In This Together

Roland meeting some youth

After a recent night of programs, my coworkers and I sat around a camp fire to debrief. With it being October now, the cooler weather gives us an excuse to pull out the propane heater after all the dust has settled on the busyness and craziness of the evening.

It had been a full night to say the least:
-A group art project
-A yelling, cursing, chasing match between two teenage girls
-My car getting toilet papered by my kids from Grove
-A talk about grace for teens who have experienced none
-A bad anxiety/panic attack
-Tons of laughter and fun
-3+ hours of bus driving around Langley getting teens home

Like I said, a full night. However, not entirely unusual.

Often our program nights can leave me asking ‘what just happened?’, as if a wind storm just swept me up. Over the course of the night it feels like my role adapts depending on who I’m talking to. With Brendan, I’m a big brother. With Alex, a safe caring male in her life while all the others aren’t. To Lanna, a voice of experience when talking to an irrational boyfriend. With Aden, a father figure and mentor. With Simone, someone to connect her to counselling and old church youth leaders. To Sansa, a new friendly face willing to meet them where they’re at. With Cam, someone to give him food for lunch who doesn’t usually bring any to school each day. And after it all, a bus driver being told to turn up the music approximately 6543 times in the space of an hour.

All of these things equal my job as a youth worker. Sound emotional and exhausting? It is. But that’s where teamwork comes in. As the campfire light went out, I was reminded of this. We share laughter together at the crazy moments of the evening. The moments that are ‘normal’ for us until you step back and look at it from someone else’s eyes. We share together in our hurts and heartbreak for the girl who has no one and looks in all the wrong spots. So when it’s tiring and emotional I know that I’m lucky enough to fall back on the immediate support of my team and further more onto all of you in my corner as well.

How lucky am I to be able to serve with a team who loves and cares about the teens in this city as much as I do? Thank you, Lord, for sustaining us and motivating us in this.

Thanks for journeying with me and for sharing in this reflection with me.

Peace to you and your loved ones,

Jon Pue

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