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."
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.
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.
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
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
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.