(JANUARY-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC     Recently a family felt compelled to write the following letter about our Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center (THE ROC) for Youth.  We felt it needed to be shared with all of you as it speaks volumes.  Please note that the boy referred to as John, along with his family, is completely unchurched.

Dear Pastor Mueller and ROC Board,

            These are some of the reasons our son John says he likes about going to the ROC.  1) John likes to hear God’s Word  2) John likes to pray  3) John enjoys playing the games 4) John enjoys being with other kids  5) John loves God and being at a place that promotes God  6) John likes the pizza 7) Pastor Mueller is very nice to John, and John likes P.T. (Pastor Mueller) too. 8)  John says he is happy at the ROC.

            As John’s parents, we are delighted that John enjoys the ROC.  We feel it is a safe and rewarding environment for John, and it is nice he can come with his brother.  Pastor Mueller has shown nothing but wonderful and caring traits for all of our children.  John has been held back in school and elsewhere because of his autism and other disabilities such as his kidney disease and asthma and his young heart surgery.  John rarely fits in anywhere, as he has a hard time maintaining most anything, especially friendships.  John is a wonderful, loving child who is accepted by few.  He has been bullied, threatened and such.  John is also very gullible and easily misled by others.  Since at the Jr. High, he has been told if he beats up kids, he can be in a gang and he thinks that is normal and good because he is so literal.   We want to only see John happy and able to be part of somewhere safe and where he feels a part of something good.  It is so good to see John happy and we feel the ROC surroundings help him in so many ways.  Thank you.


(FEBRUARY-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC     As our Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center (THE ROC) celebrated its FOUR YEAR ANNIVERSARY last year on December 3, 2007, we give thanks to our Savior God for the Gospel and the hundreds of teens who have heard about their Savior at the ROC.  Only God knows exactly how many teens have been added to His kingdom of believers through the ROC ministry.  We do know, however, by His promise, that the Gospel has been effective and accomplishes what He desires, the saving of souls for eternity.

            One way we seek to share the Gospel is by building trusting relationships with the ROC teens.  You may have seen an article in the paper highlighting Mr. Duane Thomsen and the checkers he weekly plays with the teens.  Such interaction with the teens happens all the time and also during our after-school program.  Recently, about twenty teens, over a period of five weeks, made fleece blankets and then delivered them to residents in a local nursing home.  Many of the teens were brought to tears as they saw the joy of the elderly who received the blankets.

            As development of the Rock River property progresses, please let us know if you know somewhere where the ROC could relocate.  We are hoping for someone who could generously provide a building with a large open area.  If anyone has any ideas, please call Pastor Mueller (206-9581) or Don Bartz (261-1319).

            Thanks to all who participated in our Ponderosa event.  The teens learned so much about living for God, their Savior, by being responsible, faithful and honest with their work.  Also, we are thankful that $443.51 was raised for the ROC through this event.

As new video game systems may have been received as Christmas gifts, you may be wondering what to do with your older Gamecube, Gamecube contollers, Playstation 2 or Xbox game systems and games.  Please consider donating them to our Watertown Recreation and Outreach Center (THE ROC).  Drop by after 3:00 p.m., Wed.-Sat. or call Pastor Mueller at 920-206-9581 to make your donation and to visit the ROC.  Thanks for your generosity and support.


(MARCH-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC     In 1 Timothy 2:3&4, it says, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”  At the ROC, we reach out to all with the Gospel of Christ. 

You may have seen an article in the paper recently titled, "Police Give Update on Gang Activity in City".  The update, to which the article referred, was given by Sgt. Katherine Selck at the recent Dialogue for Student Success meeting.  These meetings, which I (Pastor Mueller) attend, are held once a quarter  At the meeting, I had the opportunity to share with the group that we are very careful and vigilant at the ROC when it comes to gangs and that we have NO gang problem at the ROC.  The other teens at the ROC are very quick to help me identify any gang members or gang recruits.  Our policy is that if anyone comes in as a gang member they are immediately asked to leave but if they come in as an individual respecting the ROC and its foundation being Christ and His Word, they are allowed to stay.  To explain what I mean, I recently had two individuals, who were pointed out to me as possible gang members, attend the ROC.  I allowed them to stay as they weren't showing off the gang attitude or signs.  I watched them closely and during the night tried to get to know them better.  As I was talking with them, they asked me if I would let members of the 3Ps into the ROC.  I answered them by saying, "If members of the 3Ps would come into the ROC, I would ask them to leave immediately but if ? and ? (their names) come into the ROC, I would, in Christ, welcome them.  After a moment, they got what I meant and it led to even more fruitful conversation.  The two teens gave me no problems throughout the night. 

I greatly appreciated the presentation by the police as it helps us keep us up to date concerning the gangs.  I will also be attending an all day Gang Summit on Tuesday, March 11th at Lake Mills Community Center.


(APRIL-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC     “My name is Nathan Voss and I am currently studying at MLC to become a Staff Minister.  I have one year left till I graduate and God willing take a call.  Recently I had the opportunity to spend a few days at the ROC to see how youth ministry is done there.  Pastor Tim Mueller (PT) was happy to show me around.  I was shocked to see a low percentage of Lutheran Elementary School and Lutheran High School kids.  I was told and quickly found out that most of the teens at the ROC  are from the surrounding area and many of them do not know Christ.  Wow what an opportunity!  These teens may be rough around the edges but they still have a soul like you and me.  They need structure and a safe setting to grow in Christ.  PT and the rest of the volunteers provide this for them.  With God’s grace, the ROC will continue to overflow with opportunities.  Those who volunteer at the ROC know about the many witness opportunities.  In one night, at the ROC, God allowed me to share my faith with three different teens!  What a blessing the ROC is!  We should never forget to keep them in our prayers and to volunteer whenever we can.  You will never regret the chance to serve and witness.  I certainly would do it again.” 

            Please continue to support the ROC in whatever way God has blessed you.  Some items needed are some good comfortable table chairs, a nice sofa and some game cube controllers.  Remember also to bring in your used computers (new to five years old) for our teen computer tech committee to refurbish and learn from.  Thank you!


(MAY-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC     Imagine getting invited to the Kings Palace! Who me? I have heard about the King but how will I fit in? I was so excited about the invitation that fitting in left my mind and I didn't care about what I was wearing either. After all, I heard that the King really cares more about me, the person - enough to give me this special invitation. Once I walked inside, I was in awe of this huge, magnificent place.  As I looked to the front of the church, I wondered who could be so important that they made statues of them. I suddenly became nervous about what was expected of me. Thoughts were racing through my head, so many people and things that I've never seen before - when do I stand - when do I sit - what are they reading? My friend, who brought me here, reassures me. They all begin to sing, excited I try to follow along, I still can't believe I'm here.  A group of kids stand up and sing to the rest of us, I think it sounds wonderful.  I can't wait to stand up and applaud after they are done.  My friend quietly tells me, "we don't do that here." I ask him why - he said "it's part of being solemn, and showing respect and honor to God." Now I'm more comfortable but also a little confused.  In the middle of this entirely different world, I try to listen to the King's messenger.  Why is he wearing all white with a purple scarf? What does all this mean? Now I have questions about what he is reading.  I wish I could ask him. Boy, I'm glad there is one person I know here. Walking out, I don't feel as out of place, and am very glad I came, but I do have a lot of things to ask PT (Pastor Mueller) when I see him at the ROC next time. I sure would like to try this experience again............

The King is Jesus and the Palace is St. Marks. The Messenger is Pastor Jensen. Todd Morris, one of our ROC staff recently invited some teens from the ROC to attend a Lenten service.  The statements above reflect how those teens felt and what they said.  We can learn so much from them about how to warmly welcome our guests and make them feel at home.  Many teens at the ROC are interested in what Jesus our King has to teach them but still feel much more comfortable learning at the ROC, due to feeling like they don't "fit in" at church.   What is always encouraging to our staff is seeing evidence that their faith is growing, and sometimes it's in the little things we see at the ROC.  What a privilege we have to be able to learn more about the King in the Palace every week and invite others to come with us also.

ROC teens will be serving at Ponderosa on Thursday, May 15th, 5-8 p.m.  The ROC GOLF EVENT will be held on Sunday, June 22nd at the Watertown Country Club. For more information, please contact Dale Ninmann at 920-261-5719 or daleninmann@charter.net.  The ROC RUMMAGE SALE will be held on July 24, 25, 26 at Trinity/St. Luke’s School.  To volunteer or for more info., call Ruth Uttech 920-261-6772 or Pam Erdman at 920-261-9674. 


(JUNE-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC      “Hundreds of prophecies said a savior would come. (Acts 3:18, 1Corinthians 15:1-4) For each one to be complete, the odds were millions to one. Not just any man could begin to fill them all. Only God could give the greatest gift, this gift of love. (John 3:16)  (Chorus) You’re the One they said would come, And You gave Yourself for everyone. (2 Corinthians 5:15) You’re the One who IS love, (1John 4:8,16) You’re the One.”  These are lyrics of a song written by Michael Schroeder, a member of our church in Wisconsin Rapids.  14 ROC teens, 11 of which are unchurched, attended his concert as 4 ROC staff volunteers took them to one of our churches in Madison to hear such Scriptural and Gospel filled words put to such worshipful and beautiful music.

            Remember the ROC GOLF EVENT is scheduled for Sunday, June 22nd, at the Watertown Country Club with a 4:00 pm tee time with a cost for both the golfing and buffet of $55.00. It will again be a 9 hole scramble with 5 person teams.  We would love to have any non-golfers attend the buffet following the golfing for a cost of $16.00.  A silent auction and sponsoring of holes is also part of the outing.  Help us find sponsors and auction items.  Sign up deadline for golf and meal is Monday, June 16th. All proceeds go to The ROC. Any question, any other inquires or to register, please contact Dale Ninmann at 920-261-5719 or e-mail daleninmann@charter.net.

            Also, please prepare for the ROC Rummage Sale to be held on July 24, 25 & 26 at Trinity/St. Luke’s School.  Please call Ruth Uttech (920-261-6772) or Pam Erdman (920-261-9674) with any questions regarding what we can accept or to indicate your willingness to volunteer. (Sorry but we have no place to store items until the sale.)  Note: We will begin receiving items on Sunday July 20.  Volunteers are greatly needed.  To volunteer or for more info., call Ruth Uttech 920-261-6772 or Pam Erdman at 920-261-9674.


(JULY-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC      Our Watertown Recreation & Outreach Center (THE ROC) for Youth could not stay open if it weren’t for our generous volunteers.  What amazes so many teens at THE ROC is that the volunteers give so much for nothing.  The philosophy of the world is to do only for those who can do something for you or out of whom you can get something.  Our volunteers are different!  The love of Christ living in the hearts of our volunteers is seen by the teens and they are deeply touched by it as we tell them how it is God’s grace, goodness and forgiveness in Christ which moves them to love unconditionally.   We thank our God everyday for our ROC volunteers.

Remember the ROC Rummage Sale will be held on July 24, 25 & 26 at Trinity/St. Luke’s School.  Please call Ruth Uttech (920-261-6772) or Pam Erdman (920-261-9674) with any questions regarding what we can accept or to indicate your willingness to volunteer. (Sorry but we have no place to store items until the sale.)  Note: We will begin receiving items on Sunday July 20.  Volunteers are greatly needed.  To volunteer or for more info., call Ruth Uttech 920-261-6772 or Pam Erdman at 920-261-9674.

A “ROC RELOCATION FUND” has been established to save such special gifts for when we need to relocate/renovate.  Such gifts can be sent to 1411 Wedgewood Dr., Watertown, WI. 53098.  Also, remember that you can stop by at the ROC anytime it’s open to visit or be considered for our volunteer staff.  Thanks so much for your support.  Contact info. for THE ROC and Pastor/Director Mueller:  920-261-4444 or 920-206-9581 or wttnroc@sbcglobal.net.  Also check out the web page www.thewttnroc.com.


(AUGUST-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC        The Gospel of Christ shines at the ROC.  Part of volunteering and supervising at the ROC includes simply standing back and happily watching the teens supervise themselves.  Recently we heard, for example, a teen humbly tell another teen, who was excessively gloating over a pool game victory, to remember Jesus’ humility as he came and died on the cross for all of us.  The teen who won, later won again, but this time, he humbly shook the hand of his opponent who lost.

Come and enjoy a brat, chips and soda.  The ROC teens will be at WalMart with a Brat Stand on August 9th from 10:30-2:00 and then at Glenn’s Brat Stand on Friday and Saturday, August 15th and 16th, 10:00-3:00 both days.  Helpers are greatly needed to run the brat stands.  Please call (206-9581 or 261-4444) or e-mail (wttnroc@sbcglobal.net) Pastor/Director Mueller to offer your help.

Remember that the ROC/Jerry Kastens Memorial Golf Outing is scheduled for Sunday, August 17th, at the Watertown Country Club with a 4:00 pm tee time. The cost will be $55.00 per golfer, and that includes green fees, team prizes will be drawn, flag prizes on each hole, door prizes, and buffet. Non-golfers can attend the buffet following the golfing for a cost of $16.00. We will be holding a silent auction along with the outing. If you wish to donate an item for the auction, please contact us. We are also looking for hole sponsors. The cost for a sponsorship is $50.00. We are also looking for door prize donations. Any questions or any other inquires or to register, please contact Dale Ninmann at 920-261-5719 or e-mail daleninmann@charter.net.

All proceeds from the above events will go to help fund the ROC.   Thanks so much for your support.


(September-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC      At a Bible/Talk Time recently (held everyday the ROC is open), we were studying John the Baptist’s words, "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”  It was asked of the teens, “Who is the Lamb of God?”  Many teens answered, “Jesus”.  They were then asked, “Why is Jesus called the Lamb of God in the Bible?”  A teen, who has never gone to a church, but attends the ROC all the time said, “Jesus is the Lamb of God because of the lamb sacrifices in the Old Testament which pointed to the one Lamb of God who would be sacrificed once for all”.  Pastor Mueller was so taken back by the depth of his answer that he asked where the teen had learned that truth.  The teen said, “I learned it here at the ROC during Bible/Talk Time and C2 (a program of our four congregations where high school teens are bussed to the ROC for Bible Study, refreshments and games).  What a blessing we have at the ROC (Recreation & Outreach Center for Youth) to reach out to so many teens with the power of the Gospel which saves for eternity.

            Many hours of hard work were put in by so many for the ROC Rummage Sale and the Golf Outing.  We were overwhelmed by the many items donated and the many hours given.  Thank you so much!  After matching by WELS Kingdom Workers and Thrivent, over $20,000 will go to the ROC as over $10,000 came from each event.


(OCTOBER-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC     As the new school year is under way, so is our after-school activity program at our Watertown Recreation & Outreach Center (THE ROC) for Youth.  Recently cross necklaces made out of nails were made by the teens.  A good number of teens, making the crosses, had no idea why the nails were being used.  The cross activity project gave us a perfect opportunity to share the blood of Jesus Christ shed for us to pay for our sins and the living Lord with the nail marks.  A good number of the teens not only wore the necklaces that day but also the next day.  Many are still seen wearing them.  The love of Christ had touched the recesses of their hearts.

Thanks to all those who helped with the brat stands at WalMart and Glenn’s Market.  Thanks also to all those who came and enjoyed lunch and at the same time helped fund the ROC.  A total of $337.00  was raised at WalMart and $1,441.85 was raised at Glenn’s.

Please stop in at the ROC anytime to see if you would like to volunteer.  Such helpers are always needed.  Also, thank you so much for all the support and help you give to the ROC.  Your monetary gifts are also greatly appreciated.  You can give directly to the ROC or through your church or through the Thrivent GivingPlus® Program which adds another $1 for every $2 you donate.  Please ask more about this program.


(NOVEMBER-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC   Our Watertown Recreation & Outreach Center (THE ROC) for Youth has turned out to be what we had wanted it to be.  We give thanks to God for the vision that he gave to those who helped get the ROC started.  Those people envisioned a youth center which would reach out with God’s Word to the unchurched.  Over 50%, sometimes 75% of the teens who attend are unchurched.  A strong feeling on the part of the originators of the ROC was that the director should be one who would shepherd the teens with God’s Word, providing counseling when necessary.  A common occurrence at the ROC is a teen seeking help due to their sin and the guilt and shame that goes along with it.  What a joy to share Christ, their Savior, with them and guide them on the right and godly path. 

On Saturday, October 11th, over 20 teens showed their love and ownership of the ROC as they participated in Clean-Up Day at the ROC.  It was good to see how so many showed up and worked hard to make the youth center clean.  We also sincerely thank all the adult volunteers who regularly help at the ROC. and everyone else for their continued support.  Your generous gifts make it possible to continue this mission to the youth.  Please remember that you can stop by at the ROC anytime it’s open to visit or be considered for our volunteer staff.  Also, you can check with Pastor Mueller if you would like to donate goodies, a wish list item or a special talent you have such as singing, game playing and the like.  The teens love the involvement by the adults.  Once again, thanks so much for your support.


(DECEMBER-2008) PEBBLES FROM THE ROC    On December 3rd, we will joyfully celebrate the 5th Anniversary of our Watertown Recreation & Outreach Center (THE ROC) for Youth.  There are so many blessings that we are enjoying being open that long.  One of those blessings is seeing many young people, who attended the ROC but are now too old for the ROC, stopping by to let us know how they are doing.  What a joy it is to see their smiling faces as they walk in the ROC door.  Most of these young people immediately speak of how they miss the ROC and so appreciate how the Word of God is a major part of it even though at times they might not have seemed to be listening.  As these young people stop by to catch up, we take the opportunity to encourage them to regularly worship and be fed with the Word of God by connecting to one of our churches if they aren’t already a member of a Christian church. 

            We also invite everyone to stop in at the ROC anytime to visit.  We also invite you to check out our new and REDESIGNED web page, www.thewttnroc.com.  An area on the web page that we are developing is the staff page which you get to by going to the web page and clicking on “Staff Info.”  Among the various links, you will notice one called “Staff Pictures”.  We are using this page to honor those who are helping out at the ROC and to develop a history of our volunteers.  Some of our adult volunteers were once ROC teens.  Please consider volunteering.  As one volunteer put it, “I thought I was going to be only giving but I can’t believe how much I have received through my working with the teens.  I have already learned so much.”