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