A guest post from Jesse Papirio, YL staffer in Clarence, NY.
The freshman class at Clarence high school, where I’m a YL leader, buries time capsules every June. This long standing tradition is carried out by each freshman English class at the end of their first year of high school. Students include keepsakes, mementos, pictures, and letters from friends and family. I was privileged to be asked to write a letter for the time capsule of one of the girls I coach on the track team.
At first I was unsure of what to write in a letter to a girl I have only known for a few months, but then I began to think of our budding relationship. I thought of the triumphs and failures I had the privilege to walk through alongside her, on and off the track. I thought of the laughs we had shared, and the whimsical love of God displayed in who she is and was designed to be, The joys, heartbreaks, and questions I have been there for in only a few short months; and I began to dream of three years down the road when she opes the letter. I dreamed of what Christ could have in store for her life; the redemption he desires for her family; how he longs to be a loving father to her where her earthly father has failed. I dreamed of how I hope to share the gospel with her in the time between writing this letter and when she opens it…and then I wrote it all down.
I told her that I have been praying for her. I told her how valuable she is in the eyes of Christ, and how he intends more for her than what she has experienced in the world. Then I finished by saying that I hope when she reads this letter that she is happier, stronger, and more confident of who God made her to be, but even if she isn’t, she still can be.
Then I sealed the letter and took a minute to pray over it, knowing that as much as I dreamed these things for my high school friend, God desires them all the more. I prayed that I would be faithful to the work he is doing in her life, and thanked God for the thousandth time for the great privilege of carrying the gospel into the lives of my high school friends every day.
This was a great exercise for me as a leader, scary and intimidating, but wonderful. It was a way to focus my vision, and take a minute to look up from the faithful consistency of day to day leading and take a look down the road. A look, not at what ministry as a whole would look like, or my plans for growth, but just at this one girl, and everything Christ desires for her; and how, somehow, he has picked me to do that faithful work in her life. And I prayed again, dear Lord, let me never forget the weight of responsibility we carry as Young Life leaders and proclaimers of your gospel.And if only for three pages of notebook paper, I got to dream of the transformative love of God in one girl’s life, and thank God for his faithfulness and grace.
As camp quickly approaches and we know that so many of our high school friends will really hear the truth of God’s love for them for the first time. Remember that in reality, they have been hearing it all semester, and all year, simply in your faithfulness to walk alongside them. Remember this so that you can finish the race with perseverance. Dream wild dreams of God’s plan for your high school friends! You may not get the chance to write them down and send them, but take the time to revel in God’s love for the teens in your life. See them as Christ sees them, so that you can walk with purpose in your relationships with them. Just think, how after this summer, this year, three years, how God can have wrecked their lives and remade them in his perfect love! Dream wild dreams for them.
Thanks for sharing Jesse. If you would like to submit a guest post, here’s how.