Last night I went to the 1st Pres highschool youth group to help out. Dino asked if I’d like to volunteer until I go back to school. I know most of the kids from working with the jr. high group (the 7th graders I started with are seniors now) and so I was excited to hang out with them for a bit. And this was a beautiful thing. We closed with worship, and Dino has been great at getting a student-led worship band going. As we were singing, I took a good look at the students singing, playing guitar, piano, etc. and I was so moved… Sara, Daniel, Andy, Peter, Nick, Allison, Tracy, etc… most of them I’ve known since birth (though I was only 4,5,6 when they were born) and a few of them I’ve babysat for years. They are beautiful people with great talent and with hearts that love Jesus. I saw it in their faces when they worshiped. In that moment I praised God for them. For their hearts, their faith, their love for each other. They are a good group. Not just the worship band, but the group as a whole. I saw a lot of love in my brothers and sisters. Joy in each other’s company. Excitement about life. Newness with a new school year. Freshman who have just entered an unknown territory and yet find their home in the youth group. It’s not perfect. They’re not perfect. And I’m glad for that. They have good leaders. Dino, Mo, the parents, college volunteers, my mom (she leads a Bible study for the sr. girls and they love her to death. I’m quite proud of her)… Jesus is alive in the group and I pray that the Gospel would penetrate their hearts as they continue to grow in community with one another. I pray that it would continue to be a place where they love God and love people. I pray for struggle and real growth where challenges were met and where God was the only way to overcome. May it be so.