The youth of Good Shepherd are on 🚒 FIRE at the same time feeling like we have been washed from a fire hydrant in Gods love. An act of service started our day as we delivered our collection of stuffed animals to the Gleaning for the World site. As we walked to the site and throughout the day we saw people carrying two and three animals making their way to the collection bins. We added our collection to the already massive pile. Because of these gifts over 5000 children in impoverished or disaster areas will receive a gift of hope.
Rev Sam Yun led another inspirational encouraging bible study that showed we are on A Journey from Here to There - and its really not as complicated as we make it. It really boils down to " love like God loves, like God loves! Based on Luke 10:25-37 we are to go on A Journey from Apathy to Action just as the Samaritan saw a need we
must strive to get to a spiritual
place in our lives that when we
look at a world in need out
hearts soften and we Go On
to change the world. It
becomes not just the Last
Supper but a Supper that
Lasts; it becomes a deep
sustained faith not insta-faith.
Love God and Love your
Our workshops were fantastic as we continue to learn more about Methodism, spiritual practices and making a change in the world. The International Panel:What the Church Looks Like Where aI Come From described the beauty in the worship, ministries, youth programs and discipleship of United Methodists from Tonga, Philippines, Ireland Congo/Tanzania, and Latino/Mexico. While there are some difference in the way we worship etc, the overall message is that we all love God and the Methodist church. How God Speaks To Me? Insight for Making Wise Decisions was a very popular and encouraged the youth to really listen for God in their lives and how to use his word to make wise decisions. Liturgical Dance was a new concept that some of the youth experienced in Searching God Through Dance. Although its a new concept many of the kids were touched by this act of worship. Changing the World seems like an overwhelming task but the youth are learning small changes can make a difference. The #Selfie: How Social Media is Impacting How We See Ourselves and How God Sees Us created a great discussion about how and why they are taking and posting selfies, how it affects their self
image, how it creates an environment of
comparing, low self worth and a need to focus on
self and how contrary that is to Gods will. These
are just a few of the workshops as we each take
2 a day - you would be reading forever! But all
the classes have been awesome.
After a quick picnic lunch in our rooms, the youth sacrificed there free time to do another service project. The Society of St. Andrew gleaned unwanted, unsellable potatoes from local farms and delivered them to the hotel. In shifts of one hour the Youth sorted, bagged and prepared 24500 pounds of potatoes to be delivered to food banks, homeless shelters and soup kitchens throughout the southern US.
Several of our team spent time in the prayer room. This sacred area included 18 prayer centers where the youth and adults could spend time talking to God. This area included a prayer net, a place to remember the youths baptism, 2 labyrinths, and a prayer bead center where each bead is prayed over before being placed on a string. When complete the prayer beads will be presented to an immigrant family. The Holy Spirit was moving and shaking in that room.
After dinner we are broken into small bible study discussion groups with people from all over the US. Each night we have been discussing Wesley's Means of Grace. It a nutshell we need to live a balanced life by doing acts of piety and acts of mercy. Ask a youth 1) what those are and 2) how they are living Means of Grace. We also learned that when we follow Wesley's Three Simple Rules ( Do no harm, Do good and Stay in Love with God) living a balanced Means of Grace life is so much easier.
Our closing worship had incredible speakers who not only told us their stories of faith including their struggles and successes' but also what they are doing to change the world. We heard from a young man who faced a life of poverty living in Africa, but who was given a second chance through Compassion International to attend school, receive medical care and family support. Today he is Doctor of Physics at CU all because someone did a work of mercy.
We also heard from a 13 year old girl that has earned
and provided funding to build 13 wells in Kenya. UMCOR
gave us a glimpse into what simply having a toilet can do
for a community. We each heard the call that God made us unique and that we are not defined by what we do, what we have or what people say about us but we are defined by how we live in Christ. We look forward to seeing how each of us follow that call
God is Good All The Time.... All the Time God is Good 😊 said by a chorus United Methodists not only gives you chills but it truly gives you a sense of hope for the future.
We started our last morning with the amazing Rev. Sam Yun who inspired us to identify who and whose we really are. Our Journey from Here to There needs to be A Journey from Life B.C. to a Life I.C. (before Christ to in Christ. One step to doing that is to become H2oly through our baptism which inspires us to make a declaration of who/whose we are Romans 6 1-11.
Our last day of workshops were as diverse and informative as the previous days. Performing Arts in Ministry discussed the possibilities of
using creative expressions to support and integrate a
variety of ministries including worship, community
outreach and unexpected partnerships. This class made
our artistic youth consider how they can use their gifts to
enhance GS. Several workshops dealt with very intense
current issues including Surviving the Storm of Teen
Depression and All Lives Matter: Growing Toward
Perfection by Being Creatively Maladjusted. Both of
these classes provided a safe place for teens and adults
to share their stories and for the groups to honestly
discuss and debate how we make the world better through Christ. It's important for you all as well as the larger church to know that the youth are very aware of all the hot button issues out there and most of them have ideas, thoughts and concerns. Youth 2015 allowed the youth to discuss, hear and look at their responses to these issues in a safe place, with people all striving toward perfection, in order to respond in a way that shows Gods love to the people who God loves like God loves.
The prayer room continued to be a place of inspiration, spirituality and respite for our youth and adults. The prayer net and
the sand reflection were the favorites. The
prayer net allowed us to stop and pray for all
of concerns of our event.
Several of us spent time in the simulated
village of Panua Kenya. The village showed
the living conditions of the people including
a simulated home - a one room 10x10 corrugated metal where 8-10 family members live This destitute village has been obliterated by the AIDS epidemic leaving 2.5 million children orphaned. The Panua project begun in response to the epidemic by a UM church in Texas. Today this ministry works to provide the community job training, life skills, loans and support. It was an awesome experience that encouraged us to either help the work in Panua or identify another need and respond.
Our closing worship was powerful and empowering as we remembered our baptism and were sent to Go On and change the world. Rev Olu Brown had people cheering, crying and convicted as he very firmly gave us the mandate. " Nothing is Going to be Different unless you are Willing to Change It so GO ON!!!!
Remembering our baptism was equally as powerful as we remembered our connection not only to God but the church as well. This was apparent ad a young lady from Ponder Texas wad baptized and we said the vows of baptism with her.
We have had a fantastic, inspirational week through worship, workshops and mission. The youth of GS have been exemplary and have represented all of you as kind, compassionate people willing and ready to change the world They are ready to GoOn.