Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Annika's story - "It all makes sense now!"

Written by Jamie Fendler, Capernaum Staff in Burnsville, MN - Thank you Jamie!

I met my friend, Annika, when she was a freshman. I would hang out at her adaptive softball games and she would turn around in the stands and giggle at me all throughout the game. Honestly, if someone had told me back then that Annika would be doing work crew heading into her senior year, I might not have believed them. But Annika has matured so much in her relationship with Christ and it has been so fun to be a part of! Since that year, Annika rarely misses a Capernaum club and has come as a camper to Castaway the last two summers.

After camp last summer, Annika started to ask me about doing work crew. So, when our region decided to do an all-metro work crew training, I asked Annika to come along!

On our way to the first day of training, Annika was full of questions. “Will I be the only one with a disability there?” she asked nervously. We had a great conversation about how her disability doesn’t define her, and in this setting, she can be whoever she wants to be. “So, I don’t even have to tell anyone that I have a disability?” she asked excitedly. No, Annika, just be you!

Each week Annika was so excited to attend the training. The students were given “homework assignments” to do each week to prepare them to best serve on work crew. Annika would text me throughout the week saying how excited she was that she finished her homework for that day. Part of
the weekly assignment was to memorize scripture. When the students were asked who had the verse memorized, Annika was the first to pop up and say the scripture in front of the whole group! She was so excited to talk with her peers about what she was learning about God.

On the second week of training, we broke up into groups to discuss the story of Jesus washing the disciple’s feet during the last supper and how it relates to work crew. After we laughed about how gross it was that Jesus had to touch other people’s stinky feet, we started to talk about the word “serve”(the memory scripture for that week was Matthew 10:45 – “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many”) As we were chatting, I could tell everything was clicking in to place for Annika. All of a sudden she shouted, “Oh, it all makes sense now! Jesus served His friends, to teach me how to serve, so that I can go on work crew to serve the campers!”

Yes, Annika, that is exactly what Jesus was trying to teach us.

I can’t wait for Annika to serve campers this summer with her eyes fixed on Jesus who was the best servant of all.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Mabel's Story

We love this outreach camp story from YL Capernaum Tuscon!  Thank you for walking with your friends like Mabel and introducing them to a lifelong relationship with Jesus!

This summer we had the privilege of going to camp with our friend Mabel. This was Mabel's second year at camp with us. When we first started talking about camp 2 years ago, I handed Mabel's parents
a flyer for camp. 

They were shocked that Mabel would be able to go to camp, and more so that we would be willing to care for her physical needs the whole week. This was the first time that Mabel would be away from her parents since she was born. Last year Mabel experienced new adventures and heard the gospel all week but wasn't ready to make a decision to follow Jesus. 

Over the next year, Mabel continued to come to club and hear more of the gospel while building her friendships with the leaders. Two months prior to camp, Mabel's parents got divorced. This year at camp she was able to grieve and process her parent's divorce with her leader Alea, whose parents also recently divorced. Alea shared that even in the midst of our circumstances feeling uncertain or chaotic, Jesus' love for us and care for us remains constant. At the end of the week, Mabel said yes to a friendship with Jesus and is excited to continue this journey with Alea!

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

A Marathon of Firsts - Shreeya's story

Thank you Sarah from San Francisco for sharing this with us!!!

Shreeya is a rising junior this year. She has had many health scares in her life due to having epilepsy and a myriad of allergies. Seizures in her childhood caused Shreeya to have trouble with her speech and communication, which has made making friends a challenge for her.

All that began to change when her Young Life leaders met her 2 years ago at her high
school. Over time Shreeya and her parents have come to love and trust her leaders.

This summer was a marathon of firsts for her, all alongside new friends and her YL leaders. She went to her first ever sleepover in the spring on our spring break overnight in San Francisco. She went to the movies with friends for the first time ever this summer with us. Shreeya had friends over to her house for the first time ever to hang out and spend the night. AND she experienced camp at Woodleaf for the first time ever this summer. 

Over the spring and summer of firsts, her leaders and her parents saw Shreeya make friends, come out of her shell, go on adventures (without mom and dad!) and process the Gospel! 

At camp, Shreeya loved all the "rides" and led all her friends as she went first without fear. She loved club and seeing herself on the camp video, and she sat anticipating every word of our camp speaker. By the end of the week, Shreeya wrote a letter to God. It said, in her own writing, "Jesus, thank you for loving us." She GOT IT! We are so grateful that Shreeya walked away from camp knowing Jesus loves us.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Capernaum Interest Meeting - Contact Card

Having a Capernaum Interest Meeting in your area?  Or helping a neighboring area with one?

Here’s a great Interest Contact Card that you can print and have available for folks to fill out, making follow-up as simple as possible!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Sequoia's Story: Dear God, thank you so much for Jesus

From the moment her leader, Jenna, showed Sequoia the camp video, she was "in". It didn’t matter that she didn’t know what Young Life was, she was going to camp. Her excitement for camp increased as she began coming to our new Capernaum events. 

The day to leave for camp finally came, and after a long bus ride, we arrived in a serious rain downpour, which meant we couldn’t do many activities the first afternoon

But the next day when Sequoia woke up, the first thing she said was, “Swimming pool?” She had a
blast with so many new and fun activities! 

Sequoia also participated in profound ways during cabin time. After our camp speaker, John, shared about Jesus’ death and resurrection we asked our cabin “Who is Jesus to you?” Without hesitation Sequoia was the first to answer and said, “Jesus saved my life.” 

Later in that same cabin time she wrote this to God: “Dear God, thank you so much for Jesus and the cross, love, family, swimming pool, and carnival games.” 

We are so excited to continue to walk with Sequoia as we learn together all that Jesus really has saved her for! The best is yet to come!

Friday, February 1, 2019

Working Together to Find a Faith Community

Thank you Tucson Capernaum Young Life, for this story!
This past winter Justin attended Winter Camp at YL’s Lost Canyon. Justin has been participating in a Young Life club that is intentionally including students of all abilities together.

Two of the Young Life leaders, James and Paul, have been investing in Justin and worked hard to overcome any obstacles in order to get him to Camp. At camp, Justin heard the Gospel for the first time.

In his own words, "I felt loved at winter camp and found peace there. Not only that, I found Jesus too. The speaker told us to go outside and lay down and wait for a call from Jesus. I heard that call and that night I answered it.”

The next morning when our speaker invited kids who said yes to Jesus for the first time to stand,  stood up alongside his leader James. Suddenly, four of his peers from his cabin noticed that Justin was standing, so they stood up to be with him. When it was Justin’s turn to say his name and that he said yes to Jesus, his friends cheered and hugged him.

After returning home from camp, Paul worked with Justin to become involved in a local church. He picks Justin up every Sunday and brings him to service. Justin has become a vital part of the church body. Justin attends a men’s bible study breakfast every month and has started conversations about where he can serve in the church.

This past weekend, Paul was out of town for a Leader Retreat. Justin made calls to other people in the church until he finally reached the Head Pastor to ask for a ride. It has been a joy to see Justin advocate for himself, and to see his church acknowledge and embrace the value that Justin brings to their church! We are excited to see Justin continue his lifelong faith in the support and community of a local church.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Healthy Collaborations - A Short sheet

In May 2016 the Midwest Division of Young Life created a strategic plan that included intentionality toward collaborating with like-minded organizations.  A group of 6 YL staff supervised by the YL Training Department- “Mission Movers” conducted research and created a template outlining the principles that could guide us forward in developing sustainable collaborations that would benefit kids toward whole and Christ like care.  This is a short sheet on their findings. As we transition our Capernaum friends toward life long Christian community these can be very helpful guidelines.

WHY Healthy Collaborations are IMPORTANT
We can model a fuller model of the Body of Christ.
We can better ensure kids involved in life long Christian community.
We can more fully serve kids as we create access to more holistic programs.
We can create opportunities to learn from others.
We will have more engaged adults in kid’s lives.
As we serve we may have something to offer other organizations in their mission.

As of November 2016 YL in the Midwest Division had over 40 collaborative relationships mostly with churches.  The collaborations that were most successful had the following ingredients.
Healthy, scheduled and regular communication.  
A supervisor of collaboration.
Consistent leadership
Clear expectations in writing.
Similar core values/mission or like-minded organization.

HOW do you develop Healthy Collaborations?

Step 1.  Identify key Stakeholders to buy in.  Stakeholders at every level of both organizations.
Pray together.  Seek the Holy Spirit’s direction.  
Get to know each other.
Assess current and mutual needs as well as gaps.
Pursue new relationships with other key leaders/pastors who are making an impact in the area.

Step 2.  Clarify Focus
Identify possible partners and define what the relationship could look like.  
(Define the Relationship)
Determine the missional focus.
Discuss Mission Statement | Statement of Faith | Faith and Conduct of each organization to ensure like-mindedness.
Clarify role expectations.

Step 3.  Define the Template for Collaborative Relationship
Fill out template questionnaire.
Using the template results form a Memorandum of Understanding.
Write and agree on job description and actions steps with dates if possible and as needed.
Implement a plan for regular communication and an annual evaluation.