Youth Ministry is filled with lots of, um, drama. We loved our students, but there were many nights Gil and I would stay awake fretting over their poor decisions or self-destructive behavior. And that's not even counting for what we would basically call....immaturity.
Sometimes we wondered if anything we said was making a difference. Our whole hearts were poured into these kids, and yet often I thought they really just showed up for the caramel popcorn.
Like anything worth waiting for, we just had to be patient. Our years of youth ministry are over, but we are just now getting the privilege of seeing the fruit. This summer was great evidence of that. So many of our former students were in Tanzania this summer, many of them visiting their families, but others coming back on their own, pilgrimages to the country where they grew up.
And the cool thing is that they looked us up. We want to see you! They said. Sweeter words are never heard to a youth minister's heart. They wanted to see us!
They are adults now, all grown up, yet full of that infectious excitement of youth adulthood. Succeeding in school, getting advanced degrees, earning awards. But more importantly, caring about people, passionate for Africa, following Jesus.
There were so many here this summer that we didn't even get to spend time with them all. If that was you....we still love you! Come see us next time!
|Cecilie and her friend introduced us to the Danish tradition of making a birthday cake to look like the child....and then making the first cut at the neck while everyone screams. Obviously a good way to keep Danish psychiatrists in business.|
|McKenna was an intern with us for six weeks this summer. She wasn't one of our HOPAC students, but she was one of our flower girls when she was 3, so she falls in the same category!|