“Just Be.”

Ministry can be tough and exhausting, it can sometimes feel like what you’re doing is never enough. There’s always more youth to talk to, more people that are struggling, more students that haven’t met Jesus, more this, more that, more everything. This is when I want to scream and ask God how He could possibly imagine that I could do anything to make a difference.

It’s at this moment when I need to step back and breathe. This is when I have to try to listen to God’s gentle voice telling me that I am not doing this alone, that He is with me, that this is His work and that He is in control. I think that this has been the general theme for the past few months for our team here in Vancouver; this overwhelming sense of there is so much that needs to be done and then this sense of calm when you finally have the humility to look up.

As much as we are here for the youth, God has been teaching us so much through these students. The love and compassion they have for each other has stopped us all in our tracks countless times. Last month, our team, along with the students, were making candy bags for the homeless people. This had started on Halloween but we spent more than a month putting these candy into bags with hopeful little notes in them due to the overwhelming amount of candy we received. Our first surprise was just the number of students that showed up eager to help out, but what shocked me the most was the love with which they did it. The youth would scrounge through the candy and find their favorite candy and put them into the bags and then would proceed to say things like “whoever gets this bag is going to be one happy man.” As much as they were joking around I could feel the underlying genuineness in them. This made me and my team reevaluate the way we were doing things; do we do it out of duty or out of our genuine love for others?

On a similar road of genuineness, another thing that I absolutely love about these students is the genuineness with which they search for God. We had put on a retreat with the help of the school for all their grade 8 students. As there were so many students and not enough male leaders, I ended up leading an all-boys small group. Closer to the end of our retreat, in my last small group with these boys, I was explaining God’s immense love for each of them. This was when one of the boys spoke up and said that he isn’t worthy of that great of love and before I could even say anything another one of the boys jumped up and said that no one is worthy, but so what? I couldn’t help but silently praise God as I proceeded to tell them of God’s mercy. Almost every single one of those boys committed their lives to Christ that day.

Another time God asked me to put my trust in him was the grade 11 retreat. All the teachers told us that this was the hardest group in the school, and I was worried. I was worried these youth wouldn’t like me, I was worried that I wouldn’t have the answers to their questions, I was so worried about everything that at first I was too scared to even go up and talk to them. But God slowly nudged me in their direction, and as skeptical as I was, I started seeing God working. These youth started sharing their life stories, their struggles in life, and even their struggles with their faith. I was blown away! These same youth that I thought was hopeless to even try and reach out to, we’re also genuinely searching for God. God taught me in that moment that even when things may look hopeless to us, He is in control, and He’s doing amazing things that we can’t even begin to fathom. Every day God keeps showing us that this is His mission and not our own.

Please continue to pray for our team and our ministry here in Vancouver!

God Bless

-Written by Theresa James
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