This guest post is written by Ashley Coomes. Ashley is on Young Life Staff in Greenville, SC. She is a leader at Eastside High school, and she trains volunteer leaders from Furman University, Greenville Tech, and North Greenville University.
“Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.” Habbakuk 1:5
Well friends, God did that thing again where He answered a huge prayer, knocked me off of my feet, and reminded me that He was at work the whole time. It went down like this:
Our Young Life team has not been given permission to be on campus for a few years. We have been meeting kids through various school events and coaching, however we were only meeting kids within the same group. Our mission is to reach every kid, so in August we began praying nearly every day for access to the campus during the day so we could meet every kid. We prayed for favor with the administration and for the Lord to make it possible for us to meet every type of kid at the school.
Since we could not be on campus during the day, we had to get creative with contact work opportunities. We started tutoring after school so we could meet new and diverse kids. All semester the assistant principal witnessed the beautiful relationships being built between leaders and kids. She saw that we were not just coming to tutor kids, but to hear about their days and to laugh with them.
So, last week when I explained to her our mission and that we are about reaching every kid, everywhere, she cried and said that Young Life leaders are an answer to her prayer. Everyday she has been praying that “someone would love [her] babies.” You know what else? She told us we are welcome on campus anytime!
The God who does immeasurably more than we can ask for, answered our prayer of gaining favor with the administration and access to campus. The best part is that the whole time the assistant principal was praying for us! We serve a God who goes before us, writing His story. Had our prayers to be on campus been answered in August, we probably would not have ever started tutoring after school, I may not have started to help coach Lacrosse, and the story of God answering this prayer would not have been nearly as cool. The Lord answering our steadfast prayer to be on the school campus has made a pretty cool story. Would your answered prayers make a great story?
I am not saying I have it all figured out people. TRUST ME, there are plenty of days I wonder how I even made it on Young Life Staff. I also haven’t mastered the perfect prayer life; in fact, I have to set an alarm on my phone to remind me to pray specifically for our area everyday at 10 a.m. That’s just crazy because if something is important enough, a silly little alarm would not be needed in order for us to remember to do it. (Like who needs an alarm to remind them about a hot date or what time the premier of Downtown Abbey comes on, right?)
I try to have successful ministry without prayer sometimes. Then when I crash and burn, God so gently reminds me, “Hey Ash, remember that time I freed the Israelites from slavery? Yup, that was me. Want to let me handle this club matrix now?” Thanks, Lord, for allowing me to still serve you in this ministry even though I forget it is your story in the first place!
Take heart dear friends who have been kicked off campus, who have low club numbers, who have difficulty finding committee or leaders. Bob Mitchell sums it up well in his book, Letters To A Young Life Leader, when he says “Prayer is the work.” Remain steadfast in your prayers and GO to the school. He will show up!
“Keep on beating the path of God’s door, because the one thing you can be sure of is that down the path you beat with even your most half-cocked and halting prayer the God you call upon will finally come, and even if he does not bring you the answer you want, he will bring you himself. And maybe at the secret heart of all our prayers that is what we really are praying for.” –Frederick Buechner