I love meeting new people. Especially when I have a few hours to hear their story of salvation. A story that says...this is how I met Jesus. I heard one of those today. This one was particularly special to my heart. Today we met for the second time. I knew I had met her once before and could not recall. She reminded me under the Solid Rock running tent at the Helvatia Run. She was my walking/running partner. Over facebook we connected to be each others buddy for this event. Both of us attending Solid Rock. So as we began our walk, what better question to start a long walk of 6.2 miles than to ask how she met Jesus. And so I asked, and over the next several miles she shared.
She was just a good kid growing up in the Portland area. Going to high school, playing volleyball, had friends, and doing life as most high school girls would do. I listened as she shared and asked more questions and then she got my attention. She was invited to "club" Young Life club. My heart just melted. I got tears in my eyes. She did not know this at the time. I wanted to jump in and tell her how my heart is deeply passionate over Young Life, but I did not, I let her go on. She shared how she and her friends would go to club. How she ended up going to Malibu camp. How she never did learn how to water ski. How she drifted into the rocks, the rope tangled and she was pulled in. I almost want to take her myself up there and let her have do over. She shared how she accepted Jesus, and there became a Christian, but did not really know what that meant, but like saying "I am a Christian." She started going to Bible study. Her leaders showed her how to find her way around her Bible. She laughed when she told me they would rewrite her notes in her journal because she was all wrong in how she was going about things, because she did not grow up in a home that went to church, so she was finding her way and these precious Young Life leaders took the time to show her.
As her life moved along, her relationship with Christ deepened and her passions for learning more grew. Fast forward to today. Walking 6.2 miles with this sweet girl named Kelsey Coe. I asked her if I could tell her story today and she said I could and that I could use her name. Ministries outside of church are so important. Here is a 20 something girl, who grew up in a home that never went to church. This precious heart being brought by her friends to a place called Young Life Club. Finding leaders who came around her and helped her live out what it meant to be a Christian and now she is plugged into an amazing Bible teaching church. It was not until the end of our time together when she was in my car I wept openly about her story. I told her that I was bursting inside as she shared, and wanted so bad to inject my own stories of seeing so many young people like herself come to know Jesus through Young Life, but did not want to interrupt her. I told her I had been part of Young Life to some capacity for several decades.
What a gift to hear her story. Also a reminder of the importance of ministries outside of church that reach out to our youth. She was once that youth that needed to be reached out to. I was once that youth that needed to be reached out to. It was through Young Life that I found favor in God in so many ways that changed many areas of my life. Kelsey thanks so much for allowing me to poke my nose into the business of your heart. Thanks for sharing so openly and for spurring me on to keep walking the pace, and running this race today. Love you girl!!!!