Many of you know my history with YoungLife and WyldLife, ministries to high school and junior high kids. It’s an organization Curt and I both love dearly. We met because of Young Life. While we’re not leaders anymore, we are still involved with our local Area… they come out and camp at TexasNorth, or play with Ry, or build hay lofts, or have lunch and chase cows.
From Austin Thomas – Student Staff and Wyldlife leader, Olivehurst, CAThe night before the last club on the courts, I had spent two hours sitting and talking with a boy who lives in foster care. His brother was a prominent drug dealer, in and out of jail. His mother was sick and unable to care for him because of her alcoholism and drug abuse, and his aunt had told him “she didn’t want him”. He’d never met his father. After hearing about a God who actually cares about him, he decided that he wanted to follow Jesus, and to start viewing the world as something to be celebrated and rejoiced in rather than escaped and conquered. The day before that I sat on the skate park bleachers, listening to 9 boys (7 of whom have no contact with their dads) tell me about the worst days of their life, which included shooting another guy and leaving him to die, being ripped away from druggie parents and placed in foster care, having a house fire-bombed by maltov cocktails in the middle of the night, and being abandoned by a mother without even a ‘goodbye’.Because of you guys, all 9 of those kids got to be kids for five days. They got to leave their crappy, scary, hard lives, and they got to see a beautiful picture of the God who created them and the undying, never-give up love he has for them. They got to see a little bit of life as it was created to be lived, because after we talked about best days and worst days, we got to go play basketball and wrestle and laugh and splash each other in the pool. After we had our cabin times, we snuck out and got caught. After we cried together and hurt together, we played together and laughed together. And the day after we got back, we went to the movies together and laughed some more. God did amazing things this week at Oakbridge. He transformed the lives of 9 boys that badly needed transforming, and the transformed mine in the process. The boys didn’t sing very much during club. Some of them didn’t get messy in the messy games. They weren’t able to handle an entire night sleeping under the stars (since none of them had ever done anything like that before). I had to break up a couple fist fights, and sometimes I had to show them God’s love by being mean and hard and cussing instead of being soft and winsome and tender. Few things happened according to plan, and I was stretched and bruised and I cried a whole lot…but we got to experience life together, and we got to see many of those special, God coming to Earth kind of moments. And if you ask me, that’s what abundant life looks like!