I've been feeling guilty about my inability to keep up with the blog for the last month. I just finished a nineteen day itineration, most of which was in Ohio and Michigan. One amazing, wonderful group of people after another - sometimes several in one day. On top of all the sensory overload, most of my travel was by car, which is not good if one keeps up with blogging by typing while on planes.
Anyway, today I'm headed for Puerto Rico for a long weekend, and then I go on to Cuba to visit with our sisters and brothers in the church there. I'll try to do some writing during the coming week.
I came across this email, from Emily - a young adult volunteer in Miami, and thought folks might enjoy her energy and spirit as I do. Read on.
Family, Friends, Fellow Young Adult Volunteer's…
I don't think that I am alone in the feeling that time is flying by as my year as a YAV continues. There are so many things to be excited about, and so many things to be done, and it's hard to stop and realize that we are in the here and now, so focus!
In February, 22 youth and five adults went to the Casting Crowns concert at the University of Miami. Only a handful of the youth had heard of them, but they were excited nonetheless. Looking across at the two rows on the floor that we inhabited, I was struck by their attention to the speaker, and their reaction to the worship service that we encountered that night. They were so attentive, hanging on every word that Tony Nolan spoke. Afterwards, while we were walking towards the car, singing songs, one of the girls in the youth looked at me and said, "I want to be this excited about God every day, not just after camp or a concert, but I don't know how." My heart leapt! The fact that she was recognizing how fun it can be to worship Christ was amazing. So we spent the next thirty minutes on the way home talking about different ways that one can be excited about Christ every day of the week. What an opportunity! I love the youth at PPUMC. They have seemed to fill a spot in my heart that I hadn't known was empty until I came to Miami. My cup overflows.
Do you ever have moments where you just have to stop what you're doing because you are hit with an overwhelming feeling of just how amazing God is? This happens to me mostly when I'm listening to music or riding in the car, and I don't know what it is, but I just start smiling and my eyes start to fill up with tears because I'm so excited for the things that God is doing and will do in my life and in the world. But why doesn't everyone understand? Why don't people believe? Eternal life! Who wouldn't choose that? It mesmerizes me. The youth laugh at me because the ringer on my phone is a song by Stellar Kart, and when it rings it belts out "Life is good, eternal life is better!" And I just start singing or dancing around a bit. But really, that's exciting, right?!
Youth ministry can be frustrating; I'm not going to lie to you. It's funny, because I don't really get discouraged, I just get frustrated right after a meeting where some people pay attention and some throw pencils across the room the whole time. But then it only takes about five minutes for me to get excited about the next week and doing something different to get their attention, and to show them the love of Christ. One Wednesday night we were sitting around talking about the fact that God sent his only son to die for each one of us, and one of the high school boys was like "That's just ridiculous!" And isn't it? It's ridiculous in the sense that an overwhelming love is given to us through this act, free of charge. The Caring Place kids, while poking each other, sing about how "There's nothing my God cannot do, for you and you and you!" Nothing! Including the fact that He sent his only son to die on the cross for each and every one of us. Sin after sin, up there on that cross. Ridiculous!
Just yesterday Pastor Brian, Jackie and I were talking about youth groups, and I believe that Pastor Brian put the words together beautifully: "There's no such thing as a perfect youth group, and if there is one, it won't be after I join it." Amazing. So true! Who, in their right mind, can envision a perfect youth group when not one of us can claim perfection.
I leave you with some lyrics from the Casting Crowns that always seem to make me tear up, right around "hands and feet." I'm clueless as to why, except maybe it's because I stand in awe of the fact that here I am, small little Emily, yet lifted up in Christ and the work that I am here to do. Of course I continue to struggle in relinquishing everything in my own life to Christ, but I know that is what I strive for, and I know that through that, amazing things will happen.
Lord I give my life
A living sacrifice
To reach a world in need
To be your hands and feet.
Please keep the mission field universal in your prayers, and recognize that there are people of all walks of life and denominations spreading the wonderful Gospel across the world. I even encourage you to find out who some of them are, maybe those whom your church supports, and write to them! Nothing beats knowing you are being prayed for and supported from all over.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." John 14:27