When the “Justs” are Life Giving

Last Thursday night kicked off the season at our Huntington Beach Club location. For me, this is my 4th year serving with YoungLives and it felt like I was walking into a huge room full of friends. And some, I had never met before, but still the feeling of joy and unity seemed to permeate the room. There is a Community Group from Branches HB church that started showing up last year to serve. They would walk in and say “what do you need us to do?” and we would find ways they could help. Every other month they walked in and said “what do you need us to do?” Last Thursday I walked in and saw that this same Community Group had prepared a delicious dinner for everyone and then served it. Then they headed to Child Care to look after the babies while the teen parents had some time to enjoy the evening. They “know” what to do! And everyone has benefitted from their commitment.

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After dinner, we did the usual – a fun game that got everyone laughing, music by Stevie to get us all singing, and a great message from Myrna to get everyone thinking and reflecting on God. Because at the core of what YoungLives does, the heart of this night is to get everyone thinking and reflecting on Who God is and how does He fit into our hearts and lives? After the message, all the girls head into the craft room and we assembled in small groups to talk about the message and then create. On this night, Tracy and Eden showed how to make pretty slime. Not the typical green slime, but pink, purple, blue and glittery slime. The moms loved it and I’m sure their kiddos loved it the next day! As all the teens headed out for the night, they each had the opportunity to pick out new backpacks that had been donated for them.

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While driving one of the moms and her baby home she said, “I wish you guys had this every week.  It’s the highlight of my month.  You don’t need to make it all fancy and serve dinner every week, just get us all together.” That really moved me. I sometimes don’t realize how much these club nights mean to these moms, dads and babies. Those of us who help out think – well I’m “just” driving a teen to club, or I’m “just” welcoming and checking everyone in, or I’m “just” cooking dinner and serving it, or I’m “just” watching babies, I “just” mentor, or I “just” come and play a few songs, or I “just” tear down afterwards and clean up. These “justs” are LIFE GIVING and possibly LIFE CHANGING.  So, if you ever feel the nudge to serve, but wonder what your small part will mean, please remember that all the small parts come together to mean the world to these young parents. And they appreciate all you do. God appreciates all we do for His children. I’m thankful I “just” get to do something here at YoungLives.

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Lisa Bryan ~ Prayer Team, Committee Member, Club Volunteer

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Obedience + Faith + Love

It’s a pretty big step to go from YoungLives Committee and sign on to become a teen mom mentor, but one that Nicole Vidal has been excited to take…listen to her recap from her first Club Night in Santa Ana!

It’s the first club of the year and I have been eagerly awaiting this day for over a month. In a way it feels like the first day at a new school, anxious about what to expect but excited for the possibilities. I’ve spent most of the day worrying if I was dressed appropriately, if the girls would like me, if I would fit in, if I was really cut out for mentoring teen parents. Thank goodness for the teen I’m driving. She is a club regular and I’ve met her once before so at least there will be a familiar face.

We chat a little on the way but there are both a little reserved.

When we arrive the room is full of life. The sound of voices fills the air and little ones scatter about in excitement. More familiar faces appear and I am put at ease. The teens all seem so happy to be there. We sit together and enjoy a delicious meal while catching up on summer happenings.

DSC_0608During the Club Talk, we heard a story about Jairus, a man who seemed to have it all… wealth, status, fame, family. One day his daughter falls ill and like any father would be, he is grief stricken. Afraid she won’t make it he turns to his last hope…Jesus.

The small group discussions that night were a little quiet. Some teens were hesitant to share and who could blame them. They don’t know who I am and how can they know they should trust me?

DSC_0620It’s easy to think that you failed, that you’re not good enough, or that you just aren’t enough. In those moments I take a step back and hear Jesus say to me, “You were made for this.” Jesus doesn’t ask us to be perfect, he doesn’t ask us to show up once and make a profound impact. What he does ask for is obedience, faith, and love.  The obedience to take a chance and trust that God’s plans are bigger than our own. The unwavering faith that ultimately brought Jairus’ daughter back to life. The same love Jesus showed us when he gave his own life on the cross. A sacrificial love that puts the needs of others above ourselves.

SAClub20918That is exactly what YoungLives is about; showing up, meeting needs, and sharing the love of Jesus with those who may never have known him. I don’t view that first night as a failure. Instead, it’s a first step to lasting relationships and real impact because I refuse to give up on those teens. This is what God has called me into and ultimately it will be by his Spirit that lives are changed. Fears that may have immobilized me are defeated by the light of Christ. The car ride home with my teen was completely different. Conversation flowed naturally and without ceasing. We realized that despite our backgrounds and age difference there is a lot of common ground between us. The first club of the year is over and seeds have been planted. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next several months.

Nicole

Nicole Vidal, Mentor & Committee Member