REBELS in His Hands is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization nestled under the South Expressway in Council Bluffs. At one time the building housed a notorious biker bar, and one of their well-known bouncers was known as notoriously as The Beast.
Somewhere along the way, the biker bar closed and the building fell in to disrepair. Also, along the way, things were changing for The Beast.
The Beast, born Mark Schiller, started getting his life together along with wife, Tanya, whom he met while he was a bouncer at the biker bar and she was a bartender. Mark and Tanya became a committed Christians, and he became a pastor.
Together they acquired ownership of the old building where the biker bar once was housed in. They repaired the old building and reopened it, but not as a biker bar this time, even though bikers are still generally welcome there. No, this time they opened it as a youth outreach center, a "come-as-you-are" alternative Christian church, and a live music venue. They offer youth groups, substance abuse groups, and more, and even offer the building as a rental hall.
Yes, bikers are still welcome, if they are willing to behave themselves, but the main focus of REBELS is on the youth of the community who are searching for direction in their lives, and don't quite fit in at the mainstream churches.
Mark and Tanya toiled away for years trying to build this facility in to a place where lost and searching youth could go to get off of the streets for a while at hangout that not only provided them with a fun evening, but where they can also receive encouragement and mentoring.
Sadly, mainstream religious bodies have largely ignored, or even shunned, REBELS. Partially this is due to not wanting to share their with another program, partially it was due to having a misunderstanding of or, in some cases, a disdain for the alternative nature of the ministry at REBELS, and other times it was simply because of the name REBELS.
The name, by the way, is an anagram. REBELS stands for Real, Everyday Believers Encouraging Lost Souls. In many ways, REBELS does rebel against society, but not in a way that is intended to create havoc and anarchy. Instead, REBELS rebels against the things of society that are so prevalent but that are Biblically incorrect.
Rather than being PC (Politically Correct), REBELS strives to be BC (Biblically Correct). Are they always 100% successful at this? Of course not, but who ever is? Like the rest of us, though, they are doing the best they know how and they continually seek to learn how to do better.
Tragically, Tanya lost a long battle with cancer a few years back. This loss was devastating in two ways. Not only was losing the love of his life heartbreaking for Mark in and of itself, but it was tough for REBELS, too. Tanya handled the bookkeeping for REBELS. Mark was always more focused on the creative side, as well as with mentoring and counseling (in addition to operating his heating and air business).
REBELS suffered from this, and has still not fully recovered. However, they have hung on and are still operating. Mark has managed to hang in and survive the devastating loss, too. He's still operating his heating and cooling business, and has managed to keep REBELS' doors open.
He has also been fortunate to find love again, and has since married Lora. They share a passion for the community's youth, and both work tirelessly to keep REBELS afloat while working jobs during the day. Perhaps more people will pick up on that passion and help share in the vision to help REBELS continue to grow and encourage lost souls of all ages far in to the future.
To learn more about REBELS, go to www.myspace.com/travelingmedicineshow.