Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Check this out.

This is a cool video about YD communities, which was just put onto our website. I like it. Watch it here.

If you have yet to check out the new YD website, then you should go here.

Winding Down.

Student ministry is definitely starting to speak a little more quietly as of late. Youth Group at AFMC is over for the year. There are just three 2 1/2 weeks left of school. It looks like Monday Night Bible Study won't meet again until August....and I'm sitting in my office wondering if I will be too bored, or, if there will be enough time to plan for next year.

Water Fighting on the Wenatchee...it's colder than it looks, considering that 30 hours ago, that water was snow. Posted by Hello

For Memorial weekend I was on the Wenatchee River again. The long weekend included two full day runs down the river and a full day off to explore Leavenworth on Sunday. Although my number of river miles is growing, I'm still anxious everytime I step into the guide seat...but my crews are beginning to respond well to me, and my senior guides are very affirming...and so I keep at it.

Yesterday, I had a student in my boat whose goal was to fall into the river at least twenty times. I think he fell in 26. This meant that during every patch of still water, where normally I would try to engage students in group discussion or team-building activities, I was helping pull student after student back into our boat. It was a long day, and I definitely was challenged to evaluate how important it is to see 'my goals' followed through to completion.

Regardless...my weekend was amazing....

Icicle Creek Posted by Hello

On Sunday night, my friend Heidi and I split off from our group of rafting guides, headed back towards our cabin in hopes of a quiet evening. On the way home, we ended up taking a detour through Icicle Canyon and spent an hour scouting out Class IV/V rapids. It was one of those spontaneous evenings that as you're driving home, you think, "that was so good. that was the kind of good night I get once a year. just perfect"...to sit on big boulders with her, talking about life, lost loves, and how much it means to us that we get to spend our weekends up in the mountains in this beautiful place on these amazing rivers... I found a kindred spirit in her...

...and now I have hiked back down to the Stillaguamish Valley, where I have the names of 41 students posted on my wall whom I am pursuing and praying for every week.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Memorial Weekend.

In honor of Memorial Day weekend, I will be heading up to Leavenworth to spend all weekend with kiddos on the Wenatchee River! Woohoo! So. Enjoy your holiday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

To brighten up your Wednesday.

If Wednesday isn't treating you so well, then I suggest you follow this link and do a little office jig to the Llama Song.

Monday, May 23, 2005

"The Evangelist"

Last month, Bronco and I looked at our 04/05 Strategic Plan, and we saw that we were falling terribly short of both our ministry breadth and the number of students who have heard the gospel this year--compared to what we had wanted to see happen at the beginning of the year.

So. Bronco said to find 10-20 girls that are ready to hear about the gospel one-on-one and sit down and talk to them about it.

ACK! I grew up United Methodist. Evangelism isn't something we really practice regularly--there was the occasional "Invite a friend to Youth Group" or "Thanks for visiting, here's a mug." But to actually sit down with someone one-on-one, share pieces of my story and ask them to invite Christ into their life! NO WAY!

At this point, you may be thinking, "Wait, Heather, isn't this why you moved to Washington. To invite and challenge youth to a lifelong journey in relationship with Christ and His church? (YD Mission Statement)"

"Um...yes....'{sheepish grin...downcast glance...toe making designs in the dirt}

"So what's the problem."

"Um...I don't know..."

"The problem is that you're waiting for teenagers to walk up to you and say, 'Heather, talk to me about Jesus and what he's doing in your life and how I can get there.' And that's not going to happen!"

So on Friday night, I had two girls over to my house for a sleepover. I had been initially disappointed that more girls weren't able to come, but by Friday night, I was relieved that it would be a small, intimate group.

And praise the Lord it was an intimate group. The setting was very open and comfortable, and one of my girls started asking questions about Christ and Christianity, and as we were talking and I was explaining, I shared part of my story and then asked her, "Would you like to invite Jesus into your life?"


And we prayed together.

It really was that simple. I wasn't even nervous while it was happening, even though it's still only the forth or fifth time I've stepped through this process with a kid.

So I think that for my whole growing up and even throughout college, there were two categories of people: those who evangelize or those who disciple. I have always preferred to be a discipler...to challenge leadership kids to reach their peers, to help Christian kids deepen their roots....while at the same time, I value evangelism, and I have a desire to be working with non-church kids.

I'm coming to realize that we can't compartmentalize ministry--we have to do both. We can't just teach people how to grow in an already committed faith without first extending them the invitation, and we can't extend the invitation without seeing them through the first steps to growth. Although I prefer to disciple kids (because it fits in well with my gifts as teacher/counselor and steers clear of my complete paranoia of confrontation), it doesn't excuse my call to evangelize too. Mt 28 says we are to baptize and make disciples, and how can someone do that if we never extend them the opportunity?

Friday, May 20, 2005

Goth Kids: A Primer

"Goths wear black, dye their hair black, and sometimes display multiple piercings and/or other highly visible physical or clothing flags that let the world know they are different. It took them awhile to trust me, but once I was accepted as a relatively safe presence, I found the Goths to be some of the most articulate, intelligent, and forthright adolescents I encountered. Their common narrative as well as their individual stories did not seem to be all that different from those of other students. What was different was their in-your-face commitment to marking their separation from the adult-controlled and ordered world."

(A recommended read for anyone who happens to know a teenager or has ever been or ever will be a teenager. This includes anyone who would ever say, "Heather, I could never do what you do..." This book will result in a significant change in perspective and understanding of our calling as adults to raise up young people well, whether they are our children or not.)

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Identity Crisis.

Posted by Hello

I have just recently realized that I am missing the silver cross that I always wear around my neck. This is extremely frustrating--not only because it feels odd to be in full-time Christian ministry without wearing the symbol of the cross on a daily basis, but because that specific cross meant so much to me.

It was a gift from a friend at a point in time when she felt like she could no longer believe--and I received the cross from her, committing to wear it as a reminder to pray for those who have lost their faith or feel unable to pray.

Losing the cross feels like I have lost my ability to minister in this way. Obviously it was just a symbol, but over the three years that I have worn that cross, I have internalized its value to the point that I feel broken to have it removed from me. Is this why people cry when they lose their wedding rings?--Not because it's a loss of a piece of jewelry--but because you don't exactly realize how deep the symbol's internal significance is until it is no longer there and you feel naked.

Last night, I was talking with one of my girls after Youth Group, and we were talking together about how lonely and abandoned she feels by the mother she has never known and the father who has never grown up to be a real adult. I knew that she didn't know how to pray for herself, and as I reached up to wrap my fingers around my cross, it was not there. It has not been there for the last month.

I still prayed for my girl, but there was a sense that my prayer no longer reached as far inside of me as it has before, because there was not that signifier to connect me with three years of prayers for friends who cannot pray for themselves. We are certainly living in a world of material things, where tangible objects connect us to spirituality and sentimentality in a way that maybe we shouldn't need them to...regardless, I feel as if I have lost a piece of myself that can never be replaced in the same way...and a ministry that was so uniquely mine.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Mawwiage....Mawwiage is what bwings us togavah.

This Monday morning, I have emerged out of the ashes of the valley of the sun....which is a very poetic way of saying that I have arrived safely home from Phoenix.

My weekend brought some very succinct joy--in seeing Drew and Lisa commit their lives to each other, in waltzing across the dance floor with John, in talking and laughing with Suzanne and Barrett, who will be married in September, in spending time in swimming pools with Chris, Janelle, Mike, and Justin...in spending Saturday evening dining al fresco at a posh Phoenix sushi restaurant feeling young and breezy and content.

Janelle, Chris, Mike, Barrett, Suzanne, Justin, John (and I--taking the photo) at Ra--a posh Phoenix sushi restaurant. It made me feel hip and sushi-savvy.Posted by Hello
A few weeks ago, I jokingly referenced my wedding, which I have predicted will take place in 2027. My friend Danica cried out, "Who are ya marrying?" and I sighed, "The Lord knows..." to which her husband Greg affirmingly said, "That's right."

Tonight I'm going to be talking to my girls about the Parable of the Sower. Even though only 2 of the 7 of them have accepted Christ, they seem to be very open to talking about spiritual matters lately. Pray for them this evening--that they will "fall into good soil and grow...and yield a hundredfold."


This afternoon at school, I helped one of the girls in Mrs. Stone's 4th Period class with a project she was working on for her Government class--a PowerPoint about Ronald Reagan. She was a bit lost, so I gave her some helpful tips on where to start: Reaganomics, relationship with Gorbachev, Iran-Contra, appointing Sandra Day O'Conner...etc...

Her eyes got wide: "How do you know this stuff?"

"Ummm. I went to high school."

This answer did not suffice.

"And I majored in International Studies in college."

Another blank stare.

"And I was third in my class."

A nod--"Oh, so you're saying you like this stuff..."

Apparently there's a rather important link between liking stuff and learning about it--and thus, I apparently think that Reaganomics are more fun than dirt bikes. Who knew.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005


Tomorrow, I leave to go to Phoenix for the wedding of one of my good Taylor friends--the illustrious Drew--to his beautiful bride Lisa. You can see an awesome picture of the two of them and Lisa's son Justin here. (That picture is copyrighted, so don't steal it, you crazy pirates, you.)

It's a really hard time of year to leave for the weekend, with all sorts of things buzzing in YD land, but getting to celebrate the marriage of good friends is always time well spent...especially when it means I also get to spend the weekend with Suzanne, Barrett, Chris, Janelle, Mike and John, who represent some of my very best of friends.

So, it's a bit of a spring mini-break, with the Phoenix sunshine and very good friends headed my way--and I am excited about that!

And before I step on the plane tomorrow, I still get to have a meeting with YD Staff, attend a meeting with the Arlington Area Ministers, go to youth group, complete my rafting written exam, pack, make some phone calls, plan next weekend's girl's sleepover, and hang out with students. AAAAck.

Puh-ho-nix. Here I come! Woohoo!

Monday, May 09, 2005


How long does it take to build a friendship with a teenager?

It's kind of a loaded question, because Jessica and Jodie can be best friends on Monday, fighting over Justin on Tuesday, not speaking on Wednesday, and completely reconciled on Thursday because Janie stole Justin away, and they're united in hating him.

But as an 'older person', how long is it before you get inside access and can really be a friend...I'm thinking back to my Taylor responsibilities and relationships as I think of friendship: edification, bearing with one another, burden-bearing, speaking the truth in love, and reconciliation, restoration, and restitution.

One of my students--we'll call her Ezzie--I started praying for her in September. I started by trying to be her friend, but she seemed rather turned off to that. So for months, all I did was pray for her.

In January--she finally responded to an event I had invited her to.

In February--she started coming to Monday Night Bible Study.

In March--she started talking to me more regularly.

In April--we started hanging out more--getting coffee, going shopping, hanging out.

And now it is May, and I finally believe that I've built a friendship with Ezzie...and I finally know that when I share the gospel with her directly this month, that she will listen to what I have to say. It doesn't mean she'll accept it or choose to live by it, but I have definitely earned the right to speak into her life because I've been praying for her eight months and really pursuing her for four months.

YD's mission statement is to "invite and challenge youth to a lifelong journey in relationship with Christ and His church," and my question is, how can we ever teach people that life with Christ is a journey if we are not willing to engage them in a journey as we minister to them? Obviously at some point, I will have to both invite and challenge Ezzie, which I will do....but regardless, by the time she hears it, she will already understand that I'm on a journey with her.

Thursday, May 05, 2005


Does saying "I'm breezy" really negate the breeziness one claims to feel (see Season 3 of Friends, The One Where No One's Ready)?

Because today I feel breezy....and there are a few reasons for that...

  • It's a warm, sunny 72 degrees outside.
  • One of my girls popped in for a visit this afternoon, and we were able to catch up after not talking for a week...and make plans to re-begin our Bible Study on Mark we started in the fall.
  • I have a free weekend looming on the horizon, in which I will not be required to wear a wetsuit.
  • It is Cinco de Mayo.
  • My cold is in denouement.
  • God has answered one of my most fervant prayers of the last few months, and I literally feel like He removed a hundred pounds from my shoulders.
  • My friend Tina is driving down from Anacortes today for a visit.
  • There are two hours of The O.C. on tonight, after President Bush interrupted last week's episode.
  • There was no school today because of Senior Project Presentations. Even though I'm not in school, I have projected the joy of the day from the underclassmen to myself.
  • The new Marysville outlet mall opens today, which I will celebrate by avoidance at all costs.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Me v. River.

This weekend, when I got in a fight with the river, I would like you to know that I won! HA! Okay, maybe that's a bit too much confidence--but--I did really well on my two runs on the Wenatchee River, which is a much bigger river than the Skagit and which I really wasn't planning on guiding at all this summer. But I did it. And it was good.

Posted by HelloMe--crying out in victory that I have conquered the Wenatchee!

Actually--I think it's just that all the head knowledge I've been gathering for weeks and weeks is starting to make sense...and that I've had some very cooperative crews who paddle when they're told to.

My crew from Saturday...University students from Seattle and on the left--Senior Guide Greg. Posted by Hello

Okay--there was this one time when I DID pop out of the boat unexpectedly and get caught in a strong current and end up a few hundred feet downstream of my boat...and it was 35 degrees in the water, and Greg did have to jump in and rescue me....and I DID get a really horrible cold that's sending me home early from work today.

But--my biceps are bigger, my tan lines are interesting, and in four weeks, a group of girls from Arlington will get to be in a boat with me, and I find that to be pretty darn exciting.