Saturday, November 12, 2011

Life in His Hands

This past Thursday I once again volunteered at Why Not Missions, but it was the first time I had volunteered there on a normal day - since so far Why Not had been in a transition from one building to another. The house has a pool table, a shuffle board table, and an intense gaming room with three big screen televisions which make it a very youth-friendly environment. We put on some Switchfoot and the youth began to arrive at about 5PM. At first I found myself intimidated by the youth and didn't know how to approach them. It's different than what I am used to because my only experience working with at-risk youth was in a semi-structured environment where I had some sort of defined role - but at Why Not we are literally there to just hang out with the youth, get to know them, and be their friend. I spent a good junk of the evening just feeling like I didn't know what to do and like I maybe wasn't cut out for this. Everyone else seemed to be talking with the youth and starting relationships, but I was left feeling a bit on the outside.

However, half way through the night I gave myself a pep-talk. Even if the first few conversations are awkward, you can't break the ice without....breaking the ice. And since I plan on volunteering there for the duration of my time at university, there is LOADS of time for me to develop relationships with the youth and the first few awkward attempts will be long forgotten by then! I then went into an empty room and prayed, asking God to give me courage/boldness and humility, and then as soon as I exited that room it was completely different!

I started talking with a bunch of boys and one girl who were playing video games, introduced myself, learned their names, what they like to do for fun, what grade they were in, etc. They were very receptive and seemed happy that I was talking with them. They even let me play some video games (that I failed horribly at! lol) By the time it was time for the hot dog meal program, I was calling many of them by name (with a few mistakes a long the way:P) and ended up playing pool with one youth until 9PM. (He kept insisting he was letting me win... :P) I ended up hearing a part of his story... and for confidentiality I won't post it, but it was tough to hear. The night passed without incident, and I was glad I hadn't let my own fears overcome me. I want to learn what it means to love the youth and keep letting God stretch me out of my comfort zone. It will be interesting to see how God uses my time at Why Not.

On Friday night I attended a youth group in Burford with one of the leaders from IVCF - Alana. We watched a movie called To Save A Life - which is probably one of the best Christian movies I have seen. It begins with two boys (Roger and Jake) who are young and good friends. Roger saves Jake's life by pushing him out of the way of a car, and taking the hit himself (giving him a permanent limp). It then flashes to the funeral of Roger, and a clearly distraught Jake. The focus of the movie is how Jake became popular at high school and ditched his friendship with Roger, which partially contributed to Roger bringing a gun to school and shooting himself. The movie journeys along with Jake as he starts to realize that there is more to life than partying, girls, and scholarships, and him dealing with the suicide of his friend. He is befriended by a youth pastor, and begins to have his life shaken up by God. It is a pretty decent movie - and I totally recommend it! It is definitely a youth friendly movie - and Alana and I talked about potentially doing a movie night on campus with it.

Alana and I had some really good 'life chats' before we left for the event, where we both shared some things that we struggle with and just spent some time getting to know each other better. She is a very kind person and someone I look forward to becoming better friends with. She also informed me that the leaders of IVCF are considering me as a leader for next year - and asked if I wanted to attend a leadership training session in December and if I would want to take on a leadership role. I was really taken aback by the offer, since I had never thought about being a leader. I told her I would pray about it, but that I was excited by the offer. I just want to serve where God is leading me. But who knows what God has planned?

This is turning out to be an uber long post! I am now at home in Hamilton for the weekend - with an essay waiting to be written that I would rather not do... and three adorable puppies to keep me thoroughly distracted! I woke up this morning to the sound of my mom and step-dad fighting, and felt the old familiar twist of anxiety in my stomach. Living away from home makes it easy to forget/avoid the problems that my family is consumed by - but of course coming to visit brings them back into sharp focus. I feel much more anxiety here than I do at my dads... and just in general feel kind of hopeless. The only thing I can do for my family is pray, visit, and take opportunities to minister to them. I don't do that well, and would often rather not face all the pain and brokenness in my family. But I also won't give up hope that God can work a miracle in my family, and that He loves my family more than I do! I just want my family members to be healed, and saved. But its a daunting thing, praying against the darkness that surrounds them. Yet I trust that God is mighty to save, and faithful.

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