January in Young Life is traditionally a time of training – this year I had the opportunity to take a pastoral counseling class, which could be better names as personal health in ministry. We looked at a lot of topics within the framework of family systems therapy. I felt the class gave me tools both to grow personally and to engage in deeper conversations with kids here.
After a week of class, we moved hotels and went to the Young Life celebration in Orlando, FL. At the international pre – conference I spent 3 days with 450 staff from around the world. What a blessing to hear how God is using YL to start to mend tribal feuds in Africa, to unite Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, to partner Israelis with Palestinians. It truly is beautiful to see YL ministry in this bigger context.
Next, 4,000 of our closest friends – all staff from the US, plus some more international staff joined us for a few days of celebrating YL. This conference happens every 4 years, and I left feeling blessed and thankful to be a part of what the Lord is doing through YL. We heard from Francis Chan and Tim Keller – whom both, in very different ways, asked us what our lives would really look like if we believed that the Bible is true and lived out of that. For me that means trusting the Lord to provide safety and protection in some very hard communities here in Guatemala. I needed that encouragement.
Oh, and YL rented out Sea World for a night. That was pretty great too.
All in all, I feel trained, refreshed, equipped, renewed to dive back in here in Guatemala!