Vulnerability Unlocked and Unleashed

by DanWolgemuth on July 29, 2016

It’s a bit of a tradition for Mary and me. We travel the 70 miles from our house to Quaker Ridge Camp in Woodland Park, Colorado. It’s a refreshing, inspiring and humbling glimpse into the impact of our YFC Camp strategy and the relational investment made by so many leaders across to country into the lives of broken, confused and hopeless young people.

This year we brought five kids with us. Grandkids. Malia, Graham, Davey, Desmond and Tess, ages 8 to 5, walked onto the property and into an experience that rocked all of us.

The camp was designed for high school students, and it included Youth For Christ chapters from Iowa, Illinois, Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota and Colorado. Shortly after I arrived, Jon Christensen, our Camp Director for the week, shared stories of the brokenness, pain, abuse, self-destruction, and sin that characterized the population of students that walked the mountainous terrain within eyeshot of Pike’s Peak.

The stories have become frighteningly common.

As I stood and listened, I watched an unexpected and beautiful picture take shape. In a matter of minutes, the five grandchildren that had accompanied us to camp were being “absorbed” into the activities that marked the afternoon. First it was soccer with a few teenagers, then it was as “ball girls and boys” as part of the conclusion of a volleyball tournament. These activities birthed conversation with perfect strangers that flourished into high-fives and shout-outs over the PA system. It was spontaneous combustion. It was overwhelming to watch.

Over and over during our return trip to Denver, our “kids” talked about how fun and kind and welcoming these YFC kids had been.

I watched as the vulnerability of children broke down barriers. Instantly. Consistently. Powerfully.

“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” (Matthew 25:35b)

I watched teenagers, perfect strangers, unfamiliar faces engage in the noble calling that Jesus outlined.

Marginalized high school students reached beyond their margin. Disconnected and isolated young people stepped out, and stepped in.

Children unlocked something in bigger children that created an opening to the message and love of Jesus… for everyone involved… and everyone who watched.

Hours later, as the message of the Gospel of Jesus filled a Club Room, I watched 200 students and five grandchildren engage with the compelling reality that “while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)

Vulnerability engaged with vulnerability. Children unlocked the hearts of children. Unexpected love burst light into the darkness. And light provided a spotlight on Jesus. On hope. On forgiveness. On repentance. On rescue.

Unscripted. Unexpected. Undeniable.

When the love of Jesus is unleashed, lives change. Forever.

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