Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Growing our friends in their faith: Virginia's Story

Seventeen years ago I met Virginia at Del Mar high school and it took us an entire year to talk her mom into letting Virginia come to club! Here she is in the front row serving as a leader for YL Capernaum in San Jose. 

Virginia has grown from a shy young girl to a bold and brave woman of God. She has learned the gift of servant leadership and truly loves serving others. She has learned two very important truths: God has made her in his image on purpose and for a purpose!
She is way more capable than she ever dreamed.
Virginia loves Young Life and how it has helped her grow deep in Christ!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Spiritual Resume

I Corinthians 12:4-11 The Message

"God’s various gifts are handed out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit.  God’s various ministries are carried out everywhere; but they all originate in God’s Spirit.  God’s various expressions of power are in action everywhere; but God himself is behind it all.  Each person is given something to do that shows who God is:  Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits. All kinds of things are handed out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people! The variety is wonderful."

Think about one of your Capernaum friends.  One you have known for awhile.  Think about the last time you were together.  Have that name and face in your mind?  Read I Corinthians 12:4-11 again with this person in mind.

"Everyone gets in on it, everyone benefits.  All kinds of things are handed 
out by the Spirit, and to all kinds of people!"

This includes our friends.  This includes and honors their diverse abilities!  Part of discipleship with our Capernaum friends is countercultural.  Many cultures around the world and often subtleties still exist in the states, that consider our friends as having little to offer.  Jesus NEVER indicates that about anyone he comes in contact with. Nor do we in Capernaum.

We are learning to take the discipleship of our Capernaum friends, and what they have to offer the world VERY seriously.  Part of their discipleship is recognizing the gifts they have and giving them the opportunity to use them.  This is the countercultural part, but “Each person is given something to do that shows who God is”, which means it is right and it is good.

You know about the tool of the IDP 

There is another resource possibility in the “Spiritual Resume”.  As we get to know our Capernaum friends and as they grow in their faith the Spiritual Resume gives us the opportunity to help our friends identify what they have to offer a church community.  We want our friends to understand their value and that people around them need the gifts they have.  Having a hard copy and possible wording gives our friends the confidence and vehicle to share with a church/community group how they would like to be involved.

It is best for a Capernaum friend and their leader to take a semester or year to work on this resume together.  They can add new gifts as you have experiences together.  Some of our friends even love to give input on font and color to truly make it their own.

The times we have done this with our friends it has taught us to look and name the amazing gifts we see not only in our Capernaum friends but in other people that often go unnoticed.

“The variety is wonderful.”

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Peyton, Hunter & Brodie - Work Crew/Summer Staff Stories

Enjoy this story of two of our Capernaum friends serving on summer staff with their coach.

Well if there ever was a power trio, it’s this one right here! Peyton, Hunter and Brodie spent a month at Young Life’s Carolina Point serving on summer staff. They worked at GoKarts and Archery Tag, interacting with every camper and leader who came through camp! We love how these guys served, how they grew and the many ways that God used them to impact others!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Trevor's Story: I am not afraid of the cross

Trevor has been part of Capernaum for the past year, but it's been a tumultuous year with his parents’ divorce, selling of their home and really starting over financially and relationally.  Trevor loves to sing, loves friendships and loves life! Inclusion camp at Lost Canyon was an opportunity to build friendships with his typically developing peers from his high school who sang, laughed and cared for him well. Trevor’s personality is magnetic, and his peers were drawn to him, initiating relationship
and even inviting him to try new things like the swing zip line and ropes course. Every new activity brought fear but also celebration as he overcame fears. Trevor slowly made his way through the ropes course with leaders on either side of him reminding him of all he’d been able to conquer during week, and he did it again!  As Trevor finished and was belayed down, cheers surrounded him and the entire cabin of his typically developing peers met him with hugs, high fives and tears. They had missed breakfast to stay and be a part of his victory that became theirs as well.

Trevor’s experience with the gospel at club during the year had been confused by his own angst and fear around the cross. He had grown up with crucifixes in his house that for some reason triggered him and tended to shut him down. As he spent the week surrounded by love and community, hearing the gospel and the GREAT NEWS that ‘It is finished’ because of the cross, something shifted.  After the crosstalk he shared ‘I’m not afraid of the cross anymore because I know Jesus loves me like you all love me.’ It was a powerful moment to see our great hope and redemption come alive to Trevor.  Each afternoon, Trevor would journal about camp, zip lines, friends and Jesus being his new home. This was significant with all they lost and changes to what home meant.  Not only did a scholarship from Capernaum make it possible for him to have the best week of his life, Trevor learned about heaven, his true home, the power of the cross and the gift of community.

Friday, November 23, 2018

A Little Girl and a Poor Frail Lady - Bible Study

As we continue to go deeper with our friends in Capernaum, we’re seeing such incredibly creativity in staff and leaders around the mission! We’re in awe of what you all are doing to consider the greatest and most effective gospel proclamation both verbally and experientially with your friends. Check out this great bible study that Amber in Little Rock, AR put together for her friends! It’s creative, consistent, simple yet profound and we love it!

We’d love to see what you’re doing with your friends! Send us your great ideas for club talks and campaigners!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Growing Our Friends In Their Faith: Serving at Camp

As our Capernaum friends meet Jesus and begin to grow in their faith, our desire is that they would learn about their gifts and begin to experience how they can use those to be a blessing. For many of our friends whose whole lives have been spent receiving services, support, instruction, and help, precius little has been asked of them.  

An invitation to service is thrilling and challenging. This year, Tuscon leaders invited two of their Capernaum friends who have met Jesus already to be buddies at an outreach week for high school Capernaum friends. These friends spent weeks before to camp praying for their friends and completing buddy training. 

In one of our training times, we asked our buddies to write down what they hoped God would do for their friends at camp. Dominic shared "I pray that God will be able to provide a safe and exciting week as these campers go up to Lost Canyon to learn more about Jesus and how he's changed our lives." It was powerful to see Dominic be an amazing buddy to his friends Sammy and Michael and
share with them the love of Jesus in the way he treated them.  

Training emphasized serving of others first, stepping back so Capernaum camper friends could experience horses, rides, the front row seat at club, the first slice of cake… what a powerful thing to see a friend with an intellectual disability intentionally living out Philipians 2:3-4: 

Don't be selfish; don't try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don't look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

Our friends learned about setting an example rather than trying to boss their friends around, serving and being present, asking questions and caring deeply in prayer. According to Philipans 2, this is the mindset of Christ Jesus.  Watching these friends become more like Jesus was discipleship at its finest. During the first discipleship meeting, camp speaker, John, shared that as buddies our prayer should be ‘God, please use us and change us.’ On the way home from camp, Dominic  shared his favorite part of camp was watching Sammy and Michael make new friends and share in cabin time. He said "I really feel like God used and changed me this week!"

Friday, November 16, 2018

Culture of Capernaum - Creativity and Tenacity

Throughout the year, we want to highlight some attributes that we see as being part of our YL Capernaum culture.  This month, we highlight, creativity and tenacity.

I (Christen Morrow Ara) recently was invited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Young Life in Peru. What a gift to be with leaders, staff, committee, and students that ranged an era of 50 years of ministry in my second home of Lima, Peru. I was greeted at the entrance of the celebration banquet by high school students serving, much like a Young Life banquet in your hometown. At the door, I met high school students with disabilities there with their mothers. Of course, this was where I wanted to be and there was so much joy in meeting them and hearing their stories. Mothers, through tears expressed to me what it meant that we had sewn the seed of Capernaum into Peruvian soil 14 years ago when their children were infants with brand new diagnoses, and no one had vision for their kids’ social inclusion let along  
spiritual purpose or belonging.

I thought back to the early days of casting the vision for ministry in Peru, navigating culture and disability, the questions, fears, and ‘what ifs?’ that came with a new vision. I thought of the many Peruvians volunteers who became family to me that braved this new territory with me.  I think of those who took up the corner of a mat, sometimes literally, as we carried students who didn’t even own a wheelchair down 3 flights of stairs to the beach so they could experience camp alongside  peers, in tents, finding ways to prop them up at club in the sand, at meals, all to get them in front of Jesus. I thought of the creativity, tenacity, joy, and perseverance of these leaders just to get to where friends were in schools, hidden away in homes because they didn’t have wheelchairs or mobility, in shanty towns, in orphanages. As I stood with these Capernaum friends, their brave mamas, and this team I got to help form, I was humbled deeply. This is what Capernaum is! We don’t wait for a ramp to a roof (or a clubroom on the beach or a shanty town shack), a special camp with a program and schedule set for our friends, a Jesus storybook Bible and cabin time box…. or whatever our friends might need. We make the ramp, the accessibility, set program, design creative ways to help with gospel proclamation all so that our friends can be set in front of Jesus!

So, as I stood and watched our Peruvian friends with disabilities perform alongside their high school peers at all-city club in a cultural dance-off, sat with the mothers at the anniversary celebration, participated in the carnival that followed club, I thought of all of you, Capernaum. You’re still at it… building relational in-roads at schools, in areas, at camps, creating greater access, gently leading our mission with joy and creativity around how we welcome our friends, and making sure that they do not miss Jesus and His great hope! Whether in developing countries like Peru and Tanzania, in rural Arkansas or the bustling city of San Francisco, I hope we keep praying and dreaming for kids with disabilities; for the ones who have not yet been born, for the little ones whose parents are adjusting to a diagnosis and cannot even dream of a their kids experiencing a faith community and meaningful place to belong and grow in their faith, for the teenagers in front of us now…. Lets keep doing it, friends! And let’s be like those 4 men in Mark 2, those leaders in Lima, Peru, those who will go to any length to pave the way and are willing to change culture, build and create along the way. This is what we were made for and the best ministry is yet to be done, keep creating, loving, and leading with joy and gratitude!