Friday, May 3, 2013

I Want the Boldness of a Jr High Student

Last weekend I had the fabulous opportunity to spend time with 25 Jr. High students and some awesome leaders! We organized a 30 Hour Famine. The goal is to raise money and awareness for world hunger but most of all be part of something bigger than ourselves. We didn't eat for 30 hours, we slept outside in boxes, we volunteered within a neighborhood we adopted, organized Bingo at a nursing home, and took time to do Bible studies and reflect. It was a busy weekend!

We challenged the students to each raise $30 and set our overall goal to $500. I was skeptical. To be honest, I did not believe we would reach $500 but when you put God to the test he delivers! I was amazed to see the student's passion for the hungry all over the world and their ability to raise over $2,500. I think we might be closer to $3,000 now because the money keeps coming in! God is good! The money the students raised is incredible but the transformation made over the weekend is even better.

There were many powerful moments throughout the weekend but the biggest for me was in North Omaha. Our Church has adopted a block in a neighborhood in North O. For those of you not from Omaha, North Omaha is not the best part of town. There is a lot of crime, drug deals, and transition that happens in North O. Abide Ministries, Bridge Church, and Thanksgiving Lutheran Church have been working together to build relationships on our block and provide love and stability. We brought cookies with us and were given flyers about a clean up weekend as well as an invitation to a local Church. The students were asked to go knock on the doors greet the home owners, tell them about the clean up weekend, invite them to Church, and then ask if there was anything they could pray about for them. If they had any request we prayed right there with them.

The first couple of houses you could tell the students were a little hesitant but they got through the whole list of things to say. Then it got the moment of asking if they could pray for the person. Every person we talked to was open enough to let us pray for them. Some asked us to pray for their families, themselves, their safety, their community, and other various things. Each of the students who prayed, prayed with such boldness, courage, strength, and compassion. It literally brought me to tears every time. I am so proud of each of every one of them. They get it and they aren't afraid to share it!

I don't remember having an opportunity like this at that age so I thought about Jr High aged Molly...would I have been as bold? Would I have asked to pray or just casually forget to mention prayer? I know I would have been nervous. What would the person think of me? What would my peers think of me? All this is in the context of a 13 year old me but the reality is I still face these questions today. It is easy to shout from the mountain tops about my love for God among believers. Yet I find in certain situations I am hesitant to proclaim that same love with others who may or may not know Jesus.

As I reflect on my feelings I start to think I'm crazy. I'm hesitant to share my faith with everyone yet I am going to go to Madagascar to do just that. I want the boldness of Jr High student. My prayer is to have the courage and the strength to be fearless in sharing my God, my faith, and my story within the community I will join. I am blessed to have these Jr High students in my life as they have taught me more than I ever could have imagined. I have watched them grow and develop their faith as they have helped me do the same. Service is such a beautiful thing that way. It must be why I love serving so much.

The leaders struggled the most with our box home...