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Thrive gathering held at Joshua House

Countless people attended a monthly gathering titled Thrive at Joshua House last Friday, February 21 for entertainment and fellowship. This event is just one of the many activities that director of Joshua House, Jim Kilmartin plans for youth and young adults.
“Thrive is a youth-young adult praise and worship service, and it’s gathering people from around the area. It’s focused on Tyrone people,” said Kilmartin. “The last one, we had 100-120 people here, and people came from Indiana, Huntingdon, Altoona, Phillipsburg, State College, Tyrone and other places, so it was kind of neat to have that many.
“It’s just like a big church service, but it’s focused and geared at young people. It’s very lively and can be very loud. It’s exciting, it’s ecstatic, and it’s intense, it’s really wonderful,” said Kilmartin of the purpose of the monthly Thrive gatherings.
The praise and worship team from Antioch International Church was the entertainment for the night as they sang and played musical instruments. Antioch International Church is in State College where Kilmartin is a pastor. Future Thrive’s are scheduled at the Joshua House at 7 p.m., March 15, April 26 and May 24. The meetings are geared towards teens to early-mid thirties, but Kilmartin said that everyone is welcome to attend.
Besides the Thrive gatherings, many other exciting activities take place at Joshua House. On average 30-40 kids visit Joshua House a day. Kilmartin has organized different bible study groups, or cells, for the guys, girls and a play group for young moms and their children. At Tyrone High School, Kilmartin leads a prayer group every Tuesday before school that averages 25 kids in attendance entitled Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Last Thanksgiving, the kids at Joshua House helped those less fortunate by partnering with the Salvation Army in town to serve a meal to 120 people. Right now, Kilmartin is preparing for the three-on-three basketball tournament that Joshua House sponsors in the summertime.
“For Easter, the kids are going to make some Easter baskets with food in it and take them to some needy families,” added Kilmartin.
With all of this activity, Joshua House is looking to expand. The proposed new building site is the old Radio Shack in Tyrone. Kilmartin struggled at first to start Joshua House as a safe place for young people, but now his idea has succeeded and needs room to grow.
“God just put a real burden on my heart for a place, a kind of a safe place for young people to be,” said Kilmartin. “We all know about the drugs and all the garbage that goes on in town, and I just wanted to create an atmosphere for people to find a safe haven. But also one of my desires is to help these guys find what they’re called to do in life.
“The big thing is we’re looking at a new building. We’re averaging 30-40 kids a day. They’ll come in after school to hang out, some will bring their homework in, but mostly they’ll come in to hang out. When you get 30 at at time in here, it’s too many because they’re all moving around.”
Joshua House is attempting to buy the Radio Shack building because it has room to expand. When the building goes up at sheriff sale, it will cost approximately $100,000. Kilmartin has also checked with local contractors who estimated that a much-needed new roof will cost around $20,000.
“My desire for this new building is that I want to have a learning lab which would be computers, resources and a homework center. The second area would be a rec area, and we could hold our youth-young adult worship gatherings,” said Kilmartin.
Also, the building has enough space for a bike rack for kids to park their bikes without blocking the sidewalk. There is even a space that could possibly be rented out for retail which would help the Joshua House financially.
Joshua House is a non-profit organization funded by individual, church and business donations. Also, new volunteers are always welcome. The hours of operation are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 3-6 p.m.; Thursday, bible study from 6-9 p.m. and one Friday night a month is movies and games night.
The mailing address is P.O. Box 27, Tyrone; the email address is Joshuahouse1@hotmail.com and the phone number is 684-2032. Anyone interested on being on the mailing list for the Joshua House newsletter can email Kilmartin.
“Joshua House is a place for the kids in the community,” Kilmartin added. “It’s a place anybody can come to and everyone is welcome to come to.”