Apr 02, 2012
I went to Disciple Now in Roanoke with too little knowledge and expertise. I got nauseated on the car ride, shy when we arrived, and honestly, for a second I was lost.
But let’s get back to the beginning. First I need to tell you what Disciple Now is: Take a youth group, bring in a speaker, band, and college students. Take families from your congregation to form host homes. All the sudden, you have an in-town retreat.
I was the college student, and played the role of “camp counselor.” I was partnered with Miranda McGuire, and we spent our weekend with middle school girls.
I met two of them with Mr. Potato Head. They made a cow out of him, which was new to me. I made a cowboy. They were a mix between crazy and quiet, and I didn’t know what to say.
And I thought, “Who knew hanging out with kids could be so hard?”
The night went on with singing and preaching and pizza. Soon we were sent home with our groups. The first thing I was struck with was silence. We had six girls and none of them seemed interested in conversation. Bible Study was quiet. Brownies and ice cream was quiet. And I began to wonder if anyone would ever talk.
It was later that night, when the girls started talking as we got ready for bed. I lay under my covers and decided I’d rather talk than sleep. I got up quietly so I didn’t wake up Miranda, and sat down on the floor with them.
They told me about their boyfriends, about school and sex offenders and funny stories that didn’t always make sense. I laughed and listened. Then I went to bed and a new day started.
We got up too early and ate sausage biscuits. Then we went to church and had morning worship. I beelined to the coffee.
We had Bible Study and conversation began to grow. They told us stories about their lives and listened while we told them stories about ours. The power of conversation is the beauty of sharing learning, experiences. I have never lost a father, but I have lost love. And I know what it is to cling to Jesus because everything else is as solid as dust.
The night was the best part. The girls gathered around, and we played games like copycat and “Honey, If You Love Me.” We talked and laughed. I French braided their hair. I wasn’t very good. But they all wanted me to try anyways. And no one told me I was awful at it, and I really was awful at the French braid.
We left with the sad kind of smiles, exchanged numbers and promises of “friending” on Facebook. We said goodbye and promised to keep in touch.
And I realized that I had touched a life. I have been reading a book on leadership, and one statistic said that the most introverted person influences 10,000 people. The number blows my mind, but it causes me to realize the importance of intentionally investing in others. I hope those girls remember me the way I remember my camp counselor when I was 12. I hope they saw Jesus in me, and want to be like Him through that.
I hope I made a difference.