Monday, April 6, 2009

8th grade guys

Tonight I just wanted to write about how awesome God is. He has blessed me in so many ways and if I were to write about all of them, it would be a really, really, really long post, and we all know I can write some pretty long ones. (scroll down and see for yourself, haha) But I'm gonna try to keep this one relatively short. I just wanted to write about an opportunity He blessed me with this past year.

In August, I was able to start teaching an 8th grade guys Sunday school class at Living Hope. I had taught at camp and at VBS and thought it would be no big deal. I forgot what I was like in 8th grade though. In 8th grade, you're the king of the school because you're the oldest. Let's face it, 8th graders can be kind of cocky...we've all been there. As lame as it sounds, I was kind of intimidated by these guys. I was placed with 2 adult leaders at first, and we taught the group of 20-30 guys together. Since the group was so big, we split em in two. The 2 adults somehow ended up teaching together, and I was stuck with a group of 12-15 guys each week by myself.

They eventually found a co-leader, another college student, but he has since stopped helping to focus on ministering to his family and that's awesome. But luckily, over the last 8 months, I've really bonded with these guys. They always cut up with me just because I was a little more lax then I should have been, but I wanted them to see me as cool and sort of look up to me, as lame as that sounds. It was rough in the beginning, needless to say. But now, we're finally to the point where they feel completely fine opening up to me in class. They pay attention when I teach, they answer and ask questions, and when I've gotta go adult on 'em and make put something away or stop talking, they actually listen.
But we still find time to cut up and have a good time. I've even had a guy talk to me on Facebook about relationship advice, and giving that kind of advice to a13 year old guy is tougher than you think, haha.

But it really hit me today how God has used me to impact these guys when they started interrogating me about graduation and when I would be leaving. When I told them when I would probably have to stop teaching them, they all said they wanted to do something with me before I left. They wanna go on an overnight camping trip to Mammoth Cave with me and Ross, the middle school director. Whether it's gonna actually happen remains to be seen. But I'm a sentimental guy if you didn't know already, and that really got me. I didn't get emotional or anything, but that short conversation showed me how they've come to think of me as their friend and someone they look up to. Whether I've known it or not, God's been using me in small ways to impact the lives of these 8th grade guys, and I'm so grateful for the chance to do so. These guys have definitely had an impact on me, and it's gonna be hard to leave em in May when it's time to move on to Louisville. I've told em that I'm gonna visit them when I'm back in BG to visit friends, and they thought that was cool. But more importantly, I hope that they've seen Christ in my life and have really learned what it means to be a follower of Christ in today's world as a teenager.
And I hope they've learned as much from me as I have from them. If God can use my example to impact one of those guys, then that's awesome. They're a great bunch of guys and I thank God for the chance to hang out with them and lead them in Bible study this year...I've loved every minute of it.

Ok, so maybe this one wasn't as short as I thought it would be...oh well. :)

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