Spring was everywhere to be found last Tuesday, April 3rd, at Newsong Church in Santa Ana. A filling meal of stuffed baked potatoes was served (a reminder of the cold temps that were fading) and a refreshing strawberry salad gave a hint of the newness to come. Toddlers toddled around playing without being weighed down by jackets and newborns were passed around amongst friends. Springtime flowers lined the side tables, waiting to be utilized during craft. However, the most evident of the springtime clues, was the conversation between young parents and mentors as they talked about the challenges of finishing the school year strong once spring break was over.
Once dinner and catching up finished, the kiddos were entrusted to the amazingly wonderful volunteers who had come to serve in the childcare room. Mentors and teens gathered in the big room to play a break-the-ice game of “who am I” and many were shocked about just how little so many of us knew about pop-culture. Who could have guessed just how many clues had to be given for Beyonce or Obama to have been recognized???
Next came the heart of the reason why we had gathered… testimony night. Myrna got up and introduced four brave volunteers who have all been working closely with the Santa Ana group for quite a while now and she also shared that testimony night is one of her favorite clubs each year.
We were blessed to hear the testimony of a couple whose lives mirrored many in the room. We heard how life had thrown them a curve ball when they found themselves to be expectant parents as teenagers. They shared about some of the struggles which they had faced such as finishing school, finding jobs, raising kids and getting married. The cool thing for our young parents was that they got to see a hope for their future families… this couple shared that with the faith that they put in Jesus and in God’s plan, they were able to overcome all of the obstacles thrown their way. They have been happily married for many years and are now really productive members of the Santa Ana community. Our young parents got to see how life really can come full circle if you trust the plan that God has for you and turn your family over to Him.
Next to them sat another kind of couple in the form of a father and his 17 year old adopted daughter. They shared a similar message about entrusting God to lead your life, but their path was much different. They represented the single parents out there and the hope that God can heal broken hearts. The daughter shared that she had been born to a single teenage mom and how she had trusted God through prayer to complete her family. This 17 year old is my daughter. I was that teenage mom. God answered my daughter’s prayer by bringing a man into our lives who took on the challenge of entering a ready-made family becoming my husband and her adoptive dad all at one time. My husband went on and shared how he had been in a dark place back then and was taking part in some self-destructive activities until he started to trust in God little by little. He shared how God had brought hope into his life 12 years earlier through a “cute 5-year-old girl and her single mom”, at just the right moment. Both Dave, my husband and Bella, our daughter went on and shared how their journey didn’t end like a storybook. Our entire family had to come together and trust God’s path in order to even begin to be an example of God’s love and to be stewards of His blessings. This may be the path for some of our current teen parents and they got to see that God brings families together in many different ways.
The point of the evening really shone through as the teens found a bit of themselves in each testimony and shared prayer requests with mentors. The power of God’s faithfulness was obvious as the teens learned about how we can leave our old lives behind and accept God’s love at any time (sometimes even multiple times) and how our lives will change when we let God carry ourselves and our families in the palm of His hands.
Theresa Stack, Santa Ana Club Mentor