Ruthie and I spent the weekend at the Reach Your World youth conference in Dacula, GA. We received several extra tickets when we signed up for a Refugee Beads booth, so we brought along two of our student leaders, Miguel and Jennifer.
As I was running the booth, several thoughts occurred to me:
- We set up next to a ministry called "Project AK-47," a ministry to rescue and rehabilitate child soldiers. While we avoid using terms like, "Social Justice" and "Community Development," they describe concepts we love. We felt thrilled to see that two out of five booths at the conference represented ministries dedicated to bringing the kingdom to bear among the poor and oppressed.
- Jennifer and Miguel are two gifts from God to us. They are honest, funny, straightforward, relational, and helpful. Ruthie and I couldn't do what we do if these two weren't there with us, impacting the kids around them.
- While "Christian Illusionist" Brock Gill did his show, which was pretty impressive, I had to wonder, "Would you be wise to accept the gospel as presented by a guy who just spent 30 minutes tricking you?"
- I grew up in the Philippines, and the American Christian Youth subculture often baffles and embarrasses me, with all the lights and sound and money and politics that flood it. However, Seeing Jennifer and Miguel enjoy it helped me see it in a more positive light. Or at least open up to seeing it in a more positive light.
- Finally, I thought about the future of Refugee Beads. This concept, and the women who are involved in it, are headed in great directions. Seeing the way the youth connected with the message, approach, and products of Refugee Beads made me excited about the future.
We arrived home exhausted, thankful, and optimistic about this conference, our student leaders, and the direction the Church seems to be heading.