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Having teenagers tumble 100 yards down the rocky slope of a volcano or break a promise and have to ask forgiveness are not activities we include in our tips for youth work. But both of these played an important role in helping one of the kids in our youth group grow from a nominal Christian into passionate leader of younger teens. Nahum represents the best of what has happened in our ministry at San Pablo Presbyterian Church where we serve as the "coordinators of the youth ministries."

After years of not going to church, Nahum returned to San Pablo about the time we arrived. God was working in his life and drew him to be involved in the youth group even though he was discouraged by his inability to break into some of the well-established cliques. But he really got serious with God after his accident at the volcano.

He was descending the steep inner face of the crater of an extinct volcano with several other guys when he lost his balance and fell 100 yards, his body somersaulting off the sharp boulders. When he finally stopped, the group thought he might be dead. He was still conscious, but in shock and bleeding profusely from the head. A miraculous answer to prayer, he never lost consciousness as Tim and another friend helped him down the mountain to the car below. Everyone was praying for him and amazingly a week later he was fully recovered. Through the accident he realized that God cared about him, had a plan for his life, and could be trusted.

That story is a great reminder for us that God is the one accomplishing growth in people's lives. But thankfully God has also allowed us (and you through your prayers and gifts) the joy of being involved. Due to several factors--Nahum's family lives near us; we have compatible personalities and interests; he has opened his life to us--we have developed with him, as Paul says, " the sharing of our very lives" that provides the best context for discipleship and mentoring.

Although Nahum had committed his life to Christ years before, it was in the context of his relationship with us, through an difficult situation in which Tim confronted him with the breaking of a promise, that he understood forgiveness and grace. At that point he felt the goodness of the "good news" and became eager to share that with his friends and with other youth at church. He is now one of the leaders of the younger youth group and just got back from a three week mission trip doing construction in Honduras (photo from his mission trip).

We don't have a perfect youth group at San Pablo, but we practice what we teach: the best ministry happens in the context of relationships.

Youth Ministry Web Site Update:

In August we had 55,683 hits and daily we get letters telling us how useful the resources and training are.

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