Before Pearl Harbor, America wasn’t going to enter WWII. It didn’t affect us. Right now, every American individual, business and government is deciding on some level, “Am I in or am I out?” Pearl Harbor hurtled us toward an unknown, but it also created allies. America rallied. Men enlisted; women volunteered. Society was changed forever. And in many ways for the better.
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I looked around the circle of students seated around the table and saw little eyes staring back at me in anticipation. All of these students were from different parts of the world and had arrived in America as children of immigrants and refugees. None of them spoke english, and for the most part, none of them spoke the same language. Maybe it wasn’t anticipation in their eyes but more of a fascination of an english-speaking white dude like me who had no idea how to interact. As I looked around the table, I saw one student whose eyes were not on me. In fact, we couldn’t see her eyes at all. She had her head down in her arms and didn’t speak. While all of the other students seemed excited about being in one of our Teen Life groups, she was not.
Tomorrow is our Feed the Need Packing Party, and we are so excited to help more teenagers through the meals packed and funds raised through this fundraiser. As we prepare for this fundraiser, I can’t help but think of the faces and stories of teenagers that I get to work with on a weekly basis. Their pain is real. Their success changes lives. Their questions are relevant. Their stories change my perspective. You may be asking yourself, “How deep can you really go with teenagers when you only see them once a week for an hour? Do they actually share? What could they be dealing with that could rival adult problems?” You would be shocked.
Last Summer, I wrote a post called Helping When It Hurts about what we can do in the midst of hunger and pain. It was mainly inspired by a trip I took to Haiti where I held the hands and looked into the faces of children who were hungry and in need of help. I think it is easy to think of Haitians or other starving children around the world when we think of hunger. However, hunger does not just exist in third-world countries. Hunger is in your neighborhood, your kid’s school, on the end of your pew in church. Don’t believe me?
Voting for the future President of the United States of America is important. Educating and raising up a new generation of Americans is just as important. This election season, let’s take the time to consider teenagers. Talk to them about candidates, why you choose to vote, and who you choose to vote for. They don’t have to agree with you and you don’t need to lecture, but bring them along on this political journey so that they are prepared when it is their turn to vote.
Earlier this week, we held our 2nd annual Teen Lifeline Fundraising Dinner & Auction, and I am still blown away by the generosity and support that come from this night. One of my favorite parts of the night came when Beverly Ross spoke truth over the audience. If you haven’t heard of Beverly Ross or Wise County Christian Counseling, I would encourage you to go check them out! At this dinner, Beverly Ross challenged us by saying, “We need to teach that it’s not going to be okay. It’s going to be hard, but you’re never going to do it alone.”