Monday, December 7, 2009

Youth Work Economics

I really have no interest in the stock market. The stress and emotions that are carried just by walking down "the street". I have more stuff to worry about let alone add in a major melt down when my life savings are cut in half over a .123568882315% drop in the graph.

But as I was reflecting over the past week I could think of no better picture as to what is happening in the youth work here in Langley. For example:

The CVV experienced a major drop when the she experience a lower production in grades than was expected for the quarter. This has caused a series of undesirable cutbacks in an already hostile environment. Combined with an addition of a new partner within the family dynamics the stability of this stock is in grave question. The spokeswoman for the company gave the impression that she didn't care anything about the continued longevity of the stock.

In other news the KTD has shown fluctuations as of late sometimes experiencing great peaks and valleys in the same day. The very foundations of the company appear to be in jeopardy and there are rumors that the family may split leaving employees with an impossible task of choosing the path of their future.

In a surprising turn of events the MGP took a huge drop after a series of unfortunate misunderstanding between investors and the company. Communications have been difficult and concerns are rising to the companies future.

ok. Ill stop. The point is that many people refer to the work I do as an investment. Investments fluctuate. There is risk. but the greatest risks hold the greatest payoff in the end. You just have to commit to them long term. Want to invest with me?


Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

Wednesday, December 2, 2009




Monday I was in the midst of studying for the class I teach and I had my phone on silent.  When I picked it up in the afternoon I had so many missed calls from one young guy that I wondered what sort of crisis awaited me when I returned the call.  Things haven't been the greatest for him lately and we have had quite a few intense conversations about life, family, relationships, church and God.

I called his house and he immediately said,

"Danny I need your help.... Do you know how to make a resume?"

Goes to show how youth work is something different every day.  Yesterday may have been crises intervention - today it is employment counseling.  When you become a person of trust in the lives of youth you can not define success by those who instantaneously change, but by the ways in which you see small steps of growth.  In this case asking for help in a resume was a crisis to this young man because he had never asked for help in this area before.  I'm glad I could be there for him in this way as much as in the others.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cadence


Left - Left
Left - Right - Left

God specifically brought this picture to mind after I read the end of Galatians 5 where it mentions to stay in step with the Spirit.  It was a good reminder of my past when I was in a military drill team.  Keeping cadence - rhythm - is important to teamwork.  Being able to trust each other in the mundane task of walking means that you can trust each other in battle.  God left the simple word "step" in my head to help me refocus on him.

Later that day I was talking with a young lady who felt stuck in her life.  Her paralysis was a spiritual blockage that influenced the physical.  She simply could not move.  As we prayed together she was even unable to formulate words.  I offered to prayer with her and as we prayed she encountered a vision in which while she was walking along a beach toward Jesus that her feet were unable to move.  After a great deal of time she hadn't moved until God reminded me of the word "step".  I told her not to worry about the distance that needed to be traveled, but only to concentrate on the first baby step.  Even if it was just an inch at a time.  Then I "left". "Right". "Left". "Right" "Left" Right.

She started to move - she started to speak and soon she was running...Right into the arms of Jesus.

Step by Step

Sunday, November 29, 2009

God drives a Zamboni.

This Sunday morning my wife awoke me from an amazing dream where I was discussing theology with a teacher I greatly respect and admire. i think if I had been able to stay in that dream moments longer I may have resolved the problem of evil or been able to perfectly define the trinity. I'm sure of it. Unfortunately I was awake. More unfortunate than that was I had to go to church. I've gone to church my whole life. I believe in the concept but honestly it is usually the last place I want to go when I actually want to encounter God. I knew he was calling me to spend some time alone with him. I wouldn't have gone to the church gathering at all but they serve free coffee and my wife didn't want to man both out kids on her own. After they were secured in their nursery and Sunday school classes i took off. Out church meets in a banquet hall that is part of an events center. that means there is lots of other aces to disappear to during the service. I sat and talked with God for awhile. I told him how meaningless I felt and through psalm 39 he reminded me about how meaningless everything actually is. I was sitting in the bleachers around the ice arena and at this point the zamboni started to drive onto the ice. God then whispered in my ear a lesson that I won't soon forget.

My life is like the worn out surface of that ice jagged and rough. However through the process of him driving all over me i can be made new. Refreshed for a new period of play. The driver missed a spot about 2 inches wide and maybe five feet long. I wondered of he would make a whole trip around for that one spot. I doubted it. But he did and God told me again that he cares about every detail of my life.

I was greatly encouraged. This time was better than any dream.
Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

Monday, November 23, 2009

Transform and Roll Out



One of my favorite childhood television shows was transformers.  I loved the show, the toys, the story line of good vs. evil.  One of the signature lines of the leader named optimus prime was "transform and roll out."

Tonight I attended the Annual General Meeting for our organization.  I listened to the different area directors tell stories over the last year.  The success and the favor that they had in each area.  When it was my turn I walked up to the front.  I had in my mind stories of great and amazing things that have happened over the past year, but instead I took the opportunity to list what the reality is right now.

Many youth who we saw experience massive life change last year are now at extreme lows.  The same kids whom we saw have amazing encounters with God, are now denying his existence.  The same kids who wanted to change the world now want to curl up into a ball and die.  The kids who dared to dream big dreams are now plagued by nightmare.  The way I described it was that God pulled these kids out of the hole they were in - they saw the light and how big the world was around them.  Then they fell back in the hole and forgot all about the world above them.

What happened?  Life. And many days - it sucks.  My team and I are not scared off by this.  In fact we look to what is happening not as defeats but simply part of reality.  Change is hard. My team was there when they were first in the hole.  We were there when they got pulled out.  We were there when they fell back into it.  We will be there when they climb back out. We are there day in and day out.

We are there as they transform, but also when they roll out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Growing Pains




What does it mean to grow up?

It takes a lot to move from being a boy into being a man.  The transition isn't always easy.  Not easy on the one going through it and almost equally as hard on the parents.  I often talk with youth over the differences they have with their parents. 

Almost more frequently I get phone calls from parents wondering what to do with their kids.  many of these call are not even from people that I know or about kids I know.  They find me through a friend of a friend and they want me to tell them how to get their child back.

i struggle with these calls as I really do want to help the the pain away from these situations, but at the same time.  I have never raised a teen.  My kids are still under two.

However today in talking with a young man I think I had a moment of clarity.  I moment when I could see both sides of the coin at the same time.  I think it was a problem of language more than anything else.  He said certain things and his parents interpreted it a different way, and vise versa.

This is where I can help - I cant solve problems but I can serve as an advocate between the two parties to make sure each hears each other in the correct way.  I just hope that my interpretation skills are up for the task.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

treading water


When people ask me how I am doing.  I try to give an honest answer.  I know the temptation is to say "fine" or "good".  But honestly it is easy to say those things without really thinking about them.  So I typically try to tell the truth.  However, I've found that people are uncomfortable with raw emotion.  For instance - if I say "not good" or "crappy" I've noticed the body language of the other person tends to tell me that they are looking for a quick exit.  So I try to communicate my emotions of the moment into a word picture.  This week when people have asked me how I'm doing I have responded with "I'm treading water".  When they ask me what that means I say "I'm trying to keep my head above water, but I'm not sure exactly when I'll sink."  It isn't that things are bad, they are just overwhelming.  I am swimming in the water of responsibility.

I supervise a team of four staff, three interns, and a handful of volunteers.  All of whom I try to maintain an intimate connection with.  They need to have a chance to be heard and to know that what they are doing make s a difference.  They need time to vent about situations or to get advice.  They need to be stretched and challenged in their own youth work, they need to know they have someone backing them up in work and in life.  Thats my job.

I am teaching a class on systematic theology at Pacific Life Bible College.  What is systematic theology?  It is an attempt to make sense of a God that is beyond understanding.  It takes biblical ideas, philosophy, history, anthropology, tradition and worldview into a various array of topics concerning the study of God and what difference such beliefs have on our day to day lives.  Leading 16 students through these things in time consuming as I have to research these topics well enough to present them to college students.  Grade their work, read their assignments, interact with their questions, on top of actually presenting the material.

I am a fundraiser.  Each year I have to raise $75,000 in order for Youth Unlimited to pay for my salary, expenses, insurance, employer and employee fees, benefits, pension, etc etc etc.  On top of this, as the area director for Langley I am also in charge of raising funds for the programs, projects, administration costs and events that happen in my area.  I am also the coach for my staff to fundraise for their own salaries and expenses.

I am a leader.  I dont just merely supervise my team.  I lead it.  I am the one that takes the vision God has given me for the area and turns it into practical steps and projects to be initiated.  Right now we have dinners, dessert nights, movie nights, fundraisers, social actions events, a magazine, a book club, bible studies, small groups, and I'm proably forgetting about something. 

I am a team member.  I lead my team, but we are part of a larger family.  Greater Vancouver Youth Unlimited has over 60 staff in the lowermainland.  There are various projects and meetings that I am responsible to attend and take part in throughout the year.  This involves reports, volunteers for various jobs and responsabilies beyond my normal routine.

I am a youth worker. I am available as a consistent presence in the lives of youth as a ear that can listen, a voice they can trust, a adult they can befriend, a spiritual mentor, a trusted advisory.  A friend.

And that is just the WORK side of my life.  I"m also suppose to be:

a husband
a father
a son
a brother
a friend
a community member
a voter
a guest speaker
a teacher
a church attender


Like I said - I'm treading water.  Pray for me please.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The walking dead


I met up with a young man yesterday. He ran some errands with me as we talked. This kid is normally a happy go lucky kinda guy but this day he confessed to feeling pushed down and oppressed. As he was sharing I couldn't help but realize how common this story is. I am often told similar things. Often it is related to the spiritual realm.

One other young guy shared a dream he had with me where he was severely injured by means of torture when Jesus took his place to be dragged off and killed and all his own wounds were healed. Yet his heart was still dead.

A teen also told me this week that they feel like God is slipping away and they don't feel life. Just a state of perpetual numbness. A living death.

Yet another shared with me about the complete and utter exhaustion she feels in every aspect of life. Physical tiredness is obvious and intellectual exhaustion makes sense in a heavy course load but it is way she described the emotional and spiritual exhaustion that made me realize the lack of a basic element to her existence: life.

How long must they wrestle with these thoughts and everyday have sorrow in their hearts? How long will they feel forgotten? How long must these sing a dirge instead of a celebration? How long oh lord?

maybe, just maybe, the feeling of death is good as they die to themselves, their old habits, their pasts, and their false hopes. when those things die away God can show them he doesn't want to restore their lives he wants to give them new ones. I just hope they can make it through.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Monday, November 9, 2009

My Day



8:30 am - April needed the car today so she dropped me off at starbucks.

8:40 am - Cup of coffee in hand I sat down and started to grade papers for the Systematic Theology class that I teach.  I was having a great time reading the students thoughts on their church's statements of faith.

9:00 am - I am interrupted by a youth unlimited supporter who sees me grading papers.  As we talk he shares with me how he would like to return to school for a masters degree.  I love the opportunity to share life with those who support our work as well as the youth.

9:30 am - I get a call from one of my staff.  She was out late last night with a youth and needs a good debrief session.  We arrange a time for her to meet with me at startbucks later today.  I also get a call from a teen who had to ride in an ambulance last night and didn't know what why their dad couldn't breathe. She was having a bad day.

10:00 am - My co-worker Carmen comes in and sits with me and we discuss some philosophy and theology.  She shares with me that she just found out that she needs a new place to live.  I am finding my job is becoming more and more focused on my team.  I love to sit and listen to them.  They need a good leader to support them and I feel that God has called me to that.

10:15 am - Derian, my other co-worker comes by.  We all meet Monday morning to pray together and to share our plans for the week.  Also there was a lot going on over the weekend.  Derian was sharing his frustrations about one youth in trouble with the law.  We often collaborate because there are no easy answers for the situations we face.

11:00 am - One of our interns walks in with a friend at the same time Shauna comes in to join us in our team time. This place really is our office.

11:30 am - One of the youth that graduated last year came by to hang out and chat. We split into two groups and I shared some concerns and tears with Shauna over a few things that are happening with some of the kids right now.  The other group works on my massive crossword puzzle.

12:00 pm - I walk across the parking lot to Subway to share lunch with Derian and our young friend. We are interrupted by a friendly face.  This guy often happens on where we are and offers prayers for us as we go throughout our day.

12:30 pm - I get a call from a pastor that is working on an article for me on the link between sexuality and spirituality.  Should make for a good read and discussion starter with youth.

1:00 pm - I continue working on my class work while Carmen and our teen friend work on the crossword puzzle.  There are many side conversations.

1:30 pm - Carmen leaves to go prepare for her Monday book club and I turn off the computer to talk about life with this teen.  While we are chatting the wife of the pastor I just talked to comes in and sits at the table next to us.  I introduce my young friend to her.

2:30 pm - Students from the school start coming by and I enter various conversations with them as they pass by.  Other people in Starbucks are drawn into some of them.  One lady helped us figure out the capital of Ontario, and an elderly man showed me a video of a dog on his computer.

3:00 - I am working on my computer grading more papers when several people from my church come in.  I am able to share with them some of the things I've talked about with youth today.  I hope it encourages them, because it encourages me to share them.

4:00 - One of my volunteers comes in for a meeting.  I love this guy - he is more of a friend than a volunteer.  I love it when our team binds together.  We talk about everything under the sun and God's calling on his life to possibly join our staff team.

5:00 - I have Brad (my friend/volunteer) give me a lift home.

5:30 - I'm waiting for April to come home and I check facebook.  I get two message right away.  One is from a teen that simply says: "I'm really scared." the other says "I don't feel human". 

9:00 pm - I st at my computer thinking about my day and realize that i crossed paths with a lot of people today (even more than I've mentioned).  I've been on the virge of tears, I've laughed, I've prayed, I've dreamed, I've hoped, I've spoken, I've listened, I've learned, and I've taught.  Not a bad day.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

multiple choice

I bought a graphic novel the other day and as I was reading this frame jumped out at me. I have been working with several youth lately that are being plagued by their past. This happens so much through nightmares and feelings of darkness triggered by random memories. One youth in particular had a series of things happen that are unbearably true. These things have propelled them into making decisions that are far from healthy. The dominos are falling fast and they never even had a chance to all get set up.

When i saw this particular teen they looked old. life has aged them much faster than the norm. I tried to get through and present options for the future, but all that can be seen are the options forced upon them by their pasts. In confronting them they know what they are doing is detrimental but they can hardly remember why.

It is sad to watch these kids grow up and see that some will never choose life but only the deranged imitation of it. I know it is why God sends me to these places and to these kids. He wants to present hope and a future. It is just hard to look in their eyes and realize the dominos all have dropped. Now it is no longer a game but its just a mess to clean up.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Origins

i am fascinated by stories. i especially enjoy discovering the origin stories of famous fictional people. I'm thinking particularly of stories of comic book heroes. One of my favorite stories was the origin of Wolverine. How did this mean guy with claws get his start? What drives his pursuit of what is right? Why does he fight?

Sitting in Starbucks yesterday I was suddenly overwhelmed to pick up a pen and start to draw in my journal. I didn't even know what was being drawn as my hand was moving across the page. I recognized it as being a comic strip. As pictures started to form i recognized that it was my origin story. I have included it as the picture on this post

Over the past few months I've been hitting some fairly major obstacles and as a result I've been feeling quite alone. With this simple comic strip of my origins Jesus reminded me of how we met and how this whole crazy adventure started. The message here was reminding me of his promise that he would never leave me nor forsake me. Even if everything else falls apart. Even if I am rejected or ostracized for my actions and belief. Even if I feel lonely at church still he will be there and quite honestly that is enough. I just needed the reminder.

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Monday, November 2, 2009

"I" - - - "They"

I have hope.
I see potential.
I wish for them.
I even dream for them to be.

But

They have to make a choice.
They have to believe.
They have to dare to dream.
They have to see

And So

I pray
I wait
I watch

But

They stumble
They hurt
They fall

Therfore

I reach
I help

But

They pull away
They close their ears

Therfore

I stop

And

They go

God goes with them.

I smile as I weep...

What will happen?

I'll have to wait and see.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

It's good to be got



I'm no genious.  In fact I'm far from it.

I have felt like I have had nothiing to offer this week.  I'm tired.  So tired that the starbucks barista told me I needed an extra shot of esspresso in my drink this morning just by looking at me. I'm edgy.  I dont have my normal patience or resolve.  This was evidenced by how I snapped at the customer service counter over a $10 mischarge.  I'm not impressed with myself.  Quite the opposite really.

Yet is this week I have heard from several youth that they find that:

I understand
I am someone they look up to
I am helpful when I say nothing

When people see that level of good when I'm at my worst I am reminded that nothing good comes out of me unless it is from God.  It also helps me to understand where these kids are at and how they want to be treated.  Today I went to the school and sat in the hallway with a group of youth and I hardley said three words the whole time.  Then I sat in starbucks and had a youth share all of her trials and stresses with me and I barely said a thing in return.  Yet she continued....happy to have someone finally listen.

So I may be disappointed in myself but I am impressed with God. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

disabled hearts.


I have rewritten this post at least a dozen times.  My thoughts keep halting. Maybe the problem is that I am trying to be profound and insightful when really I am just as confused about certain issues as the youth going through them.  I was thinking specifically into the whole realm of self injury called cutting.  After years of youth work I genuinely have stopped feeling surprise when someone reveals that they cut themselves.  I moved from that into trying to find a solution that can fix this problem.  Now that I've seen the futile mission that is I have moved again into a new place: understanding.

When I encounter a person that cuts I will often ask them why they cut.  I thought maybe I could offer some helpful guidelines as to how they could cease the behavior.  The fact of the matter is that most people answer with the words, "I don't know."  At first I thought that these were the answers of people that were trying to avoid my questions, but I am beginning to genuinely believe the answer. The real understanding came not through study of the many resources and professional psychological explanations of the issue but rather through an intense look at my self.

I was having a bad week.  As my emotions and stresses rose I found myself stalling in thought.  I know that these "trance-like" states were happening because I would suddenly come back into the fullness of my reality.  In that moment of intensity between those to states I found myself with an overwhelming urge to fall back on some of my own harmful coping mechanisms.  As the days when by I found those feelings would linger longer and longer.  It took a good friend in whom I could confide in that helped to snap my focus back into place.

Life is intense for many of these youth and they rarely see a moment of reprieve. Combined with a technological saturated world of ipods, cell phones, instant messaging, and facebook (by the way email is way out of date by now) they fewer and fewer moments when they will have genuine stillness in their lives.  In fact I find they are almost afraid of it.  The intensity rises and the overwhelming situations and emotions blend themselves into a bland feeling of nothingness.  Suddenly the desire and longing to feel anything becomes overwhelming and the scissors will dance along their skin.  For a fleeting moment the pain is something that can be treated.  Then they are betrayed by feelings of guilt and shame.

It has the earmarks of an addiction.  There is no solution to attack this wide spread problem.  Cutters are not projects.  They are people who need some health, someone who will listen to them and not freak out at their behavior.  That will not look at their cut marks with disgust cut recognize that the blood on their arms is actually their heart on their sleeves.  Address their hearts, not the marks their arms.

Thats the best I've got. Hopefully it makes some sense.



Monday, October 19, 2009

The power of team


I cannot do this work alone.  I know that for a fact because I used to.  I have been blessed by great people that have come alongside me over the years.  Now I cannot imagine doing this work without them.  I can imagine going back to being the only youth pastor in a church, it just doesn't make sense to try to go it alone.  The past few weeks have been hectic and I have had to back out of a few events due to my schedule throwing up everywhere.  However I know that the work continues in my absence.  That is something that wasn't true a few years ago.  It is a good feeling to know that everything doesn't depend on one set of shoulders.

this is my team:


Derian Julihn

Derian is a good friend.  We knew each other in Bible College, but it wasn't until we both started work at Youth Unlimited that we really started to bond.  We have traveled similar roads and understand each other really well.  Often we can communicate without words.  When I am weak he is strong. He is known among the youth as the "ass-kicker" because of his direct style of cutting to the truth.  I look forward to many more years of ministry together.



Shauna Brown

Shauna is a woman of great passion.  I continue to be impressed how she lives out her faith in the midst of some pretty terrible situations that we encounter.  I see her and I get a glimpse of what Jesus was like talking with people.



Kris Knutsen

Kris is the Zombie loving, science fiction, comic book wizard that carry an aura of raw life that is often filtered out by most civilized Christian youth workers.  I think that is why I love him so much and I think that is why the youth love him as well.

 
Carmen Rempel

Carmen is a dear friend that has been involved with Langley Youth Unlimited with me the longest.  Starting as an intern she has walked with me through the many changes and challenges of our work.  I love having her around on the late night crisis calls.  I also had the honor of performing her wedding. yeah we're tight.

I dont have the time to tell you about all those I consider part of my team but dont get paid for it including Tyler, Brad, & April.  It is an amazing crew.  I love them all.

CHRISTIAN? - Via Derian Julihn

This is a blog entry from my co-worker Derian.  I too have walked closely with the young person he is talking about.  This story warmed my heart and encouraged me.  I had to share it.

C.H.R.I.S.T.I.A.N?

So today in Starbucks I sat down with a young lady and chatted about many things. Eventually our conversation got around to her spiritual journey. I was shocked to hear her talk about considering in the future getting baptized.

You see when I first met her God wasn't even on the radar. She probably would've have considered herself an atheist or at best an agnostic. Then one day she fractured her vertebrae (she had the x-ray to prove it.) She asked us to pray for her back, so we did. Two days later she had a second set of x-rays showing her back was healed. That scared her, who was this cosmic being and what did he want from her?

Months later, she proclaimed to me that she now believed in the existence of God. How did she come to that conclusion? Well, she had spent the weekend locked in her room avoiding her drunk/high dad and step-mom. Having ample time to think, she realized that she believed her dad would get better some day, even though she had no evidence to back that belief up. She also realized there was more evidence for the existence of a God then for her alcoholic dad to get better. Thus she decided she could believe in a God. I told her that one day she was just gonna wake up and realize she had become a follower of Jesus. She laugh in agreement.

Today we began to unpack what she actually believed about God. As I asked her about God and Jesus and Sin, I realized that she did in fact believe the basic tenants of the Christian faith. She believes that Jesus is God, that he died on the cross for our sins and rose again, that she is a sinner in need of savior.

Her current struggle with God is one we all face daily... CONTROL. She is wrestling with giving Jesus leadership over her life. She recognizes the enormity of that choice and it's consequences and she's not ready yet. I told her that when she was ready to give Jesus control then she was ready to get baptized.

I have had a huge smile on my face all day. I can not believe how far she has come in her journey.

Another great day at Starbucks :)

The rack...


Last night I received a text message from a young lady asking if she could vent.  I was in the middle of packing our house for our move next saturday so I told her that she could write as much as she wanted but because I was busy I wouldn't be able to respond.

When I got back to my phone I had fifteen messages from her. I could sense her anguish increasing with each word.  She described multiple situations that alone could be enough to send someone over the edge of sanity.  In her last message she wrote that she was finished until I responded.

I struggled with what I should write.  Comfort seemed trite.  Hope seemed bizarre.  Advice seemed disparaging.  I prayed asking the almighty to speak through me.  Then I wrote and the only words that came to mind:

"It is like you are being put through the torture device that pulls each of your limbs in a different direction.  You're being ripped apart."

I didn't know how that would be received, but awhile later I got a message from her telling me my message was the exact thing she needed to hear.  Just to know that someone understood.  I was thankful I had prayed about it first.  Who knows what sort of things I would have come up with if left to my own imagination.  God always knows the right things to say.  In this case I was just the messenger.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My girl

Tonight i had the honor of putting my daughter to bed. She just got a new tooth today and is feeling a bit bummed out from the experience. That combined with just being plain tuckered out made her one snugly kid tonight. It was as if she melted into my chest. I started to cry as i thought about all the youth that i work with that have a longing and deep desire to melt into their daddy's arms but never get the chance. Either he is not around or he is not safe. I know I am not the perfect father. Far from it but as I sat there looking into my daughters eyes as she was hurting i wept. Firstly because it was a special moment with my girl but secondly because i was mourning the injustice of those who have dads but are still fatherless.

i just don't understand this messed up world sometimes...
Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October to October





We stood on the bank of the river on the cold crisp October morning. A young man and one of my closest friends and fellow youth workers stood beside me.  We called the attention of the crowd of youth around and we listened as this young man shared the story of his life over the past year.

See it was on a cold night last October when he was at his lowest. To him life was darker than the night time sky around us.  No hope in life.  There were no smiles.  The words were filled with the hurt that was contained within him.

This October I look at him as he is sharing.  His words are filled with hope.  He is telling jokes.  He is beaming.  His smile threatens to split his face.

What changed?  I can safely tell you that it wasn't me that changed him.  I was there beside him in both Octobers - but I was not the thing that changed him.  I carry no capacity to change anyone.  What happened to him was a baptism of fire.  Life threatened to end him and he would have given in had it not been for someone willing to sacrifice himself for this young man. His name is Jesus.

You may not believe in God or that Jesus died on the cross and died in our place.  But for this young man it become more than just a story - it became reality.  That fueled change of heart.  I loved the words he said right before we waded into the water.

"I'm a Christian - Deal with it!"

We then baptized him as a symbol of the reality that had already changed his life. 
I was honored to be along for the ride.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Monday



I'm not sure how to describe today.  It was a fine day.  Sunny.  Warm for October.  But there was something in the air that just made my heart bleed.  Like this picture says Today was something that didnt arise - it was thrown up.

I had a young person reveal the details around their mothers death.  They tell few people because they get cliche answers all the time.

I had someone point me in the direction of a teen that had a bad weekend.  The sort where the details make you sick to think about.  This kid deserves more.  I wish the pain could just go awy for them.  When I asked what I could do - they looked at the frapichino I bought for them and said with a smile:  You can buy me starbucks.

I had a young friend describe the possition they are in between past hurts and doing whats right.  Their solution?  Crawl under a rock.

In the midst of family troubles and dealing with past hurts this kid in the 11th grade realized today that life is out of control.  If they try to fix things they dont work out if they do nothing they feel like they dont care.

Whats up with today?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

frazzled



I am nervous about tomorrow.

I don't have to confront a youth on their poor choices.

I don't have to tell a parent that their teen is self mutilating themselves.

I don't have to address the township council on youth issues.

I don't have a meeting with the Mayor, the federal Member of Parliament.

I am leading a fundraising training event for my peers.
apparantly my mind and body agree that this is the worst possible thing that could happen to me.
Of all the public speaking I have EVER done.  I am the most nervous about this. I think it is the expectation that my training will take away all the barriers and bad habits that we all develop as fundraisers.  I know I can't live up to that.

Can I call in sick and just hang out with kids in starbucks?

sigh

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Faulty Foundation


I recently went through through the process of buying a house.  As part of this we had a building inspector come through.  Basically we pay him to bring us a dose of reality to the house that looks so perfect.  He told us about all the things that were wrong.  The water shut off, the deck, the seal around the tub, the roof, the hot water heater, etc. etc. etc.

There was nothing that was a deal breaker, but some stuff that will cost extra as we move in as well as repairs that will need to be done.  I hired him because I wouldn't know what to look for.  Today was like that as I sat and listened to the story of a young person that told me example after example of how the things that should be most secure in her life were actually the most shaky.  It is like have cracks in the foundation.  Life leans and teeters and wobbles and this young person felt as though everything was on the verge of falling down.

How do you go about putting a life back together in that state.  Sometimes I hear stories where you have given up even trying.  Like I did this in this past week.  When things are faulty they need to be replaced before a crises sends you into a state of panic.  The duct tape solution wont held things up forever.  It needs a stronger change.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Rock Slide Alert

I want to tell you about a man who went hiking in the cascade mountain range that spreads through British Columbia, Canada. As he left the trail head parking lot he walked across the dark and hard pavement toward the entrance to the trail. A root growing under the pavement created a crack big enough for the man to trip on. As he attempts to regain his balance he steps over the edge of the asphalt causing his foot suck deep into the mud covering his shoe and permanently staining his sock. He pulled it out with the noise of a giant suction cup and left behind an almost perfect boot sized hole. He continued past a split rail fence on started up the steep slope of the trail. The ground beneath him was solid yet padded and made for a low impact upon his joints. This continued until he passed the tree line and out into a clearing. At this point the trail disappeared and he climbed over rocks as he made his way toward the summit. Beside some simple navigating he could transverse across the rocks with relative ease. Then stepping over a rather insignificant looking stone it turned under the pressure from his foot and started falling down the steep grade gathering speed and companions until at last the noise and dust settled. The hiker looked down over the terrain he had just climbed and took in a sight never seen before. The avalanche had revealed a vein of gold beneath the trail he had just climbed. A treasure hidden below the guise of a shaky and insure rock formation.

What does it mean?

I'm the hiker. I don't have an agenda other than to experience a bit of the world normally forgotten about. The pavement represents the youth who are easy to be around but live so deeply entrenched in dark places that they have become hardened to anything but surface conversation. Though there are some places I can see roots of growth pushing against the unseen side of the pavement. The mud represents those lives we cone in contact with whom they are a sludge of emotion. Unable to take form nor support weight of any kind. It is in these youth that I hope to leave an impression of Jesus as I walk by. Then entering the trail I find lives that are secure but soft to walk alongside of. They have their dips and valleys but over all they are a place where you can experience a lot of growth along their ways. The rock surface which I sometimes comb has the same feeling of the hard pavement but also has some jagged edges caused from past hurts. It looks solid but turn over the right stone and all the facade breaks down and you are offered a glimpse into their soul.

These are not my projects or my charity cases. They are all different people that I connect with as I move through life. I don't make or force the changes but I simply walk differently on each path. These are my friends. My youth. My fellow humans. Climbing. Climb away.

Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

Friday, September 25, 2009

Brick Wall

Every Friday morning our team gives out hot chocolate for the local students. Today when I showed up I heard my name being shouted and I saw one youth barreling there way toward me. They didn't slow as they approached and hit me with a thud of a hug. Another one of these kids picked me up and spun me. Then there were a string of high fives and "what's ups?"

A bit later I got message from the first youth, the one that tried to bowl me over that said. "running into you felt like running into a brick wall." I proceeded to joke about wearing a brick suit but they came back with something that turned the joking into a cool moment as they responded by telling me that in their life right now everything is so shaky but running me helped them remember that they are supported.

I'm nothing special but my team and I really strive to be there for people as strong walls when they are hurting. If we're walls than the foundation we're standing on must be God because I know myself well enough never to take credit for being as tough as a brick wall.

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ok lets talk

There are particular young people that are always resistant to talking about anything more than small talk.  I try not to push or pry when they make that known.  It can be hard to watch them stuff all the hurt and pain away so I just continue to tell them that I am around for them if they change their minds. 

To my surprise I had a call today from one of these friend who took me up on my offer.  I was busy in a meeting and they left a message.  By the time I got back to them they were past the point of wanting to talk.  I laughed and realized that I had missed my window of opportunity.  They laughed in return and said: "I have to keep it interesting."


Welcome to the world of youth work.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

From pain to peace?



The pain is so great
There is no debate
I wont tell them it's not there

Try as they might
To stand up and fight
The opponent never fights fair

They try and run
And lose all life's fun
Just because of the battle their in

When all feels lost
They stop weighing the cost
Of the value of their life and their kin

Not knowing what to do
not knowing the truth
The end up attacking themselves

The knives turn
the pain burn
They are trapped in a personal hell

If they see gain
in transferring internal pain
to blood flowing over their arm

They need to be healed
They need to be sealed
and protected from all this harm

Where can we start
To reach their heart
To help them to end the strife

To calm the beast
And lead them to peace
To show them the way the truth and the life.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Home - Bitter - Home


- "I'm scared to go home tonight" -
message I recieved today via text message

When home is the most uncertain, insecure, insane place in your life - then how can you cope with all the rest of life.  It is like building a house without a foundation.  Nothing stands up, nothing is straight, nothing is secure.  Tell you what - give your kids a hug tonight.  Turn off the TV. Write them a note.  Let them know in this crazy screwed up world there is someone that cares about them no matter what.  While your at it - can you write something similar for the kid that wrote me that note today... Thanks.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fear, Focus, Fortitude

Youth 1:
Fear is plaguing this young person this week. Family is not as it should be. If it were simply a broken home perhaps it would bot be so bad. This family is shattered. This young person once told me that they never wanted to marry because of the wedding picture they had of their parents. The reason being that they look so happy and in love now the realization is that it was all a facade. This young person wants to forget it all and move on with life, but they are feeling like they are being sucked back in. It is terrifying them.

Youth 2:
The text message read: "I had an epiphany" which means that they heard from God. Not just a message of encouragement. I message of inner challenge. God wants to move in and do some changes in this young life. This is exciting as we are seeing some renewed focus for the things of God in them again.

Youth 3:
Some difficulties have plagued my young friend this past week. While normally we see them spiral with inner pain this week we have seen them stand like a fortified wall. This young person at times has shook his fist at the heavens and cursed the name of God this week has said "I'm not worried, God has a plan for me". Their healing is amazing.
Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Shark Scissors

Life was a bit intense for me today as I was feeling the pressures of living in a grown up world.  I was feeling stressed over the lengthy and frustraighting process of buying a new house to live in.  I have been having to spend a lot of my time preparing for class I'm teaching at a local Bible college.  The workload has been intesnse.  Then there are all the things that I see weighing down my young friends lately.  There have been Family problems, school issues, fighting with friends, relationship heartbreaks just to name a few.  On top of all this I have been struggling with the fundraising aspect of my job.  This economy is a hard place to raise support.
Then I got a phone call and I thought... I admit.."Now what"  The stress of day and the last month catching up with me.  On the phone was one of my young friends.  On the message were the sounds of a pair of scissors that made shark noises.  Then they hung up.  It was a funny moment that helpped to snap me out of my funk and enjoy the rest of my day. 
My friend emailed me later to tell me that they had felt impresed to call me to give me a funny moment.  It was cool to see how God uses these kids to reach me; not just using me to reach them.  It is a two way street.  It also made me remember that God is a God of sillyness as well as seriousness.  I'm happy to know him and I know I can trust him with all my crap again. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Out of the frying pan into the fire

Many times in working with young people we see that the days the growth are quickly followed by great struggles. Yesterday I stood beside a young friend as they shared deep things from their life to a room full of strangers. It is always a significant moment to hear our young friends testify about the changes that have happened in their lives. In sharing about such things publicly it can really solidify these changes to them in their own lives. This is especially evident in matters where God is a part of the conversation. Spiritual things seem invisible until we talk about them and realize how real it really is.

After sharing my friend was riding high; I dropped them off at home and saw them grinning from ear to ear. It was a great sight to see. That made the phone call I got from this same friend a few hours later all the more difficult to hear. After all the good that had happened that morning the afternoon was a train wreak.

It is hard to change. Harder still when you don't feel supported in the changes you are trying to make. It makes it seem pointless and almost worse than if you would have never tried at all. It is weird, but it happens very often. I try to help people to make healthier choices in all areas if life: physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. I want to be a part of restoring lives to what they were designed for. There is to much pain, suffering, despair and fighting in the world. Why do these kids have to face opposition for good, healthy and positive changes? But they do. They feel like they are finally getting out if the frying pan and are shoved into the fire. I hate to watch it and it hurts to see them go through something so hard and yet I am powerless to change. It is simply a road they must walk on their way to choosing and living out who they want to be despite any or all matter of challenge or opposition they face.

I suppose that a choice they stick with even in the midst of all the turmoil will be something life altering instead of merely appeasing. After all it is fire that refines gold isn't it?
Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

Monday, September 14, 2009

school zone

School is back in session. I see the youth piled up at the bus stop every morning as it is across the street from my house. I wonder what this school year will hold.You look into their eyes and some are filled with excitement.  They are just starting out their high school life and are filled with anticipation of the promises society has made them about high school being the time of their lives.  You look into their eyes and some are tired.  Not because of the early morning, but because life never quits dealing them more than they can handle.  They realize that nothing from last years drama has been settled, nor the summers, they can hardly cope with climbing on beard that bus again.  I look in some eyes and see they don't care.  They are the one who get on that bus but their spirit remains at the bus stop.  They are going to cause problems.  There are more but the bus has pulled up now and blocked my view.  When it pulls away the bus stop is empty.  Another school year has begun. 

Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com
I love being married to April

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Portable youth worker

I remember when i was in high school getting a hold of people was hard work. Cell phones were rare and no young people had them. Email was sparse and rarely used. When i needed someone to talk to i had to call and wait until they were home to get an answer.

Today is a different world. Today i was out of the area for meetings bit still had multiple conversations with youth. That is:

Talked with a youth who was having a bad day starting college and helped them get through the morning.

Was asked if I could be a reference as one young person was filling out an application

Texted with one my young friends about the frustrations of being back in highschool.

Was told I was missed (I usually avoid the schools for the first week).

That's just a sample. Its great to be with them wherever they go. I wish i could have had portable youth worker when I was growing up. It could have kept me from some of the mistakes I made.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I am human

One of my young friends has often reffered to me as superman and batman combined.  I'm not sure as to exactly how or why that started, but I was honored to be listed as one of his heros non-the-less.  Yesterday we went out for a coffee and he said that after reading this blog he realized that I am human.  That I have struggles with life too and that I dont always have the answers.
He said that it made him feel like we could be better friends because he didn't feel like he had to live up to an impossible expecation of life.  That we could simply share life together.  While it was great to be thought of as a super hero, I'll take the second description any day.
I love days when freindships grow.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Of forts and fetachini

Just some random quotes from some youth in the past few days:

"life sucks...are the most used words out of my mouth"

"I don't have a hero anymore"

"drama drama gossip drama...when will it all stop"

"I'm confused ...nuff said"

"I've realized that none of my memories are happy"

"what does it mean when I can't stop shaking"

"I'm better off without friends to hurt or to be hurt by"
Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

Sunday, September 6, 2009

A good reminder

I've taken the past couple of weeks to concentrate on the least favored aspect of the youth workers of youth unlimited: fundraising. It is hard work to ask people for money. Our job is about serving people in need not being served by others. It can feel awkward.

This past year has moved my time table into hyper drive and i had little time to make many presentations. There have been so many amazing things that have happened over this past year and I want to be able to continue to be in the front lines of youth work so i need funding to do that. That's the reality.

What i am being reminded of as I share with people is not what I expected and its not awkward. It is passion for youth and passion to connect people with the work that were doing. Fundraising is actually re-ignighting the fire within me. So I'm not feeling award about sharing my need for help. I'm feeling thankful. It is a good reminder.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Friday, September 4, 2009

The heart of the people

I had an opportunity to meet with a guy who is leading the youth program at his church here in our community. I appreciate this guy because he runs his own business for his career, but his heart is to reach out to youth. He would like to see the bridge gaped between the community and church and so he came offering help and resources and a voice within his church to support the youth work that we are doing. I believe that true church seeks out opportunities to serve not to offer programs. The extension of their hand shows the spirit of God at work. We will see want the future holds.


Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Fill-er-up

I spend a lot of time sitting dow with youth and walking with them through the complexities of their lives. I need to be a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, a mouth to speak truth and a foot to kick some butts.

Today I sat and saw this same process unfold again except today I was on the receiving end of it. I walked out of that time feeling glad I had released so much on my underlying issues to someone. That he had enough guts to call me out on some blaring weaknesses. I need to know someone cares enough to notice. I also walked out of there realizing how messed up I still am.

I am the same as these youth. Just further down the same road.

Now I'm drained and need to be refilled. That's not discouraging it's exciting. I can't wait to see what God is up to. Fill-er-up.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

toy traders

Here in Langley our team doesn't have an office, we don't have any program space and we don't have a drop-in center. You'll find us in coffee shops, in bowling alleys and in the local toy store: toy traders.

Toy Traders is an amazing place. Not only are the shelves filled with all the newest toys but there are also vast arrays of nostalgic toys from the 70s and 80s. The background music in the store is a loop of all the greatest tv show theme songs. To top it all off there are huge displays of toys lacing the ceiling. GI Joe, Marvel Super Heroes, and even the terminator. My personal favorite is the death star firing at the borg cube. The ultimate battle between star trek and star wars. Needless to say it is more than just a store. It is an experience.
I bring youth there often wandering around for hours. It us a place we can tell stories, act goofy, check out toys, and make wagers over how many girl smurfs there were. However it is in this place that highlights our modern North American mythology. Super heroes are after all a retelling of God like characters. In the recent Transformers movie as one of the main characters is revealed as a 50 foot tall robot a soldier says, "makes you wonder if were made in God's image who's image he's made in." In the movie the Watchmen accident gives one man almost limitless power. The news coverage of this accident reports, "God exists and he is an American!".

I like to ask teens what sorts of powers they would want because it reveals things about what they struggle with in their lives. To those that want to be invisible I wonder if they want to hide from. To those that want to fly I wonder what they are fleeing from. To those who want strength i wonder what they fight against. It really is quite revealing.

See we don't a drop-in center to do our work, we just need more places as awesome as Toy Traders.

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Friday, August 28, 2009

Incompletely Satisfied

I found the largest crossword puzzle I had ever seen in my life back in june. It covered a whole newspaper page. The hints cover another. The whole thing is a mastercard ad because it says,"more time to relax with the paper this weekend: priceless". I've carried it around in my work bag ever since. One day n the lull in a conversation with some youth I pulled it out and worked ob this big puzzle together. Over an hour later we had answered a lot of questions but the puzzle still looked blank. I put it back in my bag when i had to leave. A few days ago I got a message from one of the youth that had helped me with it, wanting a chance to work on it again.

Today we sat in a coffee shop and worked on the crossword. But this young person also started to fill in some of the blanks in their life story as well, opening the door of trust with me a few degrees more. Neither puzzle was "solved" today but progress was made, even if you can't tell from a cursory glance. Who knew my geeky fascination with crossword puzzles would turn into a youth work tool.


Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

We Are Not Alone

I had an opportunity to share the journey I've come on to be in this work, the passion that fuels it and the thinking behind it. It had been quite some time since I had an intentional conversation like that and it felt really life giving to do so. By the end of the conversation it wouldn't of felt right if I hadn't invited them to join me in achieving my dreams for youth. I do not do this job alone.

I need people to push me when I feel discouraged
I need others to support me when I feel down
I need people to cheer with when young lives change
I need people to finance me to be among youth
I need partner to empower me
I need to share what God is doing
I need people to listen

So while I'm jazzed about this. Know anyone that would like to hear about they can help me impact a generation from the inside out?


Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Helpless Feeling

"...it's killing me over and over."

"...I'm hurting myself and I haven't seen a lot of reasons to stop it."

"Grandpa? I miss you."

"waiting on a cure for this life"

"I hate living with these people. **** this I want my own house."

These were some of the statements I read tonight as I perused the world of facebook. These were the things on the mind of some of the youth. I don't know about you but my heart breaks with compassion but I feel so helpless to make a difference. I know I can't be there for all of them every waking moment, but I wish I could be. Of course God can be, but some don't allow him, others ignore him, some curse him, and some blame him. He could heal them and help them, hold them and hold them more. It's hard to trust him to do it. I just wish i could fix them. Luckily he doesn't want to fix them as much as just know them.


Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Commitment and Respect

I had a chance to see some very close friends of mine tonight that i met in elementary school. It was good to chat over life. It was good to be with people who know me so well. Even though we hardly see one another these days. It doesn't take much to connect in deep. I love those guys. We have had our troubles but we are all committed to each other.

That's missing in so many young people. They have friends but it seems such an on again off again type of relationship. It isn't safe. It isn't commitment.

My friends love me by respecting me. By cutting through my crap and reminding me of who I really am, then walk with me through re-assembling my life.

Many youth today are never shown respect. At home. At work. In the community. With friends. Respect is something that I can give them as my friends have done for me.

Danny Ferguson
Langley Area Director
Greater Vancouver YFC / Youth Unlimited
604-968-1812
danny@youthunlimited.com

I love being married to April

"You found me..." but it may be to late

A young lady I know pointed out this song to me as being significant in putting her life into lyrics. Ther are so many youth that I meet that feel as though God has never been there for them in the hard times. So many that feel abondoned by their parents. So many that are stabbed in the back by their friends. So many that have lost so many loved ones to suicide. So many that have trouble tusting anyone - let alone God whom they feel has never answered their calls.

This song indcates that God found this person, but he doesn't undersatnd why it had to take so long. God wasn't there when he needed him most.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obhdTlImFBo

Friday, August 21, 2009

A "Normal" Day


The past year has been a crazy period of life. Every day seems to bring a whole new set of challenges, crisis', and craziness. I never quite know if I will be able to be up to the challenge or not. Today was not one of those days. Today was a day where i was able to hang out with several of my youth friends and just have fun. No strings attached. No deep conversations. No crises' to get through. No opportunities to challenge people on their thoughts or actions.

Today was just a "normal" day. This is not a discouragement - it is a sign of health in these kids. For them to have a normal day is a miracle. I honestly believe that. It is a sign that God is at work just as much as the days when everything is falling apart. i better log off before reality returns. Thank God for the breather.

balancing act

This week has me focused more on my youth work team than on youth themselves. As we have been going through the process of yearly evaluations i have heard myself say the same thing multiple times. Balance.

We have a difficult job to turn off. We can't regulate when youth need help after all. We have a difficult not getting absorbed by our jobs. We have blurred the lines between what is life and what is work. There are many blessings with that and many difficulties as well.

For my team and for myself, as well as any other professional youth worker out there we need to learn balance. Lack of balance leads good people with good intentions so deep in the flames of youth work that the burnout and melt away. I've seen it happen all to often. Lack of balance makes us ill equipped to actually be of much help to these youth. Lack of balance makes us place our families on the alters of self-righteous justifications.

We need three things
Balance with God
Balance with family
Balance with self

Without proper balance we run the risk of everything crashing down. Everything else falls into place with these as priorities. So ill say it again: balance.
Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cast into the cup

Many times our team finds ourselves wanting to pray but feeling severely lacking in words to say. Today we started to pray but quickly we were hit with the heaviness of what we find the youth were working with going through. Then we had silence. That ia not necessarily a bad thing but this didn't feel like a reverent silence more like a silence of being stuck.

That's when Derian pulled out his notebook and started tearing off little pieces of paper. On each paper he wrote a name, a community, or a concern. He then grabbed an empty starbucks cup and said "here is the alter".

We would take turns picking up these papers and throwing them in the cup as our means of laying rhe people and petitions before God. Sometimes we would say a few words, sometimes not, but we knew God could hear our hearts.

I kept thinking of the bowl of incense that is talked about in revelation being the prayers of Gods people. A pleasing aroma to God. Smell of course is so linked with memory. Its a picture of how God remembers our prayer. Its beautiful. Today we put these prayers in a coffee cup and I ask you when you smell coffee remember us and these youth..

Sent on the TELUS Mobility network with BlackBerry

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Continual Drowning


I normally write "work" related things on this blog, which is funny because my life is so integrate that I'm not always sure what is work and what is personal.

I have found this blog to be a very good way for me to process the things that are happening around me with youth work and with God. I don't actually know if anyone actually reads this stuff or not, and to me that doesn't even matter. At least there is a place where I can record what is happening with "work". There are some amazing things that God does in our midst that I have a hard time believing and I am right smack dab in the middle of it. Let alone for anyone reading this. I also keep a personal journal that I am working out things in my own life with God about - apart from being a youth worker. Today as I was writing in my own "personal" journal I was hit with something that made sense in the "work" category and so my worlds came crashing together. From my journal:


"Am I drowning? I don't think I am. But in most situations where someone is in real trouble out in the water they dont usually think so either. Lifegaurds cant save these people until they have lost their will to fight and are simply content to be rescued. If the person is still trashing around they will only become a danger to those trying to rescue them. In the process of drowning things quickly go from being controlled and fun to out of control and dangerous. Then if I think about my life I realize that really nothing is in my control at all. Things may be calm and orderly but still out of control. In that case I really must be drowning. nothing in my life is really within my ability to control - not really. The waves can quickly sweep in and toss me around and drag me under. Although sometimes even in the peaceful waters I can still be in grave danger. If someone came up to me now and said I needed to be saved, i wouldn't believe them. I would probably thrash around and try to get away for the weirdo. But Lifegaurds know the water better than ourselves and they can spot danger far sooner than the average Joe. I'm in constant need of being saved. I am not saved - I am being saved. I also cannot save others, but I can try and tell others there need to be saved as I am being dragger to shore. Maybe I can even work with the lifeguard to help others make it back to the beach. Though I'm not a life guard myself. I can't swim away from the lifeguard unless I want to face drowning all over again. It's no wonder I cant fix anything - I'm in a heap of trouble myself. From one drowning soul to another accept the truth. The ocean of this life is crazy and out of control and will continue to be - that will not stop - but ther is one that is trying to resuce us. Lets let him do so. When we finally make it to the beach we can actually enjoy our saved life. Until then it will be a constant battle. We have no rights on how we will be treated along the way, but we must assume that the one that came to resuce us will not let us go. If we feel that way, we must have kicked and trashed enough that he has to let us wear ourselves out some more before we can continue. We are all idiots. Why do we fight being saved."