I’ve arrived at the end of my journey as a youth intern. It’s pretty bittersweet. I can’t imagine spending my summer with a better group of students. We’ve laughed and cried together, shared stories and played really intense rounds of Catchphrase. I could say something about every student I talked to this summer, but instead…I wanted to focus on types of students. I have a few specific students in mind for each of these categories, but it’s still fairly general. So here we go!
The Quiet Junior High Girls
I loved getting to know you because I was you a lifetime ago. You put those headphones in whenever you can and drift into your own world. I tried to make you laugh so that you would come out of your shell, and when you smile you have the capability of lighting up the room. I know you’ve been through a lot, and my heart breaks for you. There are some strong students in this group that want nothing more than to encourage you and lift you up. Let them. Just because you’re the youngest in the group doesn’t mean anything. God uses us even when we feel insignificant. Get involved. Find your niche, find your fit. Join a ministry team so that when you’re in high school, you can take up the baton of being leaders. Look at Desiree, for example. She’s singing her heart out on that stage when two months ago, I could barely get her to hold a microphone. God gives us gifts and they’re always awesome!
The Annoying Junior High Boys
Yeah. You drive me nuts. But it’s okay, because I know how you’ll turn out in the end as long as you make the right choices. Be looking to Jake, Austin and Anthony for advice. They know where you’ve been and I can’t think of any better guys for you to look up to. Even I look up to them and they’re younger than me. They’re going to blaze a trail. You should jump on that train. If God is going to be #1 in your lives, make Him #1. I promise you, there’s nothing in this world that’s more important than drawing closer to Him. Don’t let anybody tell you any differently, because it’s a lie of the world.
You’re so scared about high school, I can see it in your eyes. We’ve gone on lunch dates to talk about how mean people can be and cried at Summit camp over how people have treated us. People will tell you who you need to be, what to say and what to wear. Don’t listen. Especially don’t listen when Jerry points you in the wrong direction in the hallway. Ask Tori or Sheridan, they’ll tell you the truth. We spent a lot of time this summer talking about dating. You were one of our main concerns in that area. High school is full of lies about worth. Who you are has nothing to do with how many guys you date. They say your status in the social world relies on what people say about you…but all you should be concerned with his what God says about you. He says you’re special, beautiful and worth it.
Oh, how I love this group of high school girls. You have an incredible passion that helped fuel my walk with God, especially the senior girls. Desiree, I’m pretty sure you and I were separated at birth. I’m going to talk to my parents about that. Bailey, you are one in a million. You’re a mother to the girls in the youth group and I see how much they look up to you. Dear all high school girls, I get you. All of you. I’ve been there. It’s awful sometimes, but God is right there with you. Remember that where you go, you take the Holy Spirit with you. My mom always told me that, and she still does. “Don’t go anywhere you don’t want to take the Holy Spirit.” Or your grandmother. That one works, too.
My Favorite People in the World
Last, but absolutely not least. I have a lot of favorite people, so don’t get too excited. But you senior guys are on a special branch of the list of favorites. You want to be leaders, you crave it. Not for attention, but to serve. You have the most genuine hearts I’ve ever seen. I’ve never known students that are so willing to do whatever it takes to see God move, and to bring others to Him. Don’t lose that hunger. Allow God to fill you up so that you may pour out into others, especially those younger than you. My prayers will include your names for a long time. This next year is going to be really tough, but I know you’ll pull out on top. Focus on God. Focus on God. Focus on God. One more time: Focus on God. You’re like brothers to me and I love the stuffing out of you. I’d do anything for you, and I hope you know that. I’m always here. I’m not dying, or anything. Ha. Come visit me next year. For real.
My Morrison Family
Oh, man. You two are something else. You’ve only been married for 2 years, and you let me invade your home for a summer. That takes some guts. I guess “guts” is the right word. Bravery, maybe? I don’t know. You guys are my best friends. For real. We fight and I give Miles dirty looks (which he follows with the classic “don’t look at me like that”) but nothing changes. You’re still some of the best people I know and you will forever have a special place in my heart. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing you could do to me that would change how much I love you two, and I hope that’s mutual. 🙂 I owe you so much. Not just in money (Haha) but in the time that you took to spend on me.
All the Agone Students
The best advice I can give you is this: love Miles and Emily. They’ve collectively changed my life…multiple times, if that’s possible. God sent them to you for a reason, they’re not in Bowie by chance. They’ve been students before, so they can encourage you and help you in more ways than you give them credit for. They do so much for you and you don’t even realize it. Don’t take them for granted.
There’s a huge part of me that just straight up doesn’t want to leave, but on the other hand, I’m excited to see how God will use what all you’ve taught me. I can’t wait to see God use you in this next school year, and don’t worry…I’ll come visit. Ha. Try not to miss me too much. 😉 If you want to cry…Jerry will cry with you.
Students, comment with some of your favorite memories from the summer!
Listening to: “We Need Each Other” by Sanctus Real
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