Jon's February Update

After our Wednesday night programs

Friends and Family,

The other day I was talking to a young friend of mine before his class started. I have gotten to know him over the last year and a half during my time at Walnut Grove Secondary. He has a lot of different things working against him which causes him to not sleep for more than a couple hours every night. He recently got a support dog and has seen a vast improvement in not just his sleep, but in his overall health as well (which was something we got to celebrate). All this to say, while we were chatting he noticed the bags under my eyes from tiredness and, being well versed in lack of sleep, he began to give me tips on how to start sleeping better. It warmed my heart to see him showing care in this way, especially since he is someone who generally doesn’t care about anything. That and the role reversal of him trying to help me - one of the many cool things I get to be a part of by being a daily presence in his life.

This season has been a bit harder for me, not emotionally or spiritually, but demographically. I have found that the students I am working with are more difficult - they require more patience, attention, and a longer timeline. They are not the typical “at-risk” students. They are the students who don’t really fit in, the ones who are forgotten about or slip between the cracks. It is more mental issues that I’m faced with; more loneliness and lack of support networks. At times I want to be more connected with at-risk students because, quite frankly, they’re easier to work with. They’re more open and honest and willing to try new things to improve their overall health. Not so with the guys that I’m currently working with. Instead I find myself showing up day after day, having similar conversations and not necessarily seeing anything happen. It can be discouraging to put in work and time and feel like I have come up with next to nothing.

I had a moment of encouragement recently during an after-school club that I have participated in with some young guys that I regularly connect with. One of the youth had not attended school that day and chose to open up to me about why he had been away. He shared about a family member, whom he admires, who had a health scare. It had shaken him a bit, but I was able to be there for him because I am involved in his day to day life and have invested time and presence in order to earn his trust to be included in these tougher moments.

Some good news to share and celebrate with you all - as of January 1, I received enough funding to be working full time this year! I am truly blown away by the number of people who stepped up to help make this happen with end of the year gifts. Kirstie and I are truly blessed to be supported by a community such as ours. Thank you for being in our corner for life and
ministry - we are better with you.

Thanks for journeying with me friends and family.

Until next time,

Jon Pue


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