Warmth & Acceptance

I started volunteering with YoungLives in September of last year and I have been blown away by these teen moms and dads. Club nights are such a special experience to witness. I love to watch the parents come into Club with their little ones in tow. Many of the toddlers rush into the auditorium knowing they will be loved on by the volunteers, staff and other teen parents. There is a sacred sense of warmth and acceptance at Club. Everyone is welcome because all are loved and accepted by Jesus Christ.

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Parents start the night by having the opportunity to mingle and to shop through the plethora of baby clothes, toys and gear. At around 6:30, after everyone has arrived the entire group stops to pray for dinner. Everyone then enjoys a delicious home cooked meal served by the gracious volunteers. Eating with the families is one of my favorite aspects of Club. It has been a great time to talk to these moms and dads and really hear about what’s going on in their lives, what they are struggling with but also to hear about how well they are managing life and a baby. These parents are incredible. I am constantly amazed at all that these young adults are managing in their lives: from school to work to relationships to family to raising these sweet babies. It’s truly an amazing feat.

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After dinner, everyone listens to a gospel message that is given by a leader or volunteer. Recently, Adrienne gave an especially powerful message. She talked about how Jesus paid the ultimate price by dying on the cross so that our sins would be forgiven. Adrienne demonstrated this point by writing down a sin of her own on a piece of paper and then letting it dissolve completely in a container of water. I think it was a special type of paper that dissolves in liquid, but it so beautifully portrayed how no matter how we have sinned, by way of Jesus’s grace and mercy we are forgiven.

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We broke up into groups after the message and went over a number of very thought-provoking discussion questions. The teens talked about sin and forgiveness. The dissolving paper was passed out and everyone was asked to write down a sin of their own. There were some awkward moments at first, but then everyone in the group ended up writing something down on that piece of paper. No one was asked to share what they put on their paper, because it was between them and God. After everyone was done, each person put their “sin” into the water and stirred and that “sin” immediately dissolved. The exercise was really powerful and helped everyone see the power of Christ’s forgiveness.

It has been truly remarkable to witness these teen parents come together as a community, support one another and learn about Jesus’s love for them. These teens are investing in themselves as well as their little ones. I couldn’t be more blessed by my experience as a volunteer.

♥ Kirsten Beck, Mentor

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