Full-Blown Mentoring

During the Summer of 2016 I took my six-week old baby girl to camp with North Orange County YoungLives just a couple of months after turning 18 years old myself. To describe the way I was feeling, anticipating camp for the first time, I would pick the word terrified.

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I was so scared. I had never left my baby with anybody for a single minute, and I ended up leaving her with the amazing childcare volunteers at camp every single day! That week, I learned what it meant to put all of my trust in God completely.

During the Summer of 2018 I had the privilege of returning to camp with North OC YoungLives as a Junior Mentor! God used this opportunity to stretch my heart, allow me to reflect on my own journey as a young mom reaching out to Jesus, and to help me grow in practicing hospitality toward others. I will never forget camp as a Junior Mentor.

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Last week, I attended my very first Mentor Meeting! I didn’t really know what to expect when I showed up. The meeting ended up being more like a mini Bible study for mentors! We read scripture, discussed some questions, shared stories, and we talked about some of our insecurities in mentoring. It was so nice to have that space and time with the other volunteers.

I am so excited to step into full-blown mentoring with YoungLives and to attend camp this Summer as a mentor! Each young parent that I have met at club has a uniqueness about them. They are the best mothers, and the best fathers to their children. They are encouraging, resilient, and incredibly hard-workers. My biggest prayer lately has been that God will fully open my heart up to whoever I get to mentor, and that He will guide me in my interactions with that person to glorify Him!

I remember what it felt like to crave connection as a young mom. I still crave this connection, and I still receive that love and fellowship from my own YoungLives mentors. God brought the right people into my life when I needed them the most, and I am so confident and thrilled that He will continue to use volunteers and mentors in the lives of the teen parents in our community.

Jayanna Hendley, Mentor

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One Small Step

As I prepare to embark on a move across the country with my husband, I can’t help but reflect on the similarities of the journey to where I am today in life and my experience with YoungLives. I was first introduced to YoungLives by a woman in my Bible study and was looking for a way to get involved in ministry. My first time volunteering was for the Christmas boutique two years ago, and I spent the entire night loving on little ones while their parents enjoyed whatever was happening outside of the nursery. It wasn’t a grand, life changing experience in that moment but it was a step in faith to where God was calling me.

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I ended up registering for Fall Kickoff volunteer training the next August and in those eight months thought about all of the ways I was going to serve those girls and the ways I was going to impact their lives. I had checked off Mentor with enthusiasm on the application and decided to take a look at Committee positions as well because a couple of the roles peaked my interest. Well, that first year I wasn’t a Mentor as I had been planning but I stepped into the Committee role of Community Outreach Specialist. Community Outreach Specialist? What does that even mean? What did I get myself into? I have no idea what I’m doing. This was not my plan. These are the thoughts that went through my head as I accepted the position. Turns out the role involves reaching out to businesses and people in the community who may want to support the organization in either specific or general giving. I figured, OK, not so bad, there isn’t much pressure and I can figure this out.

A couple of months later the decision was made to hold another Giving Gala the following year, in 2018. It is by far the biggest event of our year and it is a wonderful experience for all who attend. Part of the Giving Gala is a silent auction and guess who was in charge…yep, that’s me. I can not even lie about how terrified I was to take this on. Am I even qualified? What if I fail? Another step in faith and although I still didn’t believe I was qualified to head this up, God held all the power in the situation and it wasn’t until I learned to relinquish the power to Him that the whole experience became much more enjoyable. With help from other Committee members and members of my church community we were able to make the silent auction a big success!

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It was definitely a time of spiritual growth as I learned to ask for help and to lean into God. I continued in the Community Outreach position the rest of the year and into the next. I was also eager to step into a Mentor position so I could really have an impact! I felt ready and I did get to mentor as I had hoped I would. Terror again. What if the girls didn’t like me? What if I said something stupid? Oh man, Nicole, what were you thinking? The first night I drove a girl to club, my stomach was nervous the entire ride there but the ride home was much easier and every encounter after that got better and better.

 

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I also volunteered to teach YoungLives Parenting Classes at a local high school in Garden Grove. Twice a month, Myrna and I collaborated to prepare a lesson for a group of about 8-10 girls. The teen parents warmed up a lot faster than I anticipated and soon were asking questions and sharing from their hearts. Each time we met, Myrna would invite them to the next club and I would encourage them to go. I don’t think even one of them showed up until November and it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. That is, until the Christmas boutique this past December. Nothing compares to the feeling of seeing about a half dozen of the girls you have been loving on, walk through the doors to experience all that YoungLives has to offer. The entire night was amazing. My experience this second time at the Christmas boutique was much different than my first. Having built a relationship with other volunteers, and getting to know the girls through club and the Parenting Classes really changed my perspective regarding how this event played into the big picture.

What I had anticipated would be a way God would use me to serve teen parents was also a way in which those teen parents served me. The past two years that I have been involved in this ministry has stretched me out of my comfort zone, has deepened my relationship with Christ and has shown me that all it takes is a step of faith over and over again to where God is calling. I know now that God does not choose those who are qualified but he qualifies the called. He has provided not only for me but also for this ministry because it aligns with His will. I am confident that God will continue to provide for this ministry and as difficult as it is to step away from the North Orange County chapter and step into this new chapter of my life, I know that God has His hand in it and that this first step of faith is only the beginning. Thank you Young Life for persevering in your mission to reach teens and young adults with the Word and for continuing to support YoungLives as they love on teen parents and their babies. Thank you Myrna, Colleen, Committee and volunteers for all of the ways you work to serve those parents without judgement. Thank you, whoever you may be, for subscribing to the email list and reading this post. If you have ever had an inkling of an inclination to get involved but something has held you back, I encourage you to take that small step of faith now and trust that God’s plans are greater than your own.

Nicole Vidal, Committee Member and Mentor (and someone that we will greatly miss!!!!)

Hello!

My name is Adrienne Garcia and I am honored to be the newest staff member with North Orange County YoungLives. I have been volunteering with this ministry for two years and am so honored to be able to work alongside them! I feel so grateful and humbled that YoungLives has invited me to be a part of this amazing organization and that I get to meet amazing teen parents and their kiddos. I will be teaching parenting classes at local high schools in Santa Ana, equipping and training volunteer mentors and facilitating monthly club gatherings for our teen families. It never ceases to amaze me that God allows me to work intimately with the things that are close and dear to His heart. Sometimes I do not fully understand why He has chosen me to be a part of something so special and beautiful; but I am so honored to share the love of God with the wonderful families we encounter. I love sharing how Jesus has changed my life and that they too can have a personal relationship with Him and have their lives radically changed.

A little about me…my husband David and I have been married for six years and have three beautiful children (Tayte, Rylie and Liyah). Our family has always had a heart for local missions and it is one of our core family values to serve together. I love that we can serve and build relationships with the teen families as a whole family. We live in Santa Ana and have such a heart for the community. Both my husband and I grew up in Orange County and we have personally seen the need for ministries like YoungLives in the community. I love how YoungLives genuinely and intentionally cares for the community God has entrusted them with. I highly respect that the ministry effectively trains and equips their volunteers, so that they can build trustworthy relationships with the teen families.

I am so excited to embark on this amazing new journey with YoungLives and continue to see God’s unbelievable love and work on display through teen families of North Orange County!

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One Is Where It All Starts

Courtney Villasenor who is a wife, mom of three, hairstylist, and a special volunteer who has been a part of YoungLives for the last four years, shares a bit of her own story and what being a volunteer means to her.

When I was 17, I was in a dark place in my life. I had a boyfriend with whom I had a toxic relationship with, and before I knew it I found myself “in love” and expecting a baby. I didn’t initially have the support of the father, so for a while I was scared and in this crazy situation alone! Growing up as a pastor’s kid, I couldn’t (initially) tell my parents in fear of disappointing them. So here I was 17 and pregnant, baby father wasn’t around, & my friends were off being normal 17 year olds. It was a really scary time!!!! I think back to those days and don’t know how I even managed to get through my days of going to school, cheer practice, and homework, all while trying to hide this huge secret.

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That sweet baby went home to be with the Lord before I met him/her, and it took me a lot of years to instead of being angry with God for my loss, know that He had other plans for my life before I became a mom. I know now that YoungLives was something meant for me to be apart of, so I could turn my sorrow into something beautiful by blessing these moms and dads. I know all too well what a lot of them are feeling everyday and that breaks my heart for them, but also pushes me to make their monthly club nights as special as possible. So for the few hours they’re at club they can just forget about the stress of the world and school and feel blessed. Hopefully they will feel the love of God through what we’re doing and that will in turn get them asking more questions about God and starting their walk with Him.

So many of these teens are going through what I faced for a short while everyday – scared, maybe alone in their pregnancy, not knowing where their next meal will come from, not having support or help from family, or how they’ll even get through school to graduate. I thankfully had parents who accepted my situation with open and supportive arms, but that’s not always the case for teen parents, and I can’t imagine going through that time of my life if I hadn’t had my parents. I hope to show these girls through my story, that even though they might be facing some dark days; God is still there. He’s still watching, & working, & most importantly no matter what, L O V E S them!

That’s where YoungLives comes in, we have opportunity to be that support system for them and try to do life with them as much as we can! Sometimes all they need is an ear, or something to look forward too when life is hard. The volunteers at YoungLives want the best for these mamas and dads and being able to support them and lend a hand is something so little, but in the end could be so impactful for their future!

If you know me at all, you know I LOVE a good party, so when they put me in charge of decorating I was stoked! I am not always the best with expressing myself or talking in front of people, but I can decorate the heck out of tables; and I thought, how amazing it would be to be able to make this place like a fun party every month for these teen mamas and dads! The greatest part about it all is my big kids, Emma, seven & Crew, five, are involved and it’s something special we get to do together every month. They’re still very young, but they understand that we get to throw these fun parties for mommies & daddies who work really hard and deserve a fun night! My kids are very blessed and my husband and I have always tried to teach them about giving back & blessing others. Through YoungLives they are seeing me do this, but also wanting to help me and enjoy making it so special for the other parents! They also get to help in child care with the babies when the moms & dads hear the message. My little Emma LOVES all the babies!!!! Her heart is so big and she looks forward to helping every month. This love for helping is so strong in their hearts and I pray that by them seeing me volunteer every month, it will grow deeper in their own hearts to bless others so that when they’re older it won’t be “just a fun time to help mom decorate” but instead they will feel called to bless others all around them and continue to spread the word and God’s love in the simplest ways.

 

Trying to find a way to serve God while in the midst of motherhood, with three little kids, and working, and homework… it can be super hard at times! Because for me, most days, I feel like I’m called by just being a mom and by doing my best to serve and teach God’s word to my own kids. But being a part of YoungLives, and having my kids serving alongside me, it’s become a regular part of our lives. Sometimes the simplest acts of kindness is all God expects from us. For me, to be able to hold a baby so a mama can eat, or hear the message and reflect on the Word with the mentors is such a blessing. At the end of the day if there’s 30 moms, and only one leaves with a full belly AND a full heart with the gospel, then it was a job well done! That’s the biggest goal we can have every month is to try and reach at least one heart. One is where it all starts.

 

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Belonging

The word that comes to mind when I think about monthly Club gatherings is BELONGING. I love how every aspect of club creates a sense of belonging for our teen families. From the minute they walk through the door they’re greeted by a volunteer and welcomed with a smile, hug, and conversations that show they are seen and cared for.

For a couple of families, this was their first time attending a club. Many of them had been to the Christmas Event and wanted to come and see what a ‘regular’ club gathering looked like and to reconnect with the volunteers they had met in December. It was such a beautiful visual to see these new families fit right in. Remembered, seen, and having a place of belonging.

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One of my favorite aspects of club is the donation table. There is never a month that goes by that we don’t have a surplus of donations for our families to choose from. It amazes me how there have been so many months that I have heard from the families that they were in need of a certain item or that they wish that they could afford to buy their child a certain toy and they have been able to find it at the donation table. To me that just speaks to the way that God can use tangible items to display His love for His children in very unique and specific ways to show these families that they are cared for and that He will even meet their most basic needs.

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I also love that we eat dinner as a “family” because it too demonstrates a sense of belonging and being a part of a larger community. It’s so fun to hear conversations and watch friendships being built around the dinner table. It displays that we’re there to support one another whether by simple things such as letting our mamas eat dinner while we hold their sweet babies or by just simply listening about their days and getting to know each other better.

Sarah led us in a silly game to start off the program and it was so great to hear our teen parents and volunteers laughing and having time to be carefree. One of the teen moms who attended camp over the summer shared her experience with camp and encouraged the other teen moms to start thinking about signing up to go this summer. The thing that impressed me about this teen sharing was that it was her very first time at club and she felt so comfortable with everyone that she couldn’t wait to share with the other teens. Her passion about camp spread throughout the night amongst the other teen moms and they were talking to Myrna about how they either wanted to go to camp for the first time or that they wanted to go again because they had such a great time last year!

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For Club Talk, Fred spoke on the need for God in our lives. It was so inspiring and personal and I could see everyone engaged with what he was sharing and at times able to relate with his personal story of thinking that He did not need God anymore and that he could handle his life on his own. He shared about some of the bad choices he made and the consequences that stemmed out of that, but because he grew up knowing who God was he was able to go back to those deep roots and rebuild a Godly foundation for his life. He encouraged all of us to look into our own lives and see the ways that God has been there for us in the good and bad times. He affirmed the teen parents by praising the commitment they have made to their children by being there to raise and care for them. He also challenged them to start thinking about what it would look like to start establishing deep roots about God in their children’s lives so that when they get to hard times in their lives they will be able to go back to those roots and remember that God is always there and wants to meet their needs no matter how big or small they may be. The group discussion time was so rich and encouraging because so many of the teens shared about their lives and the ways they have seen God meet their needs. They also shared about the people God has placed in their lives to help meet the needs they have. I loved looking around the room and seeing both volunteers and teens engaged with one another.

The night ended with the teen moms excited that the craft would be making slime for their kiddos and the dads spent time with our male mentors and getting to know each other better.

IMG_2019 copyThe overall evening was such an enriching time. Every time I leave club I feel so grateful and blessed that I get to participate and belong in YoungLives!

Adrienne Garcia, North OC YoungLives Staff

Fresh Start

There is nothing like a clean slate, a fresh start, new mercies. That’s what a New Year brings. We stop and think about what direction we’d like to head, the goals we’d like to meet, places we’d like to go, people we’d like to hang out with. BUT, it also stops us and gives us a minute to look back over the last year. At YoungLives, we are sometimes so busy planning our next Club Night, parenting class, committee meeting, fundraiser, etc… that we forget just how much fun we had along the way! Here’s a look at 2018 in pictures. 200+ teens and their little ones, 70+ volunteers, 30+ graduations celebrated, winter and summer camps, 10 Club events in two cities, weekly parenting classes, four major fundraisers, weekly prayer coverage, committee meetings, coffee meet ups, and sooooooo many things in between. What a blast!

If you’re reading this and aren’t currently involved, you should consider it – we honestly have so much fun together and the best part…lives are changing. Young lives are changing with the teens and their children as they are exposed to the Lord by word and by actions. Volunteers lives are changing also because that’s just how good the Lord is – the more we share with others, the more abundantly He blesses us – there is no outgiving Him. If you’re ready to start something new – YoungLives may be just what the Lord is calling you to in 2019. If so, get in touch with us…we’d love to talk with you!

When You Wish Upon A Star

“When you wish upon a star, it makes no difference who you are. “

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That’s the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Disneyland, there is something about a place that when you enter you are enveloped by these types of messages. Things of wishes, dreams and wonder are often left in the state of childhood. Regardless of age and where you come from, the minute you enter the park everyone has the same access to all the Disney magic. You might have to wait in long lines and manage through busy crowds, but everyone with a ticket to the “Magic Kingdom” is able to enjoy the benefits of the “happiest place on earth”.

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I recently had the pleasure to visit the park along with a few teen moms and their kids from YoungLives. There’s something special getting to witness others experience places like Disneyland, especially through the eyes of a child.  At every turn there is wonder and amazement. Children have a way of reminding us the simple and beautiful things that make us human. We spent a whole 12 hours walking around the park and making the most of all the sites, rides and delicious treats. The park was decorated for Christmas with trees, trimmings and many, many lights. It was the sweetest thing to see the moms delight in sharing this experience with their little ones. Throughout the entire day they were all smiles and carefree spirits, the kind that comes when you are in the moment and embrace life’s simple pleasures. These moms are some of the bravest women and they model so much sacrifice and love for their kids, to say this gift was a treat is an understatement.

One of the things I appreciate about serving with YoungLives is that they do many amazing things to help and care for teen parents and their families, but what stands out is how they don’t just strive to provide basic needs, they go above and beyond to restore love and dignity with gifts and experiences like Disneyland. They may start with the practical, but they move on to help these teens to believe in themselves and their futures.  They say that raising a child takes a village, and for those that are a part of YoungLives, they get to experience community and support in ways that allow them to not just thrive but flourish.

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That day, God reminded me once again, it really doesn’t matter who you are. Even greater than Disneyland, the invitation into the Kingdom of God and access to the abundant life is available for all. Regardless of where we’ve been and what our circumstances are we can step into the reality of life and joy to the full. That is what the gospel is all about, Jesus desires to restore hope, love and new dreams to all those who would accept the invitation.

Ellie Fonseca, YoungLives Mentor

Crazy Generosity

Have you ever seen crazy generosity? The kind that really makes no sense? The kind where you step back and go – Really? The flavor of giving that leaves you with your jaw on the ground and a million questions swirling in your head? I have. I got a front row seat to that kind of makes-no-sense, bigger-than-us generosity at our recent YoungLives Christmas Boutique. And let me just tell you, it was soulfillingly (yes, I just made up that word!) beautiful.

The generosity started with the giving of gently used items for babies, mamas, and baby daddies / boyfriends. I casually made an announcement at a weekly gathering I attend. I figured I would just “throw it out there” and maybe have a couple of people give a few things. Fast forward a few weeks, and a literal mountain of donated items was in front of my garage door. I got a little choked up by such kindness. Oh, but the goodness of generosity was just getting started.

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After that there was a simple little text from a friend. Her daughter’s National Charity League group had voted and they wanted to give a bunch of wrapped gifts to our Young Lives moms. Would that be OK, the text asked. Young girls giving to other young girls in a very different circumstance. If that isn’t beauty, I don’t know what is.

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Other volunteers across the county were having the same experience as me as we collected and sat in awe of the abundance. On the evening of the event, we filled one room where the moms and young guys would have a chance to shop for themselves, one room where they parents could shop for their babies, one room where new toys were on display and the teen parents could place tickets in a raffle to win the toy of their choice, gifts under a tree to be given to the girls as they arrived, and then a parting gift for the end of the evening. Did I mention that someone stopped by the morning we were setting up and just happened to have gifts to give to all the kids when they sat on Santa’s lap?  Oh, yeah, that happened too!

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Are you getting the picture?  Are you seeing the love and kindness just seeping out of the edges of this whole beautiful scene? Not quite? OK, then let me tell you about the kind of generosity that doesn’t offer THINGS, but time and talents.

So much of that kind of generosity showed up at the Christmas Boutique that I don’t even know where to begin. I could tell you about the young woman who gave her time to decorate the entire venue EXQUISITELY. Or I could tell you about the hours of logistical planning that went into making the whole evening flow smoothly. I could also mention the army of baby holding arms and patient listening ears that came out to rock, cuddle, read, and play with the little 50+ guests in attendance. Oh, and there was the professional photographer who set up the most beautiful of back drops for family photos for these teens. Yep, they ARE families and their special moments, like Christmas with their babies, deserve marking, honoring and remembering too. That was a generous gift that will be treasured for years to come.

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Ever think about driving as being generous?  I can assure you that as a mom with 4 kids left at home, each with a bajillion activities, driving is a pure act of generosity! And our volunteers and mentors battled the traffic of a Tuesday night and the car seat wrangling required to get babies where they needed to be. They did it with ease and grace – even at the end of the evening when loading their cars up to leave was harder than winning a game of Tetris.

 

Then there were the guys that prepared the meal. When we volunteers gathered in the kitchen to pray before the guests started to arrive, I was just overcome by how a simple smell can speak love. The meal of ham, sweet potatoes, and spinach salad smelled so good and so comforting. These guys had given their day to prepare a meal to be shared and enjoyed by many that they didn’t even know. That there is a foodie’s generosity in all its glory.

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And then Myrna’s message. Oh, the message that is so simple that it can be contained in one nativity sticker sheet. And yet, it’s so complex that you can hear it again and again and take something new away each time. The teens sat and heard of Jesus’ birth and of circumstances that weren’t ideal and choices that were hard. They heard of shepherds who “leaned in” and went to see, because a great and generous God told them to. They were invited to lean in too, to see what God has for them. 

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Some went away with a lot of wonderful gifts. Some went away inspired and encouraged. Some went away feeling loved and cared for. Some went away understanding the Christmas story for the first time ever. And some went away believing again in the goodness of the God who created them and the gift of His son that we celebrate at Christmas. Whatever each teen took away from that beautiful evening, it was generosity in its many and varied forms that made it possible. The same generosity that brought a baby into the world thousands of years ago overflows in us today to point the way back to Him!

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Merry Christmas to all of our teen parents and babies as well as to all of our YoungLives supporters and volunteers!

Tricia Poissonnier, YoungLives Volunteer

 

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

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This may just look like a random photo but when you’re knee deep into YoungLives, you begin to see the stories unfolding. Stories that have stories of their own. And this photo, though random at first glance actually tells so many stories.

There’s a few girls and their little ones that are in this photo that are alumni moms – those that have graduated from high school. Moms that are raising up toddlers now. They are busy moms figuring out next steps, doing their best to raise their little ones with patience, and love, and manners, and security. They have dreams for themselves and dreams for their little ones. They are not too different then many reading this, in their hopes for their futures, though their obstacles are most likely bigger than ours. I admire them so much for their strength and for their willingness to keep pushing forward. It’s super sweet that on occasion, when their schedule allows, they come back to see us and help out. They are friends of ours and I love seeing them in this photo all together.

One of the alumni, Jayanna (seated on the floor in the grey sweater), has come back to YoungLives full force – she joined the team at Summer Camp as a Junior Leader, she shares encouragement with the young moms. She attends both Santa Ana and Huntington Beach Clubs helping out in anyway she can – eager to give back. She will tell you that YoungLives has really impacted her life and that’s why she wants to give back, but that is a two way street because YoungLives is really impacted by her as well.

Right in the middle of the photo, wearing the white kimono, is Laurie Bradley, Huntington Beach Club Coordinator. She keeps things moving along on club nights from set up to tear down. She spends a good deal of time hugging volunteers, teens, and the babies. She is one of those that checks in with people, making sure they are okay. Asking questions and really listening. She loves the Lord like no other and it can’t help but to reveal itself. She plays a part in so many of the stories of YoungLives.

On the right in the photo, I see the back of Keila wearing the gold color top. Her story about volunteering was featured on the blog in November…you should check it out (here) because it is pretty awesome.

Just to the right of Keila is her friend that is expecting any day now. A new YoungLives baby on the way…the story continues.

In the back of the photo (far right) – a young mom and dad and their little one. They are such a sweet family. This is what they shared recently, “We have both faced many challenges in our lives and we still do everyday. We have learned that YoungLives is always there for us teen parents. We both hope to finish high school and go to college to begin careers for our family. Thank you for everything YoungLives. We really cannot explain how grateful we are for this program.”

God willing, the stories will continue. I’m so grateful to be part of it.
Colleen Drew, Area Office Admin

Thankfulness

This week was a first for me in YoungLives. Due to a schedule change we had made for Club Nights, there was going to be one month, November, that would land TWO Clubs into one week. This was that week.

Honestly, heading into it I was a bit apprehensive about keeping things straight from an administrative point of view. Is food, craft, decor, program, message, childcare, rides lined up for Santa Ana? What about for Huntington Beach? Wait. Do we have a musician for Huntington? We don’t have live music in Santa Ana (still a prayer that hasn’t quite been filled yet!), so I don’t need to worry about it there but almost forgot to inquire for HB. Oh yes, and a change in childcare room availability in Santa Ana…okay, no worries, we got this. BUT…will the sweet high schoolers show up to help us in Santa Ana childcare? What if they don’t? Yikes! (I’m reminded how we are so blessed to have the Lord watching over this ministry and providing just what we need but I sure wish He would bring us a few more volunteers in this area – lol!) For the record…the high schoolers showed up and were AMAZING as always. Stevie showed up in Huntington Beach to provide music like he always does.

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The Thanksgiving meals were prepared with serious love…I’m talking about volunteers that go above and beyond…turkey, fresh veggies, homemade rolls, parmesan chicken, lemon bars, brownies, cookies, cupcakes…unbelievable goodness. The rooms in both locations were so festively decorated, reminding us that it’s Thanksgiving time and there is much to be grateful for.

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Strong messages were given in both clubs by Evie in Santa Ana and by Lisa in HB. As we head into the Christmas season, I thought that Lisa posed a really great question to the teens – “Do you think there are benefits to getting to know Jesus?”  She shared how we sometimes decide we don’t like someone because they appear different than us. We don’t really get to know them, we just decide we don’t like them. She told us that was how she first felt about Jesus, until she got to actually know Him. She challenged the teens to follow Christ through one of the gospels, to at least get to know Him before hanging onto the thought that they don’t like Him. Travel where He travels, see what He has to say, check out who He is hanging out with, watch out for His reactions, see how He treats people that are different from Himself. She told them, they may just find out that they like Him and want to get to know Him even more.

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With it now being Friday, two Club Nights behind us, I can honestly say – ALL my apprehensions were left unwarranted, the week was AMAZING. Teen families were loved on, reminded how grateful we are for them and for the courage they have to show up. Volunteers gave their energy, their smiles, their hugs, and their time. It was a great week and I’m thankful to have YoungLives as part of my everyday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

❤️Colleen, Area Office Admin