Friday, December 3, 2010

Grow where you are planted!

Hey girls! I added a video the other day of a girl getting baptized. I decided to delete it so that I could add it to this post. Anywho, here is the point of this post. The point is to encourage you to flourish where ever God plants you! I'm going to share a little bit of my testimony. I wasn't the normal teen. I was to an extent, but in most ways I wasn't normal. What do I mean? I was always wanting to help someone, i absolutely adored witnessing, I didn't have to have a guy, and I often took leadership positions. I'm not saying this to brag... i have a point I'm getting to! I was often told things like, "You just need to be normal! Quit worrying about others.", "You are missing your teen years!", and other things. Of course I did have people who praised me, but you would be amazed at the people who questioned me or even degraded me bc I chose to not be "Normal". You may know what I mean. The thing is i chose to keep on... I knew God had something planned for me! Like I said I took on leadership roles such as teaching Sunday school, leading Bible studies, leader in the youth group, worked in kids programs all the time, and so on. The thing is I never felt like it was what I was made to do. You know? The thing is though I was getting experience... I cant tell you the books I read about youth ministry. I had a dream... wasn't sure what it was, but I was determined to follow God where ever He wanted me! Then about a year ago i was asked to help out at a youth group close by. I was only 18 (hadn't graduated high school) and so my first thought was how can i do that? I'm their age. I decided to give it a try though. I went and it was awkward at first, but I kept going... For the first six months i basically went, did what i was asked to do and that was about it. I was still going to my home church and just went on Wednesday nights when they needed me. Then some things happened with the leadership and the youth minister (The person who had asked me to come help.) left. Everyone thought I would leave, but i decided i was there for a reason. I began to get more active. Over the last couple of months God has done AMAZING things! As the video showed we have had numerous (So many we've lost count! We know at least 10-15) salvations! The coolest part about it is watching how God has worked it all together. We now have a new couple who have stepped in as youth ministers. We all work together, but it is amazing how God all brought us from different parts of the state to this one church to serve Him! Mr. Frank and Mrs. Danna (the youth ministers) were new to the church. They had been youth ministers in the past, but honestly they are spring chickens. They had visited around to other churches, but none felt right. Wonder why?? I was from a completely different church and would have never imagined leaving. God had other plans though... Each week as I help out I see things that if I had not been willing to be "different" as a teen I would not have had any idea what to do. Most of the leaders in this youth group have come from different Church's. Isn't God amazing?? I cant tell you the joy it brings to my heart to know that God has a perfect plan! I truly believe this is only the beginning! I ask you to pray as we continue to follow God though... This ministry is like nothing Ive ever seen. These kids come from TERRIBLE homes. 98% (Literally) come from broken homes. Many do not even know their father or if they do he is abusive. We hear stories constantly of abuse, neglect, and just a lack of love. Most parents have live in "partners" with no want to get married. Most of their parents and many of the youth are on drugs, are alcoholics, and smoke. 75% of their parents refuse to bring them to church even though it may only be a mile or so away. This is just a way of life.... Want to know the good news though? Over the last few months we have gone from 40 youth a night to nearly 90 youth a night! Please do not miss understand me... numbers do not matter, but they do show how the kids have a craving to know more about God! I've already told you about the salvation's and baptisms. Even past that though.... to be able to see youth read a Bible verse out loud for the first time, own a Bible for the first time, to see an 18 year old guy lower his pride enough to admit he had never even opened a Bible before, to see youth jump at the chance to pray, to see teens sing in a youth choir for the first time, to see youth ask how they can help.... it brings you to tears.... yes, sometimes it isn't easy. Getting calls at 3 in the morning, getting letters from a girl in jail, or being asked by DHR about a mom. It isn't always good, but at the end of the day I know it is in God's hands. If for no other reason than how He has prepared each one of us leaders!

With all of this said, here is why I share this... many of you girls are in the same spot that i was just a few years ago. You may get encouragement or you may not. it doesn't matter. Only you know what you are called to do! People may call you crazy for going on mission trips, people may call you crazy for leading a Bible study, people may call you crazy for writing a blog. Does that matter though? My life is 1 Timothy 4:12 Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example in speech, life, love, faith, and in purity! I love you girls and I want to encourage you to stand strong!

Love,
JEN

P.S. I'm going to add some pics for you girls to see who I'm talking about! Again, i value your prayers!!











A girls night I had at my house last weekend!





               We talked about how as Christians God calls us His "Daughters" and we are the bride of Christ!



                                  We did a drama to the song Amazing Grace My Chains are Gone!

                                                         Some girls at a 5th Quarter!


                                            Some of the girls preparing for a drama about gossiping!

                                                                Playing the cup game!


                                                                           The guys!

                                                                  Another girls night!
                                                            Car wash fundraiser!
                                                           Hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil!

                                      Practicing for the youth to lead the worship one Sunday morning!

4 comments:

Sierra said...

This is an amazing post!I have started getting more active in my church.When I was in Sunday School I always wanted to help with the music.I'd help girls find their verses, I'd welcome new girls.I knew almost all the Bible stories because my Mom has read them to me and my sibling a story a morning.So you could say that I am kinda a show off every now and then :)Now I work in the nursery.I know that I want to work with Teens and what you are doing sound like a dream to me.Even though there are the problems I want to be there.I am still young but I hope that God will start training me soon.Thanks you so much for doing this blog!It has helped me so much!
Sierra

Janet Rose said...

Hi! I found your blog off of one that I follow...your blog title intrigued me.
I read your post and was taken back to my own teen life...I was never "normal" either. Praise God for this fact for He has shown Himself awesome through my abnormalness (my own word)and given me many adventures in life. Had I conformed to the world of normality, I would have missed out on His perfect plan for me. His perfect plan didn't mean I'd get everything right all the time, but because of His grace I grew through my sins along the way.
Keep walking where He leads and look not the left or the right.

Side note: A great Christian book for single young ladies is "If Men Are Like Buses, Then How Do I Catch One" by Michelle McKinney Hammond. I can't explain here how God used this book to help me in my singleness, but it was awesome!

abigail oliveros said...

HEY! THANKS FOR ASKING! you're the first person who has ever asked me about my name. Well my name is Abigail Oliveros but my middle name is Yvanart (a name that I'm pretty sure my parents made up). I combines my first letter name with yvanart thus making is ayvanart :)

Amber Noella said...

I know God has a different story for everyone, but I feel like I could have written this in the future! I know what you mean & I am thankful for an example like you!