By Hannah Iverson
I have been going to In His Service for the last seven years. It’s a week to come together with my brothers and sisters in Christ and share God’s love with one another and with the community. It’s a time to regain a foothold in my faith that has gone on a rollercoaster ride throughout the school year and start fresh with a new confidence for the year to come.
Coming into this year’s service week I knew things were going to be different. It’s my senior year of high school and I’m now the big fish in the pond at youth group. But that’s not the only difference I was expecting. I knew change was inevitable. I think we all knew that. The youth group has been on its own rollercoaster ride as we had to say goodbye to Andrew and Kate Osborne this spring. They both played a huge role at In His Service and our regular youth activities for the last few years. Honestly, I was worried the experience would change because of the year of ups and downs. But the Lord works in amazing ways and he definitely had something in mind for us.
I was right. This year was different. The first thing I noticed about our group this year was the size. We went from about seventy five students last summer to about forty this year. This meant we had smaller groups for service projects and even smaller groups for the morning projects because twenty-two of us, including myself, were committed to serve at vacation bible school at St. Paul. However, having a smaller group makes it easier to take note of more things happening around us.
Our verse for the week talked about how we “spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another.” These words proved to be key in how our week played out. There were so many amazing God filled relationships and memories made during the week. We all found a common ground in our faith and used it to build each other up. I saw my friends from senior high go out of their way to join the tables with younger kids during bible study. The VBS team took time after they got off the bus to start their day with prayer. I saw students praying for their friends several times throughout the week and a generous amount of paper plate awards were handed out that affirmed and encouraged everyone.
Each individual day brought new ways that people stepped up to show God’s love to someone else. Each service project brought challenges that people had to face. Our final night together showed how memorable the time spent together had been and how much people had grown. We spent four pure and emotional hours surrounding and praying for each other. During this time we exchanged encouraging words and prayers that God would continue to use each person to fulfill His plan. To close the night we sang the well known song “How Great Is Our God”. On the last chorus we dropped out all the music and just sang the well known words “How great is our god, sing with me how great is our God, and all will see how great, how great is our God.” During that moment I had this thought:
Hebrews 10:23-25 says: “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Jesus met us right where we were. Through a rollercoaster year we each had—whether it was things with school, or our personal faith walk, or saying goodbye to people we cared about—we didn’t give up the opportunity God was giving us to meet and be together. This week brought a group of kids together to love and encourage each other and remind us that He is always faithful.
In His Service is a four day long service event where the middle school and high school youth of St. Luke serve the local community.
Read more about In His Service.