RICH AND FULL.
That is how I feel right now after spending 8 days in Orlando, Florida at the every 4 year All Staff CELEBRATION of Young Life.
How grateful and blessed Scud and I both feel that we are part of this Mission.
Can I do the celebration justice by trying to recap my highlights? Probably not, but i will give it a try.
Spiritually I am incredibly blessed. With our speakers of Tim Keller and Francis Chan, how could you NOT be?
Tim challenged us to remember, reflect and live by allowing the Gospel to change us.
How can we as followers of Christ have any racial bias? That we should hang out with people who are not like us at times. And how grateful I am that Young Life is now in 77 countries around the world, with another 20-30 targeted. I'm sure Jim Rayburn never envisioned this, but thankfully this is how the LORD led us. I'm grateful for Bob Reeverts to starting this along with Bob Mitchell. And for how Marty Caldwell has pursued this so actively.
And Francis Chan?? Well he changed his whole message backstage by the Holy Spirits' leading and talked about how we must know and be into God's word. This has been something on my heart for years now. WE as a mission MUST promote the Word of God. Too many of us have never read the Bible. I have been aghast at how few of our younger staff and volunteers have not even read the New Testament in its entirety.
How blessed and grateful I am to Recie Raley and June Hoch, who taught me and challenged me to love God's word as a young bride and mother. I know this is a word that God wants us as a mission to know, to take to heart.
And our prayer time was incredible. Led by my dear friend, Donna Hatasaki, she brought us into the Lord's presence and gave us a word picture of coming to the table where Our Father, the Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit sat and welcomed us, told us how they loved us and we dropped our burdens onto them. We aren't meant to carry such heavy loads and they are. I cried as I left burden after burden with the Trinity, knowing how capable they are to sort thru them.
And I believe with every fabric of my being that we exalted and lifted up the NAME of Our God. We had an incredible worship band who brought us to the throne of grace each session. OH GOD, may we continue to Praise and Worship YOU.
And 2 of the testimonies of kids that Young Life reaches brought me to tears. Michael, a Capernaum kid shared the Gospel in the most real way ever. This is his words of what the Gospel is:
He died for you.
On the third day He rose.
He wants to be in your heart.
He touched all of us in ways only he could.
And there was Sierra, a almost 20 yr old single mom from our Young Lives division, who gripped us with the story of abuse, abandonment and promiscuity, but whose life was transformed and redeemed when she encountered Jesus Christ.
Whether its with middle schoolers, high schoolers, college friends, teen moms or the special needs kids, we as a mission are reaching out to lost, the marginalized all over the world and I am so thankful to be part of this mission.
And if that wasn't enough...we had fun. I mean we had LOADS OF FUN.
Can you believe that YL rented out Sea World just for us?? it was CRAZY and unbelievable. And food was free!! And in case we got chilled, we were all given jackets to wear!! And then we had a rocking good time with a concert by the CASH family and entertained by comedian Jeff Foxworthy, and then an incredible fireworks display!! PLUS the funnest (is that a word) roller coaster ride I have ever been on: face down the entire ride and you had no idea what was coming!!
AND then...we got to have time with friends we never get to see enough of. Wishing i had more time with Rick and Beckie, Bob and Shannon,Mike and Michelle, Susan, Donna, Amy, Gary and Jeanne, Mike and Shari, Alan and Sharon, Dave and Kaitlin,-just to name a few. But the sweet real conversations I did have warm my heart and thankful for even brief times with those I love so much. And made new friends too.
I started my time with a pre conference with Young Life College that challenged me and made me so grateful that God has blessed me by allowing me to impact the lives of kids in college. And how extremely proud I was of 2 of my girls, Kendra and Sarah for giving of their time to volunteer and serve the YL staff.
I am extremely grateful to the YL planning team. You guys R.O.C.K. OUTSTANDING JOB.THANK YOU. THANK YOU. THANK YOU.
ALL PRAISE AND GLORY TO GOD OUR FATHER, JESUS OUR LORD AND SAVIOR, AND THE HOLY SPIRIT who lives in each of us, trying to get us to be who the Father envisions us to be!! May we continue to lift up high the Name of Jesus, so that adolescents everywhere might hear , know and experience the LOVE OF OUR GOD.