living in now, we just need something positive that will bring the community together,” Johnson said. “We’ve got coaches, teachers and the superintendent here. My wife, Shanna Johnson is a coach here. We’ve got about 200 people here tonight, some kids are throwing a football, we’re feeding them pizza and drinks from Made-Rite and it’s just a relaxed, fun atmosphere.”

Johnson said as our future leaders, it’s important for students to hear the Word of God and realize the difference they can make in the world through Christ Jesus.

“King Josiah in the Bible was 8 years old when he became king and he led his people back to reading the Word of God and doing what it said,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to be old to make a difference in the world.”

Guest speaker Jeremiah Williams, who serves as Executive Pastor of Grace City Church in Longview, said he has a special place in his heart for the young.

“That’s my favorite age to pastor, the youth,“ Williams said. “That’s when my life was changed and I was saved and it changed the whole trajectory of my life.”

Johnson said Beckville ISD joined in with Carthage ISD’s Fields of Faith event Wednesday at Bulldog Stadium but Beckville will also have its own event next week at its stadium.