Saturday, February 2, 2013

Youth Encounter


I have said before that I have a need to help kids and an opportunity has just dropped into my lap.  My church has a program called Encounter that runs on Sunday nights.  They have a $3 dinner, a Sunday night service and then people break up into share groups.  The facilitators listen and lead them through just about any struggle people may face.  Some come with addictions, others arrive with hearts full of anger and resentment.  Some people are mired in grief while others are doing every thing they can just to get a solid job and a home.  Recently, they have been serving an influx of teenagers.

It started when our associate pastor saw a kid wake up from a night spent behind a bush in the bank parking lot, dust himself off and start walking to school.  Our pastor, Charles, said to the teller, "Did you know that there is a homeless kid sleeping in your bushes?"  "Yeah, there's a bunch of them that sleep there. We don't make a big deal about it because they don't bother anyone," she said quickly.

As members of our church started asking more questions, they discovered other pockets of homeless kids that are living in bushes because the situations at home are so bad that they feel safer on the streets.  They have decided to start a new program called Youth Encounter to reach out to these children and let them know there are people that will love them no matter what they have been through.

The pull on my heart is so strong to help them but there is fear in me as well.  Will I be able to listen without drowning in the darkness that their stories will hold?  Will I be able to know when to listen and when to talk?  Will I be able to really and truly help them?  I don't know.  But I do know that I have to try.  They will be building a share group with young women and I'd like to get some training on how to help them.  I trust that I will be led in the right direction.

If you have been in a position like this, will you point me to any resources that may help to guide me?



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