It's been a busy weekend, & it was a busy week before that.
We just returned from "Warmth in Winter 2007." Though I grew up in the Nashville area, I was unaware of this Methodist youth conference until about 3 1/2 years ago. This was my third year to attend as a chaperone/volunteer youth worker. As in years past, I came home thankful for the children God gave me, because He knew what He was doing. I love all the kids in our youth group, but they're kind of like grandchildren - when it's all over it's good to see them get into their parents' cars & go home. Mine have personalities more suited to my own. Or maybe I'm just used to them. Either way, I'm glad to be home.
As always, it was a lot of work (for me & Randy) but it was a lot of fun. This year, though, was a little different. In the past, I thought there was a lot of emphasis on our own personal relationship with God. Not that there's anything wrong with that - it's certainly the real foundation of our faith - but I was refreshed by this year's increased discussion of the needs of others and ways we can help. A video clip of Invisible Children gripped our hearts. The state youth conference is starting more mission opportunities, and the kids of our church are inspired.
In our district meeting, our group was a little embarrassed that when the district director asked for the best thing each group had ever done, we couldn't think of anything. Our church has - well, I hate to say it, but we've dropped the ball on our older youth. We have a really good younger youth program, but our older youth have been, in their words, neglected. I can understand why they feel that way.
After my first trip to Warmth in Winter, I was inspired to help more with the youth. But, over time, my involvement waned, for various reasons. Last year, I had help chaperoning, & I really thought she was going to take over the leadership role. But, things happened. There were personality conflicts & deaths in families & busy schedules & tight finances. The youth group had all but fallen apart. Now our group is excited again, & I'm happy about that. I hold out hope.