It’s hard to put a gauge on change in your own life. It’s not something objective that can be measured. It’s more like something that you become suddenly aware of when the past leaps out of the shadows and into the forefront of your mind. Awakened by some familiar face, an old song, or a picture that brings you back in time. And you realize just how much has changed. “Memories, like the corner of my mind. Misty, water-colored memories…” Oh wait. Sorry! My fingers were so moved that they burst into song on the keyboard. Where was I… oh yeah…
My memory has been recently awakened by such a picture posted on Facebook by a college friend, which spawned a comment thread that has brought out all kinds of other old friends sharing old stories, resurrecting old jokes, and enjoying each others company once again, well virtual company anyway. And it sent my mind flying back to those days. So many great memories, so many great people and so much personal and spiritual growth. I could not be more thankful that God allowed me to be a part such an amazing group of people with such diverse gifting and talent, with such passionate hearts and sharp minds. We lived, laughed and grew together in ways that I would not trade for anything.
I learned how to preach, how to administrate and organize, how to lead a band, how to lead a small group. Really, just about everything that I do now in the church started there, with those people. We were a family, albeit a dysfunctional one at times, but a family nonetheless. We transitioned from childhood into adulthood together. We grew in ways that we could hardly have imagined. We were trusted with responsibilities that were way over our heads and by no means should have been given to us, but we succeeded…most of the time.
I met my wife in that group. I met some of the best friends I will ever know in that group. I rubbed shoulders with incredible men and women who are now serving as pastors, missionaries, church planters, hospital nurses, teachers, etc…. Amazing people having an impact on the Kingdom in almost every sphere of life.
It’s interesting to see how much we have all changed and maybe even more interesting how much we are the same. Many of us are married, some of us have ventured into parenthood(I still haven’t completely wrapped my mind around being a father of 4!) and our lives are now so far removed from the way they were back then. But I can say without hesitation that my years with YouthQuest were some of the most formative of my life. And to be honest, it’s not so much due to all the rallies, programs, practices and responsibilities that I got to be a part of. It was really the van rides, the team meetings, the prayer times, the spontaneous gatherings in someone’s apartment, the late night cinnamon rolls at Macado’s…the list could go on forever. All that to say that it was the people. I owe so much to those people.
It’s always the relationships that change you. And I only hope that I played some role in shaping them in at least a fraction of the way that they have shaped me. Thanks YQ! I’ve already begun praying that my kids will have people like you in their lives when they move on to college.
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
– Philippians 1:3-6
BTW- All of these pics are from 2001-02 since that’s when my team made me a wicked-awesome scrapbook! I don’t even know if I have photos from before then, since up to that point digital cameras cost like $700 and took 1MP pictures so nobody had them.