Sunday, October 27th, deep gray, almost black sky, rain pelting against the windows, and me wishing I could stay snug under the cozy blankets until the storm passed. In the distance, church bells were ringing, beckoning me, reminding me of the time, as I slowly pushed back the covers, yawning, making my way to the coffee pot. As I got ready for church, I thought about how nice it would be to linger over my coffee. But then I felt a little nudge tugging at my heart. And as the wind blew through the trees, I knew that I needed to go to church.
As we drove to church, the rain kept doing what it does best, making puddles that seem to be growing with every block. I thought to myself, I could be sitting with my feet up, finishing my book. But then, there it was again; the nudge. My husband parked the car in front of the church but on the opposite side of the street. As I got out of the car, put up my umbrella, I noticed the most significant, widest puddle, growing more extensive right where I needed to walk. I looked at Rick and thought, really?
Once again, the nudge, pushing, then leading me across the street, up the three steps, opening the door, walking through the door, putting down my umbrella, opening the entrance to the Sanctuary, hanging up my dripping raincoat, walking down the aisle with the red rug, then sliding into the pew. As I sat there, I glanced back at our beautiful stained glass windows. They looked different on this gray day. Once more, the nudge.
Then, the Youth Group walked from the Gallery into the Sanctuary and stood in a line behind the last row of dark brown pews, waiting. As they stood there, a video started on the screen in front of the organ. As I watched, my husband and I began to laugh. Picture this; a hillbilly band playing the music to I Walk the Line, on scrub boards, old guitars, and heaven knows what else. What a way to get our attention!
This wonderful group of teens did the whole service. From the greeting, the singing, the prayers, the Children’s Message, to the Morning Message and Blessing.
They did a great job with each part of the service. Then it was time for the Morning Message. It was titled: A God Moment. Their message to each of us was how God touched their hearts at a particular moment.
This past summer, many of the teens participated in a Misson Trip to West Virginia. There, they helped to build two ramps for families needing them. I was touched by how God, in His wisdom and His perfect timing, not only affected the hearts of several teens but taught them a lesson of gratitude. In their voices, I heard a deep appreciation for the opportunity to lend a hand to those in need.
Then, two sisters shared their experience with their guests, visitors from Germany. I was impressed by how the girls took turns explaining their experience with the German teens sharing their home. They, along with their brother, were excited to welcome their new friends. The only obstacle standing in their way was the language. The girls did not speak German, and the German teens spoke little English. The girls continued saying, it took a late-night trip to the grocery store, some funny incidents, giggles, and a cashier to bring it all together. As the gal behind the register scanned the purchases, she asked if they were related, one of the sisters, explained the story of the German teens. The teens left the story learning that they had more in common than they realized. From that moment on, they began enjoying each other’s company and quickly became friends.
As the service continued, these precious teens led us in prayer, songs, and the blessing at the end. It was a beautiful service.
Our Youth Group is lead by a wonderful, loving woman named Marge Baltz. I glanced at Marge throughout the service and saw her smile as they went through each part of the service. As the teens spoke about their mission trip, it was evident that their leader was very proud of them.
We at St. John’s our blessed to have Marge leading our youth.
And now for my God Moment. As I listened to the teens, read the scripture, lead us in song, watched the children come forward to learn, and listened to the morning message of helping others. Along with becoming friends with our German guests, reciting the Lord’s prayer, and the blessing closing our service, I realized that God used these teens in a variety of ways to make a meaningful difference. A difference, the West Virginia families will never forget. Our German guests, especially the teens, will remember, at first awkward feelings, leading to lasting memories of new adventures and fun. Of course, last but not least, all the giggles along the way.
Through Marge and her parent helpers, these teens have learned a valuable lesson that helping others is what fills us with the love of God. It is what we are supposed to be doing. A lesson well learned by our youth.
It may have been gray when I entered the church; however, the teens became rays of sunshine, reminding me of God’s love for all.
Thank you, Marge, and the Youth Group for filling my heart with hope.
My name is Cynthia Jean DeLuca. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. I believe in following your dreams and never giving up! Helping others is very important to me, for when we help others, we help ourselves. It is my hope to make a difference in the lives of children and grown-ups. My hobbies are writing, quilting and painting. I am a novice at all three but, enjoy them immensely. I grew up on a farm with no indoor plumbing and no heat in our upstairs. I love life and have a very strong faith. Working on inspirational short stories for grown- ups. Love to speak on topics that touch my heart.
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