Hold Fast

At Summer Institute

This past month and a half hasn’t been the easiest for me. So far in my career as a youth worker I feel like this last little while has been a great example of what living in the middle of the mess of people’s lives looks like. Anxious crisis calls at midnight (on my birthday), fentanyl laced drugs causing overdoses in Langley (including some students we’re connected with), youth homelessness (with only couches to surf), parties gone wrong (exploitation whether intentional or not), and suicide attempts from some of the most unsuspecting people.

Lord, have mercy.

Sometimes being surrounded by this can weigh a lot heavier on me than other days. Sometimes it feels like I can’t do much more than show up and be present, and honestly, that’s tough when you see and hear the things from young people that we do. Sometimes you just want to cringe and try to forget the scary reality you just heard. But this is my calling - I want to be in the mess of people’s lives. I truly care about the young people here in Langley. But this is why we partner, so that together we can make a difference. You enable me to be in the middle of this mess. You enable me to be able to walk alongside the hurting, you enable that panicked phone call that takes place at midnight, or that meal out because money is tight, or that instilling of confidence because of a successful art piece at our art show.

Before I sign off for now (next newsletter is in September), a few things to update you on.

-Summer Institute went quite well, good training for my work, got me one step closer to being credentialed, and was great to be able to connect with the National staff and get to know and learn from my co-workers from across the country

-Our Art Show on June 15th went quite well. We saw over 90 people come through, show support, and lead to some cool proud moments for our students who submitted art pieces.

-In terms of giving, I have started taking 4 days a week. It is a bit of a leap of faith, as I still need to bring in an additional $125 per month for this to be sustainable for Kirstie and I. I am extremely grateful for being so close, the Lord has worked in surprising and awesome ways to keep me on pace for this.

Lastly, this summer is looking to be a busy one. For the whole month of July I will be working in partnership with Walnut Grove Secondary School in a program called Gator Shades. Gator Shades is a transitional program for grade 7 students going into grade 8. It recognizes students who may have an unusually difficult time adjusting to life in high school and gives them the opportunity to get  comfortable before September. As a youth worker, this essentially creates the opportunity to get a whole years worth of relationship building and investment into the space of 4 weeks before the school year even starts.

Aside from that I will be helping out with a new drop in center, called the Hub. We work in partnership with a number of other community agencies to have a space where at risk teens can come to get medical resources, counseling, spiritual direction (that’s us), and a meal free of charge. It’s a great opportunity to build further connections into our community and to meet teens I wouldn’t have the opportunity to meet otherwise. I will also be spending time getting ready for our programs in September, spending time one on one with students, and lots of time in partner development.

Thanks for journeying with me,

- Jon Pue

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