For Day Twenty-one, I am thankful for the GCC Youth group.
When I was growing up, we attended a small church, so there wasn't a large group of teen-agers to make up a youth group. Thankfully, we had some committed adults who invested their time in the lives of the youth we had, and I had other opportunities to experience things that youth groups get to do together (retreats, Centrifuge camp, etc.). I was also able to be a part of a large youth group as a leader at the church I attended in college and as a summer missionary. I see those experiences as a part of God's plan in my life and I know that he grew me in ways that are impacting me and others today. I w
Then ten years ago, when our family first joined Grace Community Church, there were very few teen-agers who made up the youth group. I didn't think too much about it, and it didn't adversely affect our decision to join the church, since Daniel was only five years old at the time. But as he grew, it became my hope and prayer that the youth group would grow and that maybe we'd even have a full-time youth minister by the time Daniel was old enough to participate.
Thankfully, God answered those prayers and as our church has grown, so has the youth group. In fact, a year and a half ago, we were able to bring in a full-time youth minister, and that has had a huge effect on the teen-agers in our church (and specifically my teen-ager). I am thankful for Josh Hussung, and his wife, Laura, and the impact that they have on these teens. I am thankful that Daniel has the influence of other young adults who give their time each week to teach and speak into his life and to give him real-life examples of what it means to follow Christ.
I am thankful for the friends that Daniel has in the youth group, some of whom he has known since they were babies. He has guys his own age who he can hang out with at church and outside of church who are all learning about the gospel and about discipleship. These guys give accountability to each other and spur each other on to do good things.
I am thankful that Daniel has been able to experience mission trips to North Carolina and Baltimore, Maryland, where he saw people in different circumstances than he sees every day and was able to learn about reaching out to help others. He has also been able to go on retreats and camps with the youth group and have focused time to learn about the Bible and the teachings of Jesus.
I may not have been able to have the same experiences that Daniel does, but that makes me even more thankful for the opportunities God has allowed him to have through our church youth group.