Sometimes, I love not being a youth leader.
Less than a week ago I was in Mexico. I was just one of 70 people whom God called to go and build homes for people in need. In preparing for the trip, I decided that my main responsibility should be to my family - and not as a “youth leader”. So my buddy Steve offered to take on the main job of being “the guy” who was responsible for being available to the 21 students that participated in the trip. First, let me say Steve did an incredible job. Not only did he build homes but he led worship, helped with devotionals and messages in the evenings, and graciously shared his shower bag with me. Thanks, Steve!
Because of Steve’s presence, I was able to just observe our awesome youth. I wasn’t distracted by worrying about what’s happening next or taking a head count. I was able to sit back and had the privilege of seeing what I eventually called “gentle moments”. I’d like to share a few of them with you.
· 7 students sleeping outside around the campfire the first night.
· Jr./Sr. high students sharing with everyone their “God sightings”.
· An 11th grader teaming up with a 7 y.o. in a card game.
· A 7th grader inviting a 6th grader to join “the gang” sleeping outside around the campfire.
· Sr. High students helping teach the 6th graders the motions to some of the worship songs we sang at night.
· Jr./Sr. high students holding Mexican children in their arms, playing games, hugging them, and sharing Christ’s love in amazing ways.
· 11 students sleeping outside around the campfire the third night.
· Students hammering, sawing, and working harder than I could ever imagine – while smiling and encouraging one another.
· Students inviting the children of the families we are serving to join them during lunch.
· 22 students sleeping outside around the campfire the third night.
· The list goes on and on and on……
The trip was rich in experiences and challenging in ways I could not have imagined. I still have a lot of processing to do about my own personal experience. But for now, I am just grateful for not being a youth leader on the trip – and being allowed to see God’s fingerprints all over our students and the impressions they left on my heart and the hearts of others…….in so many gentle moments.