Before coming on staff with North OC YoungLives in August 2017, I was, in my own words, “just a YoungLives volunteer”. That’s how I thought of it. I loved it, I was committed, I talked (a lot!) about it. I was excited to be part of Club nights, pancake breakfasts, golf tournaments, etc… But, I never thought I was doing anything extraordinary or special. THEN…I came on staff. I find it absolutely mind blowing on just how extraordinary volunteers are! I’m seeing them with a whole new lens. I see how self-sacrificing it is on their parts to make Club nights (as well as many other events!) happen for the teen parents and their little ones. Many of them leave families at home to come serve. Students that set aside homework, whole families interrupting their mid-week schedules to be there. When I was “just a volunteer”, I didn’t realize just how much YoungLives depends on those that serve with their hearts, their talents, their minds, their hands, their hugs, their words, their humbleness.
Last week’s Club night in Huntington Beach perfectly exemplifies what I’m talking about. The Gerum guys showed up more than an hour before club to pull out and set up all the tables & chairs and then disappeared making it look like we walk into a room ready to go. Laurie and Cristen available to answer questions about the details of the night and filling in wherever needed. Both of them greeting and hugging the other volunteers as they show up – I love watching them. Tracy came in with a smile and her calm spirit, a roll of table wrap, a basket full of flowers, and bags of conversation hearts – and transformed the room into a sweet, sweet setting for the teen families. Emily Ray, filling in as Childcare Coordinator for the evening, arrived early to set up the nursery & childcare rooms and beautifully welcomed in and prayed for all the childcare helpers. Mentors and other volunteers arrived with the families. Kimberly and the food team brought in a delicious chili dinner – making it look like it’s no big deal to feed a crowd! The little ones headed back to the open arms of childcare help. Eddie & Kelsey showed up with a box of Krispy Kreme donuts, strung them out four feet above ground, and convinced four participants to competitively eat them. And when those donuts landed on the floor…well, it was only a moment’s hesitation before the true competitors willingly raced to the finish by eating them off the floor!
As everyone quieted, Amber opened in prayer and so articulately began to share her heart. She shared some very personal fears and anxiety that she had to face in her own life that caused her to see how much she needed Jesus. Beautifully she shared a list of seven reasons why we ALL need Jesus. Seeds of hope and truth were planted. Craft and chat took place with mentors asking questions about the club talk, sharing their own experiences and listening. Guys circled together in the other room and did their thing. Others began quietly cleaning up the evening as the night came to an end.
I know that it is Christ in these volunteers that stirs their actions. Christ in them, that has shown them that these young families are worth every sacrifice. This all blows my mind. This is extraordinary.
Colleen ~ Area Office Admin