As one of the Guy Leaders and Program Leaders (along with his wife Cheryl), Joey Wagner shares his Club experience.
What a night we had spending the evening with the teen moms and dads at our November club in Santa Ana! This is the first year my wife and I have had the opportunity to be a part of YoungLives and it’s been amazing to see the work that God has been doing in the teen moms and dads already. We’ve seen joy in the teens lives just from the simplicity of the volunteers showing up, being consistent, having fun, and loving them without judgement. Being a mom and dad isn’t an easy job and to see these teens do it so well and to see how much they love their kids has been a blessing to me and I couldn’t be any more proud every time I come to club and see what great parents these teens are in the face of adversity and challenges of balancing work, school, family, and caring for their kids.
The November club was extra special as one of the volunteers shared a tough message on dealing with a tragedy in her life and questioning why something like her experience could happen to her and her family. After her sharing we broke into small groups and everyone was given a chance to share something that they had dealt with in the past or were dealing with currently. It was so awesome to watch some of the teens open up and be vulnerable. The amount of trust they had with the volunteers was amazing and you could see God working in their lives. They shared some tough things and it gave the volunteers a chance to pray and love on the teens even more. Even when things for them may seem so desperate and they may feel alone they always have God on their side to be their rock and place of comfort.
I had a chance to spend time with the teen dads and we talked about prayer and spending time each day talking with God. It dawned on me that maybe some of these teens have never prayed before. Maybe they felt embarrassed to pray or frankly didn’t know how to pray. I was able to share with them the simplicity that prayer could be and that there was no right or wrong way to pray. No special words or fancy method but that God just wants us to talk to Him. Just like their kids would talk to them, God is excited to hear from us no matter what. If we fumble our words, if some days we only talk to Him for a minute, other days we talk to Him for an hour, God is always there willing to listen and happy to hear from his children. He will always be our Father and does not judge us and will never abandon us.