Webster Dictionary defines “blessing” as – “the act or words of one that blesses”.
Last week the YoungLives Committee had the privilege of spending an evening humbly trying to thank all the many volunteers that fill in to make YoungLives not only operate, but to be the outreach of love, encouragement and FUN it is today. When I was asked to share with you a bit about the evening, I thought the best way to do that would be to tell you about these volunteers.
GREETERS: Sign in sheets, name tags, pens, smiles, hugs and a warm “WELCOME, glad you’re here”. They meet the teens, the volunteers & families at the door pouring out love before anyone even steps into the club room.
FOOD PREPPERS: The meals are planned, shopped for, prepared, carted in – piping hot, served with smiles, cleaned up and carted out. At times they have miraculously fed the multitudes with fishes and loaves and other times they box up the leftovers for the young moms to take home – We LOVE this crew!
CHILDCARE CREW: We started this club year with a stomach flu bug that spread like wildfire through our childcare and yet, these folks were not afraid! They show up knowing they are entering the bewitching hour for babies – bottle time and bed time! And so beautifully and with such grace, they take in the babies to feed, rock, play, soothe, change, cuddle and love giving these teen parents a needed break from their little ones.
GAMES & SKITS TEAM: A really sweet time of the club evenings happens just after the kids have been dropped off into childcare and the “teens” get to participate in some wacky little game or skit that gives them a few minutes “to just be kids”. Thanks to the Games & Skits team who is not afraid to embarrass themselves or the teens!
PRAYER TEAM: Intercessory prayer is such a gift of the Spirit and knowing that the teens and their families as well as all the volunteers & supporters are being prayed for is HUGE. This ministry is dependent on God’s will and we thank the prayer team for praying into it!
CRAFTERS: If you walk into this room during club night, you see the heart of YL in action. Girls and mentors all connecting with each other. Glitter & encouragement are sprinkled, glue and lives are bonding. Things get created in this room and it is/they are beautiful.
DADDY MENTORS: When this YL club first started, the vision was to reach out to “teen moms”, but as we have watched the ministry unfold, God had plans to reach out to “teen PARENTS”. So, while the girls go off to the craft room, the guys also gather together.Thank you to the men that have reached out to these young guys in friendship, consistency and accountability.
CLUB TALK: Being vulnerable, honest, willing. Sharing life and Biblical truth to a sometimes restless group – this is where the teens get to hear about the Lord. For some of them, it may be seeds planted, for others it has been the message that changed their life. – Thank you to ALL those that have taught and shared Christ with the teens during the Club Share portion of the evenings.
MENTORS: They’ve paired up, driven countless miles after texting, waiting, loading car seats, bucking in and delivering. They’ve visited, tutored, polished nails, shopped, shared, listened to stories they never really thought they would have to hear. They’ve loved unconditionally, gone to camp, dried tears, baptized, cuddled babies, shown grace, shared Jesus by action and maybe by the Word. All this and more – mentors…you are amazing and without you, there is not a ministry!
FUNDRAISERS: Banquet Dinners and Silent Auctions, Ice Cream sales, Pancake breakfasts and Craft Fairs, and so much more – they’ve given time, money, ingredients and endurance – all to keep YL going and to keep sending teens to camp! We are blessed by these folks!
COMMITTEE: We’ve met, planned, budgeted and prayed over the ministry. Such a privilege to serve along side of such smart, energetic, Jesus loving people – Thank you Committee Members!
SPOUSES, KIDS, PARENTS OF VOLUNTEERS: Thank you for sharing in the ministry by giving up your family members for volunteer time – also, for the times they have volunteered you to help out “just this once”! – Thank you!
OUR MINISTRY PARTNERS: Calvary Chapel Refuge, Mariners Church, First Christian Church, Templo Calvario, St Peter’s By-the-Sea and Rock Harbor – without them this YL club would not have had the opportunity to grow to what it is today – they have strengthened, encouraged and given so much. They pour out and into this ministry in quiet ways that are not always known publicly…we are humbled.
During the evening, I refrained from calling out any names, many of the volunteers serve in many areas and whether it has been one event that they’ve have helped with OR they help every month, we want them to know – this ministry has been BLESSED by all the time and love given.
But I couldn’t pass up the chance to acknowledge our Lord, Jesus Christ who gets ALL the glory in this ministry. We continuously pray for HIM to be the center of all we do. Without Him at the head, this is just a program of works that will not last. We look to Him for wisdom, discernment and strength. We stand amazed at what He has orchestrated and accomplished in the last three years and we thank HIM for what He continues to do in YoungLives.
And finally – though they are almost like one name since they move in this ministry together – Myrna & Yousef. They have been a part of EVERY area of YL and daily continue to do so. I know that God is the center of their lives and marriage and that He reveals Himself through them by filling them with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. They have never desired man’s accolades for what they do. They give relentlessly, they love unconditionally. They stand firmly grounded in Christ and act according to His direction. They are never afraid of seeking out Godly wisdom from others and they are never afraid to state the TRUTH of God’s Word and lead with that as the backbone of their actions.
Every YL teen KNOWS that they can call on them and… they do! We call on them as well. As much as we try to lift some of the responsibilities from them so they don’t get worn out, we cannot keep them out of the middle of most every situation that YL faces – they live and breathe this ministry 24/7. They are precious examples of servants of the Lord they serve – completely taken by Him and living for Him. – THANK YOU MYRNA AND YOUSEF!