Reflections by Youth Intern Christian Rude
Nothing can prepare you for Grant on a microphone. Not when he's backed by his band. There’s John, Bella, Ian, Zach and Katy all thrash their respective instruments. Heads are banging, hair is flying. Grant’s face is beet red with intensity. Like any good rocker his words are barely decipherable. It is a spectacle.
Julia looks at me, a wild glint in her eye. “This is why I love youth ministry” she says.
That was our third day in Novato, a suburbia across the bay from San Francisco. We had just returned to our host church, Living Word Chapel, after a long day of running a VBS, exploring the bay, and visiting a Sikh Temple. Your average humans would have been too tired for such a show, but not these kids.
About a month ago, Trinity's youth embarked on our first solo mission trip. None of us knew what to expect. Here we were traveling 746 miles south via van to work with a mission organization and church with whom we had no prior history. We'd be stuck together for seven days, for better, or for worse.
I’d be lying if I said the trip was all sunshine and rainbows. We didn’t sleep much. One student concussed themselves by walking into a pole. There was some conflict and shouting. We powered through though. The kids bonded in that uncomfortable , pressure cooker, can’t escape from each other kind of way. On numerous nights they stayed up to talk. Not to tell jokes and make fun of each other, but to be real and to listen.
We learned from each other and from people of other faiths, learned from people who shared our faith but followed Jesus way differently, learned from people whose home was under an overpass and whose homes were burned to the ground.
Under a bridge a lady named Tina spoke to us. She lived there, in a tent, with her huge pitbull Marshmallow. Her community was just yards away from six lanes of rushing traffic. Tina told her story, shared how she had seen Jesus, and prayed for us.
Jesus said the Kingdom of God is like a someone who plants seeds. Whether the sower sleeps or rises the seeds grow, and she doesn’t know how. In a way, we just showed up and then God was doing things. I guess that’s one of the reasons the Kingdom of God is so good. We don't get to know, we don’t get to take credit.