As I sit here and think about some of the students who have come and gone through the youth ministry while I have been a leader, I just stand amazed at the ways that God has developed these girls and grown them into amazing women who are unique and beautiful and magnificent. I have loved every student in all of the 8 years that I have been doing youth ministry. However, I have mentored a few specifically, and have had the opportunity to watch their lives grow and the dreams develop, and I am so excited to see what else comes.
ALYSSA: The first time I met Alyssa she was in 8th grade, now she is a sophmore in college.
Things I love about her: She is one of the most creative and artistic people I know, she has huge, beautiful dreams, she is willing to let God open the doors that she should walk through, she loves adventure, she sees the world in one of the most fun, unconventional ways and I love when she captures it on film because then I get to sample just a bit of it, she has this beauty about her, especially when she smiles, that just makes me think of God and how magnificent he is.
Some of my favorite memories: When she was a freshman in high school and I asked her what she would like to study and she looked at me and said "I want to know what God's will is for my life" and I almost fell over in shock because she was only 14, having her stand with me in my wedding, sitting at Margies when she came back from school and just listening to her and looking at pictures, sitting down with her after each missions trip and listening to the stories, stealing her away from school and going up to Estes Park, watching how the door opened for her to go to school out of the country instead of where we all thought she would go in Oregon, talking with her about things like lightning and doors!
AMANDA: I meet her when she was in 8th grade, now she is a senior in high school.
Things I love about her: I love how she genuinely cares about her friends and trys to speak truth in their lives even when she knows she will get a negative response, how she is stubborn, her confidence, how she stays committed to things and finishes them out well, how she is so willing to grow, her heart for ministry, how she can make me laugh harder than almost anyone.
Some of my favorite memories: Being on the airplane with her on our way to Czech in 06...SO FUNNY!, being in the Frankfort Airport with her last year when she lost her passport and had to get the mug shot for her temp, moving the bed from my mom's to my house and having her tell her mom she got mugged, sitting at Panera, going to the Yellow House Starbucks during Junior High retreat, all of the looks that we give each other that say "HELP ME!", how she packs her clothes in a TUB, reading books to her and the other girls at retreat, going up to the cabin with Her, her mom, and Al and just talking, talking about Amanda-trees at cold stone, watching her transform from my junior high student to being like my little sister.
KAITI: We first met when she was in Junior High, really started to get to know each other when she was a junior in high school, now she is a Senior.
Things I love about her: I love how she embraces freedom, her writing, how her mind is always thinking about things, how she stands up for people, how she can be really quite or really crazy, how she is artistic even with her hair, how she can make friends, her emotions, how she won't give up her dream even when others seem to oppose it sometimes, how honest she is about her faith, how she makes you want to change things for the better.
Some of my favorite memories: When she first came to my house for a Bible study and how open she was with me about where she was at, teaching with her in Czech, going to get flowers and journals for each other, talking with her in the doorway at retreat, talking about writing with her, all or our little talks usually in my kitchen or in the entry way of my house after everyone has left, watching her motivate so many other students, sitting together watching Ondra accept Christ.
KERITH: I have known Kerith since she was a very little girl, like an infant, started really working with her when she was in 8th grade, and now she is a senior in high school.
Things I love about her: I love how original she is, she enjoys having fun, her and her brother are so funny together, how honest she can be with me at times, how she loves music, how involved she is with school, that she is a goofy girl that makes me laugh, that she has a really tender heart, how she struggles to make her faith her own, how she hates seeing her friends make stupid choices, how she loves hanging out with her little sister, her leadership.
Some of my favorite memories: Watching her play with the geese while I took Amanda and Tanner's pictures, sitting with her at Ketring Park eating McDonalds with her when she "hated me" (but she really didn't hate me), going to Czech with her and taking that goofy picture with her and Amanda in the airport (which I still have in my study), watching her when she was in 8th grade wear the craziest clothes ever, sitting with Amanda and Kristina at her homecoming game and cheering for her, praying for her last year at her house when she was sick, going to her 16th birthday party and watching home videos, having her and Amanda call me at like 2 in the morning and going over and talking with them.