This is the 4th segment of the marriage posts
I encourage you to start from the beginning so you don't get lost.
P1 P2 P3 P5 P6 P7


After a few years in different ministries,
 our Pastor asked us to pray about starting a Jr high youth group 
for the 6th-8th graders.
At the time there were ministries for everyone
except that age group, so it made sense.

Even though we understood his heart for these students,
we couldn't help but freak.
We thought he'd possibly misunderstood the Lord because
we definitely couldn't be the right people. haha

We used these statements as evidence:
We're too old,
(him 29, me 25)
we're not cool or relevant,
we don't know anything about aaaaanything...'

But, he assured us that we WERE the right people
and that we'd do just fine.

We both felt extremely unqualified 
but hubby even more so, as he was still a pretty recent believer.
We talked about it, prayed as suggested
 and proceeded nervously.
We knew turning down the opportunity would be out of fear.

We were like most couples:
balancing jobs, finances, home,
marriage, commitments and a growing family.
Now we'd have a new ministry,
 creative license and young people to pour into.

Can I say being a kid was tough,
 a teen tougher; 
I liked neither.

What was (((I))) going to impart to these young people?!
What were WE going to pour into them that
we weren't trying to gain ourselves?

Our pastor was and continues to be a no-fuss, supportive kind of guy.
He made it extremely simple for us:
'Just show up and love them'.

We both were like, 
"He's GOT to be kidding, he's just going easy on us.
We gotta teach something, right?,"
 but he was serious.

He wanted connections made before we attempted to speak into their lives.
People have a hard time receiving any truth
if they don't know you, can't trust you or rely on you.

He desired:
 Simplicity-easy, clear purpose
Sincerity- true care & concern
Consistency- dependability

It turns out, we all want and need some of that.

The day we started the ministry (1.22.03),
I had just turned 26,
was about 4-5 months along
(2nd child, 1st full-term pregnancy)
and had a few interested/curious students.

It started SUPER simple and in the nursery,
as we didn't have a room to ourselves.
We provided snacks, a chance to share about their week 
or anything on their mind and encouragement.
At times we'd incorporate a short devotional 
and prayer, anytime they desired it.

If you can believe it, because we couldn't,
we started to get a few consistent students.
Then a few more.

6.20.03 Pizza & Mini-golf
 Most of our students during our last event.
We were taking a small break as I was in my last month of pregnancy 
and ended up delivering 7 days later...
on what would have been a youth night!

A few months into the ministry we got an official night and a bigger room!
It allowed us to have SPACE,
music like this:


memories, right here!

because any worthwhile place for youth needs relatable,
LOUD and if possible encouraging music :)
We played fun games, had crazy challenges,
worshiped with videos until we could have a worship team(years later),
taught the importance of tithing & offerings,
had short lessons and food of course!


January '04- Celebrating 1 yr  in the Jr youth ministry
and my 27th birthday. 
My first born ML was almost 7 months! :)

This may sound silly, but aside from the fun, easy-going nights, 
our height worked in our favor too.
Most of the youth were reaching our height if not already taller!
I'm 5'1, hubby claims 5'2 but I won't second that lol
It seemed to ease the students.
We weren't towering over them which in turn made us less threatening,
 maybe less adult like?
I don't know, it could be that hubby acted like kid around them,
 maybe a little (a lot) of that was in the mix.

The Lord was even doing something in me on a feminine/mothering level.
 Prior to that, I was NOT a huggy, touchy person by nature.
Family and friends don't count.

After all the girls coming through the ministry-
touching my hair, hugging me, etc
I learned very quickly to adjust haha.
As long as you don't sneak up behind me I'm great!

This new ministry gave us something to really focus on.
It allowed beautiful connections with the youth,
many that we still have through FB or directly.

I am reminded, especially while looking at the photo below;
that it brought us laughter and silly moments.
Using our Polaroid at youth.

Which in reality, was very needed
and lightened some of the heaviness our marriage had been experiencing.

to be cont'd



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