One of my favorite things I got to do this summer was worshiping in English. I love worshiping in Spanish, as well, but there is just something beautiful and powerful about worshiping in your heart language. My favorite song to sing with a bunch of teenagers and my staff was “King of My Heart” (above). I sang it for the first time in Toronto during their first week of programming and God encouraged my heart during the part at the end that says: “You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down. You’re never gonna let, never gonna let me down. You are good, good, oh.”
Isn’t He good?
God has been speaking to me for years through the story of Abraham. God promised Abraham and Sarah a baby and then He waited YEARS to fulfill that promise. YEARS. In the meantime, Abraham and Sarah doubted (because they were humans) and tried to rush things and shove God’s plan into their own timing and their own vision and imagination and they messed up. But God still kept His promise.
This summer while singing “King of My Heart” with my Toronto staff and their first group of high schoolers, God promised that He was not going to let me down and that one day I would be a wife and a mother. The really cool and exciting thing about following a faithful Jesus is that I don’t have to have any idea what that is going to look like. Because when I try to work it out in my own timing and vision and imagination, I come up blank on a lot of fronts. And if I tried to actually work it out in my own timing and vision and imagination it would be a big time mess up. So I am learning from Abraham and Sarah’s mistake and trusting that God keeps His promises and I am waiting.
I referred to this summer as a test to see if I wanted to move back to the States. I really, really enjoyed being in the States and in Canada this summer. I loved having a car and eating fast food and worshiping in English. But the SECOND I got back to Jarabacoa it was very clear to me that it is absolutely in no way time for me to move to the States. Or Canada.
During the last week or so of the summer I was trying to work out my feelings about the summer ending and a new school year beginning. At the time all I could up with was, “I’m ready to be back in Jarabacoa, but I’m not ready to be done with YouthWorks.”
I LOVE YouthWorks. I am a YouthWorks fan girl. I highly recommend YouthWorks to anyone and everyone. Take your youth group, work as a summer staff, go to your nearest community cookout – do YouthWorks! And I really enjoyed the role I got to fill this summer as Area Director and I really did not want to stop doing YouthWorks. But, it was a summer position and it wasn’t time for me to move to Minneapolis (not that it ever will be – who knows?) so my time with YouthWorks did come to an end and back to Jarabacoa I came.
But remember how we established a couple paragraphs ago that God is faithful and that He makes and keeps promises and fulfills the desires of our hearts and is good and loves us really well? Well, one way that God is keeping promises and fulfilling the desires of my heart this year is through Young Life!
My very best Jarabacoa friend has dedicated her life to Young Life – to loving teenagers hard enough and long enough to earn the right to share her love of Jesus with them. Last year she asked if I would be interested in working with Young Life here in Jarabacoa. I was kind of interested but hesitant to commit to anything because I was starting that new job at the hostel. So I didn’t commit to anything, which was good, because the hostel kind of took over my life. But this year I get to build my schedule up from scratch again and so right off the bat I made a commitment to serve with Young Life this year.
At the first Young Life event, a YL interest dinner last week, Amanda spoke to us about what we can expect this year if we choose to serve with Young Life. She talked about the importance of relationship and how so often when working with teenagers we adult-people end up getting our own hearts so filled up and our eyes opened wider to who God is and what He does because of the teenagers we get to hang out with. And it hit me! (By “it” I mean the Spirit of truth.) This was the way for me to not be done with YouthWorks.
Obviously Young Life and YouthWorks aren’t technically exactly the same thing. But they both have the same goal – connect teenagers to Jesus. Young Life is the gift that God has given me this year. Through YL, God has gifted me the opportunity to continue to pour into teenagers, to ask questions and be blown away by spiritually mature answers, to play cards, to laugh, to serve alongside, to teach, to learn, to bear his image as a relational being in new ways here in Jarabacoa.
When I was in sixth grade a college student decided to invest time in some middle school girls (me being one of them) and for the following seven years that college student became a real live adult woman who continued to invest more and more time and energy into me and my gal pals from church. She is, to this day, an important person in my life and a dear friend. To think that I could be that to some unsuspecting middle school girl is mind blowing, humbling, and super exciting.
Young Life is another way for me to put down roots here in Jarabacoa, to commit to this community and its people. I hope and pray that this school year I get to be part of relationships that will last for years. I pray that God would see fit to use me long term in students’ lives and that I wouldn’t let my own junk get in the way of that.
My commitment to Young Life and how awesome it feels to start planning and praying is another confirmation of what I felt this summer – that I’m in Jarabacoa to stay for a while… until God tells me to get out. And that, above all else, most importantly, and most beautifully, He is never gonna let me down. He is good, good, oh.