A week ago yesterday I left Clearfield in a 15 passenger van; to be fair there were some other people in the van too, 12 of them to be exact: one other adult and 11 tweens and teens. It was a weighty responsibility to say the least. But at least I can now imagine what it might be like to travel with the Duggar family, at least part of the family.
Friday afternoon, after several hours in that same van, the group returned to Clearfield, tired and in need of showers, but safe. Mission accomplished. Yesterday morning, 5 of the youth joined me on the proscenium at Ogden First Baptist and talked about their experience, and amazingly enough the main topic of conversation was not the van ride: crowded together with duffle bags, suitcases, and sleeping bags under, over and in between.
Yeah, some other things happened in between Sunday morning, and Friday afternoon – some things that might have caused our young friends to grow a little in their faith and some things that definitely had some impact on other people.
This wasn't a road trip. We went to serve like Jesus served and to love like Jesus loved, and along the way we found some very appreciative people, and a few more that were not quite as willing to show their appreciation. We had to deal with hunger, hurt, pain, and all the things that go with that negativity. We met kids who by the age of 8 were basically caring for themselves; some children who missed a lot of meals and other who had suffered greatly and were afraid to trust.
And through it all there was our own angst and teenage drama.
There was excitement, and there was fun. There were moments when we wondered why, and moments when we knew exactly why.
And if you ask if we would do it again, well, the answer changes by the minute. Yes! No. Maybe?
But it’s over for this year, or is it? It certainly doesn't have to be. There are hungry and hurting people in this city too, and just like the Jews in the time of Jeremiah, we should be looking at how we can
“…seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper."
(Jer 29:7, NIV)
And maybe a few years from now instead of having to travel in a van to love like Jesus loved and serve like Jesus served, one of our servant-hearted youth will have figured out a way for us to love and serve right here at home.
But I do have to admit that the van ride was fun, and who would want to pass up on a week of cold showers and sleeping on the floor?
Thanks YouthWorks for putting Meg, Joy, Trevor and Ben in place at Cortez, CO to guide us on our journey.