NFC interns share stories about their ministry with youth
In my short time with our youth, I’ve been impressed by their understanding of God and the gospel and their willingness to share their developing thoughts. Almost every week I have been caught off guard with how simply one of them phrases an idea that I try to use more words to communicate. I value the simplicity of the gospel. Not to say there isn’t value in digging deeper, but I do believe we find simple truths at the core of God’s message. I love that our youth recognize simplicity and can keep it in mind while also desiring to learn more.
When we break into small groups to have conversation about the lesson, the room rarely becomes silent. Our youth work through questions and ideas very well together. Recently I was impressed by our discussion over a lesson about the femininity of God. The thought seemed like a new idea to a few in the group but so obvious to others. I think everyone in my small group had some thought to offer, and they started to feed off the ideas of the others. I hardly had to direct the conversation.
Each of our youth comes from a different background with different ideas, yet they all seem willing to listen or learn. I hope they never stop! Each one has so much to offer to the conversation as a whole in understanding God better and learning how to love others well. I love that they are all open to listening, questioning, and sharing. I want to keep learning from them as well and that we all can move toward the goal of knowing and loving God and others better.
I always ask two youth in particular when I need help with a hard task. The day I moved, these two 7th grade boys spent all afternoon lugging around furniture with me. Another time, back when the youth program was transitioning into the Friends Center, I asked one of these boys, Elijah, to help me move the foosball tables. He was eager to help, and we had things transported in no time. However, while I was setting the tables up in the basement, he got distracted with a friend who’d come along. Together, they started playing with the wheeled base for the ping pong table. Elijah got only a few seconds of entertainment out of this new toy before the board snapped under his feet, rendering the whole thing useless. Elijah felt terrible and was determined to fix it.
It took us a week to find a board the same size. We went back to the Friends Center, and Elijah drilled the holes to secure the board in place. Once inserted, we stood back to evaluate our work. The board wasn’t the same color, and, though it worked, the stand didn’t look the same—it was ugly. Elijah wasn’t satisfied. The next day, Elijah showed up with several spray cans, some rocks, and a few bottle caps—tools, he said—for spray painting. I learned something new about Elijah: he’s an artist. We took the board off once more and set it outside for Elijah to work on. In 15 minutes, he’d made a beautiful spray paint picture of outer space, complete with stars and planets, on the new board. The ping pong table base in the Friends Center now looks a whole lot cooler, thanks to Elijah.
My prayer for Elijah and for the rest of the youth at NFC is that they better understand how God loves them and has a purpose for their lives, and that, operating within his purpose, they can make a difference—just like Elijah did with some spray cans, rocks, and bottle caps.