It’s a crisp fall Sunday evening in Farmer’s Branch, Texas. One hundred and forty kids are seated in the assembly hall of Mary Immaculate Parish. There are bustles of sounds, activities, sights. The new youth minister, Kelli, has planned an evening centered around the theme “Who Am I?” At each table is anywhere from eight to ten high school Latino kids, with two adults guiding the small groups with questions focused on revealing more of who these kids really are.
“So among your friends, what are you known for?” asked the leader of one table. After a moment of silence one boy spoke up, “Possession.” The leader quickly redirected the response, “No man, not what you are wanted for, what you are known for!”
Recapping the events of the evening to me, Kelli and I both chuckled over this. At first listen, it is funny. But thinking about it a bit further, it reminds us of some hard realities. So many kids are getting caught up in what the world has to offer, which is self-seeking emptiness, chasing after any distractions to fill the God-shaped hole within us. They need more than our prayers, they need us to draw them into the Truth, spending time getting to know them and helping them to get to know the only solution to their problems – JESUS!
“He told them, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.’
– Luke 10:2
PRAISE REPORT: Two weeks ago, Kelli stood in front of one hundred and forty rowdy kids, armed with a mere two volunteers to support her. After two weeks of prayer and many efforts to round up the workers to send into the harvest field, thirty five volunteers showed up last night. Wait, it gets better: Fifty Matachines, Mexican religious dancers dressed in elaborate Indian costumes of red, green and white, featuring Our Lady of Guadalupe, showed up to do their traditional dance. The end of their dance included the presentation of wrapped gifts to each table, signifying the gift of Faith that we can either accept or reject. Discussion ensued, talking about the great gift we are offered and the power that our free will yields concerning that crucial decision.
Every single volunteers’ presence made a great impact, and even caused the teens to be more attentive and respectful. At the end of the evening, almost every kid responded to the invitation that the Holy Spirit led Kelli to present: “If you are interested in getting to know a bit more about the gift of faith, getting to know more of the Creator of the universe, the Redeemer of the world, follow me.” More than one hundred kids followed her into the Eucharistic Chapel, where she shared that Jesus is not only in our hearts, but physically present to us in the Eucharist. I am sure that many of those kids have never had that life-changing fact shared with them. Kneeling before Him, they echoed the prayer, “Jesus, help me to get to know you better. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for forgiving my sins. I give my life to you.” I don’t know about you, but I am on the edge of my seat to see what happens next in the lives of these young people! There is real power in placing ourselves in His presence, and asking Him to reveal Himself to us.
All this to show that God is our provider. He wants us to come into a relationship with Him. He answers the prayers of His children. And yes, He still sits on the throne!