A few years ago, David had the privilege to become a deacon at church. At our church, when this happens you are assigned a specific area, or ministry, of the church in which to assist during your term. Along with other deacon duties, David was assigned to the junior high ministry, Impact.
Part way into his first year, David came to me and said, you know, if I am supposed to be assisting in this ministry, shouldn't I be more involved in it? Get a taste for it, understand it's goals, needs, etc. We prayed about it and David began working with this group of kids and our jr high pastor. More like, jumped in. Feet first.
I must first explain David and his personality. Something that comes as surprise to many is that David is an introvert. (I mean, should it really surprise you? He enjoys sitting, by himself, in a deer stand. All day) Also, as much as he loves our kids, interacting with kids isn't his greatest strength. Or so we thought at the time.
Back to Impact....So, David tells Andrew that he wants to get more involved. Be a right hand kinda guy. Be on call to help as needed, saying yes as much as he could. Hee, hee. Yeah, that first call came just days later. "Ummm, can you go with us on a week long work trip, camping the whole time?" "Sure" David (and Jake who got to tag along) headed off on their first Impact trip ever. Thus a bond was made.
Through the course of the last few years, God has shown us so many things about ourselves, that we just didn't know. For starters, David has an uncanny way with these kids, that made them love him. Of course, though, he fed them. Alot. Kids were always eager to get to ride with David for that very reason.
Another thing is that David was willing to let them throw pies in his face, give him a hard time, that kinda stuff. He could come up with the craziest things for them to do. Who knew he had that in him?
Of course, David's involvement led to my involvement, which led our kids to think they belonged in Impact as well. For two years, we toted kids around, chaperoned trips, fed "starving" teenagers, got lots of hugs, went on Wed nights to teach them about God and His love for them. Currrently we are on a short break to kind of catch our breath. But we miss it. Alot more than we thought we would.
But what kind of impact has Impact had in our lives?
It has shown us that God can do anything in a person's life as long as they were willing. Through that willingness, He has shown us many things we wouldn't have seen otherwise. One of those is parenting a teenager. We knew we had one coming up very soon. What better way to teach us about them than to totally emmerse us in them.
Now that we have one of our own in this great group, we are surrounded by them on a more personal basis. It is by the mercy of God that from our involvement, we learned these kids aren't abnormally goofy. They are normal teenagers, whose brain synapses aren't firing quite like they use to. They require delicate handling. Like daring them to eat a spoonful of hot sauce for $1. Totally letting them embarrass themselves, even contributing to their embarassment. Creating memories they won't forget. Teaching them about a God who will love them with all of their inadequacies, even when it doesn't feel like they belong.
It gave David an education on teenagers.
He learned they are crazy, but normal.
It saved Sara Beth from boarding school.