Commissioning Mass
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Bringing Youth to Christ
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As this first semester of ministry comes to an end, I can’t help but think back on everything that has happened up until this point. Sometimes it feels like I just left home a few days ago, and other times it feels like I haven’t been home for a couple of years. NET has a funny way of doing that to people! The amount of growth that I have experienced since being on the road is unbelievable. Not just personally, but also growth in team life and in our ministry. The amount I’ve grown over these past few months is more than I have ever grown in my whole life. I know that the main reason for this is that I have never been so challenged in my life. Challenged in many ways, but especially in going out of my comfort zone in everything I do.

Constantly making sacrifices, choosing love, and being bold in my faith. Going from being afraid to speak/sing in front of people, to giving talks and leading worship. From living my faith for my own good, to bringing that love to everyone I meet this year.

If I’m going to be honest, there are days when I am feeling extremely exhausted, and the last thing I want to do is go put on a retreat. It’s exceptionally hard when I feel like I have no energy and have nothing to offer the youth. On one particular day, I was feeling extremely burnt out and had no clue how I was going to make it through the day. As the day went on, everything was going pretty well, but I still found that I had to make that conscious choice to be joyful and choose to love, a lot more than I would usually have to. By the time the prayer ministry section of the encounter day rolled around, I felt as if I were about to crash again. But life goes on, and we had to finish up the day. As I approached one of the girls in my small group who was sitting quietly, squished in the corner of the gym, she did not look up at me. I sat down beside her and after having a short little chat about how her day was going, I asked her if she would like me to pray with her. Her eyes lit up, and without hesitation she said, “Please, I would love that.” As I prayed for her with my hand on her shoulder, I felt her start to slowly shake. The feeling when you are trying to hold in tears, but slowly begin to let them out. By the time I finished praying for her, she was sobbing. I asked her if she was okay, and before she answered, she reached her arms around me to give me a big hug. To my surprise, through the tears, she had a huge smile on her face. I didn’t really know how to react or what to say immediately, because I had expected something to be really wrong with the amount she was crying, but instead she had a smile stretched from ear to ear. Before I had a chance to say anything she said, “Renee, thank you so much. No one has ever prayed with me before.”

It’s hard to put into words exactly how I felt in that moment. I was so overwhelmed with emotions. It was a very humbling experience, because just when I thought that I had nothing to offer these youth and that there was almost no point of me even being at that retreat with the lack of energy I had, someone had a beautiful encounter with God through me. And that is the humbling part. It isn’t about me at all. I am simply an instrument that God used in that moment. Even when I feel like I have absolutely nothing left to give, God can still work through me. He is so powerful, and I should never have doubted Him. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6.

 

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