Saturday, September 12, 2015

"I'm like really, really glad we're friends."

Some might call us unlikely friends, but I love this girl. Megan Cook is fiercely loyal. She is brutally honest. Never afraid of the truth, she asks hard questions and wants to hear the answers. This girl doesn't want to fit into any cookie cutter mold or even anyone's expectations of her. She loves horoscopes, half size burritos and won't tell you the name of her favorite band because it's too mainstream. She is one of my favorite people to spend time with and it feels like we never have enough time together to talk. 

After bagels, Cook and I ventured to Michael's so I could stock up on a new mountain of friendship bracelet string and a stack of blank white canvases. I love creating things and I love giving those things away to my friends and YL girls and campers and students. Things are better when they're shared. 

Saturday night was a night we've been looking forward to for months-- the 3rd Annual HSE YL Banquet. This year hosted at the Devoe's Barn, hundreds of guests were shuttled in for the event.

A crew of Wyld Life and Young Life kids, decked out in flannel and YL shirts of course, lined the steps to cheer on and greet all of the adults as they entered the barn. It was very Work-Crew-esque like when our bus pulls onto YL camp property at Sharp Top or Castaway and all of the Pits, Servers, ODC and Tewashie Work Crew kids are jumping up and down with excitement.

I loved that the adults were all taken a bit back, not quite sure about this warm welcome. But this is Young Life. That's how we roll around here. You're welcome and we're so glad that you're here.

It's hard to not be excited and curious about what's waiting inside when this is what you see as you step off the bus. On a night like tonight, we're reminded that every single one of these kids has their own YL story. I could tell you about going to camp with Haleigh and Libby for years, heart to hearts with Chloe, getting to know Jayla in the hallways at school, being a teacher and YL leader to all of these guys, laughing/crying/singing with Maddie, Elise and Julia as we washed dishes for 5 days straight.Young Life really is about sharing our lives. These kids are why we're here.

Getting to be a Young Life leader is easily one of the greatest parts of my life. I get to be something of a friend/big sister/teacher/mentor/leader of girls like Julia and Maddie. YL has been part of my life since 2005 when I started leading at Hope. It continues to produce more and more fruit in my life every year. My hope and dream was for the kids in HSE to experience Young Life too. I'm so thankful for the other YL leaders, parents and community members who shared that vision and made it a reality. Now after three years of ministry they're still making sure that YL is a permanent part of this town.

Tonight Daron Earlwine, our speaker, talked about prevenient grace-- God's grace that went before us and has already been at work in our lives. Prevenient grace is in action so that one day we may know our worth and value in His eyes.

As YL leaders we get to share the truth of God's grace, show his love in our actions and hopefully model what it looks like to live in that grace. That grace is for everyone-- the YL kids who have been with us since day 1, the kids at HSE who make fun of YL, the one who will come check out Campaigners for the first time ever on Monday. Grace doesn't discriminate.

I do YL because of the counselors and youth pastors and teachers that pointed me to Christ. I do YL because God calls me to put my faith in action. I do YL because writers like Bob Goff and Glennon Doyle Melton have shown me that love does. I do YL because of Chloe. I do YL because of Genna. I do YL because of Elise. I do YL because of Han and Katie. I do YL because of Fudge and Grace. I do YL because of Cami. There are dozens of kids that make this worth it. But even one kid, that would be worth it.

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