The ultimate update

It's finally time for an update! I think it would take too much space to put into words the last two weeks of my life, so i'll do my best to condense and only share what's really been on my heart!
First and foremost my thoughts, time, stress, and joy have flowed from Encounter God Ministries. I've struggled with this group in many different ways. First off week one of EG youth went great from the outside, but on the inside I knew it wasn't what God wanted it to be. As I sought Him on answers I got a response, "You're trying to make them look like a typical youth group, I want you to work to make each of them look like me!" This left me with several changes to be made!!! For one God had made it about individuals not a group. So we've begun to focus on each youth individually and more specifically meeting their needs, and reaching them where they are. We're going to implement small groups and one on one time, into youth. Also the obvious asking the Lord to reveal new ideas to me and my leaders for this not "typical" youth gropu! I don't even know what that would look like. I know church. I could set up typical church youth anyday (I'm not undermining the hard work that youth ministers and youth workers everyday! it is def. a tough calling!!) Have dynamic worship, an enthusiastic speaker, take up offering, have some fellowship time, of course plan fun activities, mission work, youth damp during the summer, and possibly a fall retreat! But, what does a not typical youth gropu look like? I've always felt called to the church. I've spoken in different churches, youth groups, Christian sororities, camps, retreats, I've spoken to the church crowd, but what about these. The more I work with tehse kids, these families, the more I realize I'm where I need to be and the more I see my primary responsibility is to love these unloved! Battling drugs, poverty, broken and rough homes. I can't help but wonder how the ministers of our day would minister. Joel Osteen's 7 steps to your best life now? Try and explain that to one of my kids, how about the ones who deal drugs so they can eat, or their parents are in jail? I can't walk into that youth building and teach the type of messages I've taught in the other churches or otehr Christian environments! For one the youth at cornerstone would listen to me preach for 45 minutes, these will barely listen for ten. So a new dynamic it is. It's like being on the mission field everyday. In fact many times as I go to pick a child up I am reminded of street evangelising in Rwanda. Surrounded by drunks crowded outside living in poverty and using the alcohol to drown them from reality. That is the reality to my kids, so i'm learning. I'm learning about how to get out of "church habits" and meet actual needs to teach these youth about Jesus and to be there for them. I've already in two weeks dealt with harder situation that I ever have in three years of working with churched youth. It's been hard, challenging, new, but I wouldn't trade it. The small victories have so much more meaning now for me. I'm so much more appreciative for each conversation with a youth. Any that they mention the Lord, or signs of God movement in their life. For every opporunity when they open up. I'm learning to be so grateful.
On another hand, I love my job at the rec. I'm working a lot of hours, but i'm thoroughly enjoying it.
I'm learning to guard my heart and allow teh Lord to give the word before I allow my emotions to run me. It's a new level of trust for me.
I know God is moving. I see so much going on inside of me, in my youth, on my job, with my friends. I've been in a constant state of awe, mixed with utter exhaustion haha.
Rest has a new meaning as well!!!! naps are a great addition to my daily schedule.
I've finished chapter 2 of my fiction novel and I'm still several chapters into my non-fiction self help book. I'm believing for big things in these next few months before i move! It's a journey... and i'm loving it.
My brother had an MRI on his brain today.
New ideas with these youth.
To see God invade their hearts.
Rest for me!
Join me in asking God to continue to show me how to guard my heart!
I will start looking for jobs in the dallas area next week, ask God to reveal where He would have me to look and go as I'm moving into this time of transition!!
j. tate