As many of you know, my husband and I volunteered with a wonderful high school ministry called Young Life while we were in college. I led for 4 years at Colerain High School and he at Lakota East. The years at our respective high schools were challenging, joyful, painful and overall – sanctifying. We both led at schools where students were less involved with the ministry. We worked our tails off, sacrificing time and energy meeting and loving on high school students.
It has now been almost 4 years since I stopped leading at Colerain. Unfortunately, I haven’t kept in touch with any of the girls I hung out with then. Sometimes that is discouraging. I didn’t necessarily have any “success stories” where girls I hung out with became leaders or ran hard after Christ. I knew leading wasn’t in vain, but it was easy to think that my growth was the biggest fruit of this ministry. (Which it still could have been!)
A few months ago I received a facebook message from an old “club girl.” This was a girl I hung out with a few times and she came to Young Life Camp. At camp she said she wanted to follow Jesus – – I was stoked! We talked, planning on meeting regularly for growth. Needless to say, she was difficult to get together with afterwards and we didn’t get to go much farther than that… discouraging.
Anyway, she was writing to tell me (and another past co-leader) her story. A little while after Young Life she had some hard things happen in her life and said she hit “rock bottom.” A friend invited her to church and her heart was softened to the gospel! She is now following hard after Jesus, seeking to glorify Him with her life! She thanked us and said Young Life definitely planted the seed, giving her the foundation to grow on. Praise God!!
This reminded me so well of 1 Cor 3:6 – – “I [Paul] planted, Apollos watered, but God made it grow!” I had the honor of playing a small part in God drawing this woman to Himself – – what a privilege!
The past week, Bryan had a similar situation. One of the guys he used to hang out with – – that he hadn’t talked to in 4 years – – has been attending church the past couple months. He said he was wanting to grow and thought about anyone he knew who could help him. Who did he come up with? Lopes. My hubs:) He knew that Bryan loved and sought hard after Jesus and wanted to be like him.
He told him “even though it may have seemed like you were talking to a wall – you weren’t. We were listening.”
Years later, God used the seeds we planted to draw hearts to Himself! How encouraging!! Both of those stories were so neat to hear. It reminded me that our time, energy and money that we use with gospel motivation is never lost. Even if we don’t see any fruit, we can trust that God is using it!
It also renewed my fervor in praying for people. I distinctly remember regularly praying for both of these students by name. Sometimes praying for people can be discouraging for me because I never see change.
But God is bigger. He is completely sovereign and completely in control. And He USES our prayers to help draw people to Him!! It reminded me that “the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16
Know that your hard work is not in vain! Run the race hard!