By Ed Lyons
"Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." (1Timothy 4:12)
I have often heard young people in church described as "the future" of the congregation. I think we make a mistake if we don't see them as a vital component of the "present" congregation.
I often receive letters from young people all across our country. These letters tell the story of young people making their lives count NOW. Doing great things NOW. Making a difference NOW.
For example, some young people at University Lutheran Church in North Dakota recently emphasized PPF's Safe Water Projects during their summer VBS and sent PPF a generous contribution that will help repair broken water wells in an active war zone in the Nuba Mountains.
Another donor wrote to us about her five-year old grandson, Xander, who started praying for the children in the Nuba Mountains every day a couple of years ago. He thanks Jesus for his food and then prays for the children "all around the world!" He then specifically prays for the children in the Nuba Mountains to have whatever he is eating at that meal. He looks at his plate and starts naming each food item and beverage he is about to have. Then he finishes by saying, "so they won't be hungry and thirsty, in Jesus' Name!"
One of PPF's directors has a 16-year-old son who recently volunteered for three weeks to work in a mobile medical clinic operating in Eastern Equatoria, South Sudan. When he returned, this young man regaled us with stories of killing scorpions and snakes, working in the field pharmacy, even helping a doctor amputate the foot of a young boy who had been hit by a truck.
Young people are not only the future, they are the present. I often reproach myself for neglecting one of the greatest assets in the church and in any organization desiring to engage in active compassion. God has given many of His children tender hearts that desire to serve Him by serving others. "Dear Father, make me like these little children!"