Wednesday, March 14, 2007

They're Getting "It"

A few weeks ago Jessica, myself and one other of our youth sponsors took 8 fun and rambunctious junior highers to a conference put on especially for them by CIY. As I watched and listened the whole weekend I was struck by the fact that the sermons were not what I would call all that profound and wonderful, but when accompanied by the skits, and music and video, all rolled into one seamless thing, something happened in that big exhibit hall.

By the end of that weekend, after a couple of long talks with the kids, we had some students ready to step up and take on their part in the kingdom. I had each of them write on a piece of paper what it was that they felt God was calling them to, and each one wrote a heart-felt entry about how their life is changed (remind you these are junior highers). It was incredible to see them wanting to step up and take on something for God. They began to realize that it's not always going to be the biggest task that makes a big difference. So they set out, amongst themselves to sponsor a child in Africa who is an orphan as a result of the AIDS pandemic. One of them took the lead of this project, and has been pretty good about collecting the money for each student each week. And when he doesn't, the others lovingly, and jokingly (they have to, their junior highers) remind the leader of his responsibility. All of this is done without one of us sponsors doing a single thing, except watching.

I've always had my doubts about the sponsor a child thing, but this time it's a little different. Always I feel that it's a worthy cause, but I always see the same thing happen with this. Usually the adults end up taking on the bulk of the responsibility and the students end up bringing the money when they remember, which turns into never in a short month if not sooner. But this time I have students who have take up leadership, and others who are following and giving their loving support. There is so much more going on in this situation, and I'm loving watching as it all happens.

Finally, to close out the week we had to spend an extra night just outside of Cincinnati, as it started to sleet as soon as we left. After only driving for 1/2 hour in the sleet, there was already an inch of accumulation; it was a mess. So I ended up finding a hotel with an indoor pool, and we had a ourselves a little bit of extra fun for the evening. One of the best things was watching them run outside, jump in the snow, and then run and jump back into the pool. Then a little later on after they got tired of that I was able to coax them into a bit of a belly-flop contest. Ah, junior highers; they'll do anything for a laugh.