Having been to two Gatherings as a participant and one as a YAV, I’ve been looking forward to San Antonio since we left New Orleans in 2010. I love the youth gathering and set a goal to attend all of them… for the rest of my life.
As I began my application, I noticed a huge problem. There is only one other event on my entire 2013 calendar: Amy’s wedding. Naturally, it’s the same weekend at YAV training.
Surely the God who created the universe could find a way for me to be in Amy’s afternoon wedding in North Carolina and still be in Texas by 5pm the same evening. Right?
Very, very slowly I began to realize that wasn’t going to work. The teleportation device hasn’t been invented yet. (Get on that, somebody).
I mourned the National Youth Gathering (and a life-goal that won’t be coming to fruition).
All of this was happening as my Twitter feed was full of updates from the ELCA gathering in New Orleans. Memories were fresh. The hurt was raw. I wanted to go–for God’s glory. I couldn’t understand why He wouldn’t let me.
That same week I worshiped with 800 high school students in a college gymnasium. I was having so much fun… and dreaming about worshiping with 30,000 youth in a football stadium… or not.
I was complaining to God about it (again) and asking Him for a time turner or something when He gave me that sense of peace that only He can give. I definitely wasn’t happy about it but I was grateful for it.
“I’m going to use you in another way,” He whispered to my heart.
I had no idea what that meant but I figured He had a way to get me to the NYG just not as a YAV. You know, like some random LCMS church would call me and be like, “Hey, take our kids to Texas,” (for the record, I’d probably say sure). Or maybe I’d get to serve at Passion or some other similar event.
I didn’t know but I knew God was going to use me. I like that.
A few weeks later, an opportunity appeared on my Facebook: sponsor a youth from Joplin, MO.
Before I even watched the video, I knew it was my “different way” the Lord spoke about.
(Watch the video on YouTube: Gathering Partnership Proposal)
I’m a “GO” girl not a “send a check” girl but today God is using me in a different way because He is faithful to the promise He made.
Since I can’t go, I can help make it possible for someone else to go. After all, I’ve been anticipating this long enough that the money’s already set aside.
I took what would have gone to my Gathering registration fee and sent it to Joplin.
I still want to be there. I want to see those kids in the video face to face. I want to run through the concourse screaming, yelling, and hugging strangers. I want to be crowd control for 30,000 people.
But that’s not how God will use me in 2013.
This minute, I’m ok with that because I’m helping make it possible for a high school student to have the amazing opportunity of worshiping with 30,000 other teens. I’m helping to make it possible for a youth to look back on fond memories similar to mine. I’m helping make it possible for a teenager to hear nationally-known speakers and artists, to learn that Christians can be silly, and to truly realize that it is cool to be passionate about God.
That would be enough for me.
But there’s more.
For every $10 raised, the youth of Immanuel are donating an hour of service to their local community. My first mission trip (ever) was to Gulfport, Mississippi, following Hurricane Katrina. It’s been years but the devastation and images are still fresh in my mind. I can’t drop everything and go to Joplin right now. They’re already there.
For me there is no downside.
The purpose of this post isn’t to ask you to partner with me in sponsoring a youth (although you can). Despite being a grant-writer, I hate asking for money. The point isn’t to brag on myself but rather on what God is doing through me.
The point is that we believe our God has chosen us to do things that are beyond imagination so I’m offering what I have to help someone else live loved.
PS: If you’re between 19 and 25, consider being a Young Adult Volunteer. They’re the hands and feet of the Gathering. It’s exhausting but it’s so much fun!
What are you looking for?