In the last week I have been processing one significant life change. While it has nothing to do with baby Frieda, of course it makes me wonder about her future.
Last week Youth Encounter (YE) announced their closing. This was not a huge surprise, but just as a beloved spot such as camp is hard to let go of, so is an organization that provided those spots all over the world.
I grew up with YE ministries. I learned about church, love, friendship, adventure, missions, & following a Spirit led call through my experiences. I went to my first youth quake in the fifth grade & was hooked by the Spirit. I then attended my first Congress turned Construction Zone (aka Zone) as a 9th grader & when I went off to college I volunteered at all the events nearby that I could. It was only natural to apply for a year of volunteer ministry to follow my college graduation. And when you survived nearly a full year of living in intentional community, why not apply for a second year?!
And we can't forget being introduced to great opportunities such as Side by Side (SxS) Global Missions & Spoke Folk (SF). I signed up for SxS in September 2001. I told my parents I was going to Kenya in 2002 & that'd I'd be 18, so they couldn't tell me no. Possibly not the best approach, but it's what was done. So when I returned from a month of travels to & from Kenya, I blindly signed up for SF. It took one SF tour to have me hooked. I was always trying to recruit others to do SF with me. In fact some of my CAP fam couldn't believe when I said I hadn't toured in a year or more.
Now it's been 14yrs since SxS, 8yrs since SF, 8yrs since Mosaic, & 7yrs since New Dawn. After finishing my year with New Dawn in Fall '09 I started seminary & started a new phase of life. Time slipped by & I have volunteered & worked temp jobs for YE as I was offered & able. In fact I was working for YE right before my current call.
Saturday night I attended my last piece of a YE event. I saw friends I hadn't seen in years & trust the Spirit will bring us together again. I was hit by all these pieces of ministry that have helped get me to where I am today. Then I was hit by the fact that it was my first & last chance to share YE, in that way, with baby Frieda. Frieda will no doubt have her own story, but she will also have one of the largest extended families one could imagine. No matter where I go, there are connections of friends who pick up right where we are & I trust they will offer that same YE family welcome to baby Frieda as she builds her own adventure.
Thank you YE for being such a powerful presence for the church over the last 51 years. I'm beyond blessed to have known your ministry & to take it with me through the years to come.