Thursday, October 3, 2013

Impromptu dancing and the spirit of hope

When it comes to me and youth ministry there are a lot of impromptu dance parties, movie nights, and ice cream. And I do love it, this work here, the students I am connecting with, my awesome teammates that I live, eat, work, and breathe with- it is great. But as this week has gone by there have been little reminders that life here is not all dancing and soda pop. Little reminders like the bridge over the canyon being blocked off by two police cars, or a student not being home for church pickups because she left the night before and didn't come back, and not seeing her since. Little things that our students do or say at the Kennel remind me that this is not an easy place to live or work. I take my students home and I am reminded of the poverty and hardships, that though they might not recognize them, take a toll on their lives.

But even still, I am constantly amazed by my students' tenacity and joy in the midst of this broken community. I am encouraged and boldened by the work of my teammates, who have been here longer than me, and still have the strength and faith to put forth a great effort and love toward our students. Though the reservation is a messy place, and there are so many obstacles on the way to transformation, I continue to have this strong feeling that things are going to be different here. Maybe not tomorrow or even next year, but I sense that it is coming. My heart stirs with optimism and confidence that the students invested in at the Kennel are different than the rest. These are the ones that are going to be great leaders, that are going to rise above and live their lives serving the God who loves them. I see so much hope here and it stirs me on, it keeps me going, and it keeps me dancing. 

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