Authenticity is something that I strive for every day. Every day I try to be completely and wholey who God created me to be. All admit that I screw up. I’m not perfect! I am definetely a Lutheran…simultaneously both saint and sinner. Recently at the ELCA National Youth Gathering, the youth heard some phenomenal speakers (at least in my opinion)! However there are many who were and have been concerned about these speakers. It makes me sad because I think our youth (and even our adults) need to hear these stories. Yes, Pastor Nadia used to be big into drugs and alcohol BUT the truth is that by the grace of GOd and other believers, she has gotten out of the depths of those darknesses. I dont believe that her story teachs our youth that its ok to take drugs. I think it does quite the opposite; it teachs them what happens when you get into drugs and alcohol. My hope and prayer is that they take Nadia’s and all the speakers messages and makes a change in the world. I may be wrong..I may get to heaven one day and God may tell me something else…But what I do know is that Jesus was a radical. Jesus sat and ate with tax collectors, sinners and the outcasts!
Have you ever met someone and felt kismet/peoria immediately? You know what I’m talking about…one of those people that the moment you meet them you feel like you’ve known them FOREVER! Before the Gathering, a dear Pastor friend of mine has been trying to connect me with his youth person. He was like, “I just think you two would get along great.” At the Gathering, we were able to connect via phone but werent sure if we would be able to meet in person. However due to rainy weather and my group wanting to hang out at the hotel, I was able to run away for a brief time. I found her and we hit it off immediately. We stood and talked for like twenty minutes or so! It was crazy because I felt so comfortable around her and just feel like Ive known her forever! She is like a sister to me already and we have only known each other a week. On the busrides home, we found each other texting each other and talking. I’ve met some pretty awesome people in my life and when I met them I felt so at peace, so full of kismet and they became and are still some of my closest and best friends. I have a feeling this new friend and I will be friends for a LONG TIME TO COME! So blessed to have her in my life! I can’t even begin to describe how amazing I feel about this friendship! God, thank you for the wonderful blessings in my life!
Well we made it to NOLA and then the Gathering kept us super busy so I didnt have a chance to update the blog. Wed night we gathered with 33,000 plus of our friends in the LutherDome. Rachel Kurtz sang her song “Make a Difference” which is also the Gathering theme song. On Thurs, we spent time with 800 of our friends from the NW MN synod. So good to spend time together as a synod! Then in the afternoon we went out on our discipleship lab which was so much fun—basically a scavenger hunt. Friday we learned how to practice peacemaking. Youth had opportunities to give blood, donate hair etc. Saturday was our service day. Our service project was about experiencing the culture. We went to the New Orleans School of Cooking where Chef Kevin cooked for us. Then we talked about our perceptions and misconceptions of hunger in the world. Sunday we loaded the buses back up, worshipped one last time and then begin the journey home. We stopped at the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis TN and then on to Lamberts; the home of throwed roll. Yep they really do toss/throw rolls at you! So much fun and the food was awesome! Finally made it home around 6 pm on Tuesday night. The Gathering was fun and had great speakers that the youth really identified with but we all were ready to be home!
Some trip snippets:
-Buses rolled on out of Moorhead!
-Stopped at a rest stop and already ran into another group from EaND!
-Landed in KC for the night!
-Six Flags! The Boss was a big hit!! Kept my friend Mel company since she couldn’t go on any rides! We did ride the train a few times!
-Up in the Arch! So cool!
-Lunch at the Hard Rock in Union Station!
-Landed in Meridian Mississippi for the night!
-On to Gulfport! Spent time at the beach! Such a great day!!
-Supper at the Cajun Crawfish Hut! Catfish, Shrimp, Chicken!
-Cool worship on the beach! I got to help bless everyone!
-Lots and lots of time on the bus watching movies, playing camp games etc!
-Onto NOLA tomorrow!!
More to come later!
Be Still……..and know that I am God!
Be Still…….and know that I am God!
Be Still…..and know that I am God!
I just returned from our NWMN Jr. High Youth Gathering. It was phenomenal. The speakers Trey Everett and Dan Wolpert from Micah (MN Institute of Contemplation and Healing) were the keynote speakers. The theme for this year was “Be” and our theme verse was from Romans 12 “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” It was so great. They talked about how we are so busy…busy going to sports practice or music or whatever and we dont take the time to just “be”; be who God created us to be! They taught us prayer practices. It was pretty unbelievable to see 350 Jr. High kids sitting quietly, not a movement in site. We need to be more like that and to become more aware of God in our lives. What I realized is that the adult leaders needed this as much as the kids! We are connected all the time…whether it be by cell phone, or tv, or Facebook or whatever. I find myself repeating these words “Be Still and know that I am God!” Dan and Trey taught us to “Be Present” and to “Be Aware” of God! So cool! Hopefully we all learned from this experience and will continue to listen for God’s voice!
Be Still…..and Know that I am God!