Our goal is to inspire kids with the genuine love of God to change the world around them.
And we do that by creating a space…
…TO HAVE A FUN & A SAFE PLACE TO BE!
…TO KNOW AND FEEL THAT GOD LOVES ME!
…TO BELIEVE THAT I CAN CHANGE THE WORLD AROUND ME!
The Four Most Important Things
There are so many things that our children don’t learn at school or at home, especially when it comes to having a relationship with Jesus Christ. So when they come to Roca, we want to teach and reiterate these 4 principles as a basic understanding of God’s love for them.
God loves me!
I have sinned!
Jesus died for me!
I must decide to live for Jesus!
“I’m crying again, but the Holy Spirit is just allowing me to feel how much love He has for you.”
Jenn Hebert | Co-Founder
Our names are Jenn and AJ Hebert. We have a family of 4 including the two of us and our 2 children, and we had been your typical church going folks. But we wanted more… We wanted to serve people, and specifically children. We started going after that “more” by doing various short term mission trips around the country with teenagers. It allowed us to see how ministries served their communities on the the West Coast. And that opened our eyes to the need for something similar on the East Coast here in the New Hampshire, New England area.
…A seed planted in our hearts…
Seeing more and different ways to serve the community created a seed of interest in our mind. But we also noticed that most church people weren’t serving the community outside of their home churches. It’s interesting because while this seed was planted in us, we also has some waters of discontent being poured over that seed. At home, we had been praying and interceding for our family to go deeper in our relationship with God. We wanted Him to show us how to reach new levels with Him. The funny thing about prayers like that kind of prayer is that a person who asks for something that precious usually has to go through something hard to get to that unreached place. We were no exception to that rule.
God put us through a crazy experience! And I honestly doubt you would believe me if I told you all the details, but God asked me to dig a hole in my backyard. As, I reflect on that moment, I realize that He was putting out His hand and asking “Do you trust me?” In parentheses he was asking “do you trust me even if I ask you to do something crazy and out of your comfort zone?!?” And I responded in obedience by digging the hole in the backyard. In that hole He gave me a beautifully bright orange rock and a scripture:
'Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, REALLY are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.
The Lord answered our prayer by testing our faith in that time and used that time to create obedience in us. And from there He laid on our hearts to start the kids club named “Roca” (rock in Spanish).
…Vision created in us…
While it was our trips to the West Coast that planted the seed, it was our trip to NYC that created vision in us. And so when we worked with a ministry called the Buffalo Dream Center we got to a see a small church do big, impactful things to serve their community then known as the second poorest place in America. Pastor Eric Johns said something that stuck with us… “See a need, meet a need!” He said it all the time, even when we went on mission trips with him. He shared his personal frustration of going through the bureaucracy to make a change in the world and this statement “See a need, meet a need” contended the bureaucracy by saying “feel empowered to be the Body of Christ.” Not only did he say that, but his family also lived by that motto. His 9 year old son would lead mission trips and everyone would fall in with his direction. It was a great vision of every gift being used and every person contributing to the Body of Christ. And together those statements in word and truth DID empower us! We went to that church location many times to serve. Every time we went, we asked them questions and we saw how they ran their kids club. This information created a beautiful vision in us to do something for the kids of our neighborhood.
…Armed with a plan…
While we had this passion to serve kids, we also wanted to see the church get outside of their four walls to work together as the Body of Christ. We wanted our friends from different denominations to join us in bringing the Kingdom of God to this neighborhood with us. But we also wanted it to be open to our friends who didn’t know Christ and wouldn’t go to church because we knew that they would experience God as we served this neighborhood.
So we decided that we wanted to impact kids with the love of Christ and we wanted anybody, regardless of their denominational background, or lack of, to come and serve with us if they wanted to do so. And we kept it simple. We didn’t wait for huge budget, or a lot of people to serve with us, or even for the kids to come to us. Instead, we called our friends and we circled back to our connections at the Buffalo Dream Center to help us create an outline for our format. We contacted a church in the neighborhood that we wanted to serve and asked if we could use their location. And before we knew it we were up and running with a space where kids and volunteers were welcomed to give and receive the love of God freely. That summer we used money from our own pocket and we went out and started serving the kids of the neighborhood around Wilson Street.
…He blessed our efforts…
We put out only one flyer when we started and we started with about 35ish kids. But every week our numbers grew in both kids to serve and volunteers to help. Before we knew it, we had outgrown our first location and soon opened a second location. We were excited because obviously God was doing something so amazing in this time and space. But we weren’t caught up in the feelings of success because it was God’s dream, not ours. We had open hands to what was being formed and we were happy to be used for His glory. We were also happy to see how God was working in the hearts of the people around us. We didn’t have to recruit people to serve because God was already creating space in the hearts of the community and sending them to us. It was amazing to watch the Lord work it all out and bring it all together!
…We set out to bless the kids in inner city Manchester…
We thought we’d do this only for a summer. We never would have dreamed of making this our lives. So if we wouldn’t have done this we wouldn’t have been connected to the community when the home of an inner city family had their house burn down. We wouldn’t have been able to build relationships that have been changing these kids lives. We wouldn’t have seen volunteers come together to serve the community outside the walls of their churches or to spend their personal time, even outside of our program, loving on kids whom they may have never met otherwise. We would not have seen the glory of the Lord come alive in our city and in our lives in the same way if we would not have stepped out in faith and obedience.
…Instead the kids of inner city Manchester blessed us!
We have been blessed to have our prayer of going deeper in our relationship with the Lord answered, but it was answered in a way that we would have never imagined. Our prayer has been answered by stepping out to serve the kids of inner city Manchester. We came out to help them and the Lord used them to help us.