"You Saved My Life And My Faith"

Sharing my love for Star Wars with my kids

What a weird time to be alive.  The world has shifted and changed so much in just a few short weeks.  There has been an impact on each and every one of us.  I know that just in our close circle of people in our neighborhood there are some that have lost jobs, others that are living in the midst of uncertain family dynamics, those that are obsessed with the latest conspiracy theories and everything in-between.

There is a lot to grieve.  There is a general sense of feeling a loss of freedom.  We simply can’t do all the things we wish we could do.  This is particularly difficult for our kids, who faced canceled sports, plans with friends, birthday parties, opportunities, routine.  I don’t know about your home, but ours has been filled with a lot of tears as a result.  Then, just when we were starting to sort out a new normal, we were asked to add schooling into the equation.  What an absolute comedy of errors that has been.  Each day can feel like an eternity.

Yet, in the large scope of things we have so much to be thankful for.  We have a chance to be together more than ever before.  We are playing more games with each other.  We are being more active. We are preparing more unique meals.  We are reclaiming old hobbies and starting new ones.  It will be interesting to look back at this time and think about all of the good things we learned.

But as a youth worker I know that for some of my young friends, home is not a place of safety, security, and stability even at the best of times.  Each day I am hearing things that break my heart.  In the past few weeks with my youth, I’ve walked with those struggling with suicidal thoughts, those that are dealing with their parents splitting up, or those that have to split time between different homes.  I’ve talked with youth that a fearful due to their own compromised health, and those that don’t have enough money for essential items.  For many youth, school is their only place of structure, purpose and the resources to survive.  That is why I spend so much time in those places.  It really puts my own situation into perspective. It is a hard time for all of us - but for them this event is devastating.

I want to thank you all who have continued to support me in my work during this time.  With government assistance and your care, we have stable funding until July.  What happens after that is anyone’s guess - but I’m glad to be able to offer more support for youth, parents, community groups, churches, and youth workers.

Each week I’ve been hosting online art tutorials which are being used across Canada, have co-lead a daily nationwide prayer meeting, connecting daily with youth for boredom busters and online support, I’ve recorded videos and written articles to help challenge others how they can continue to love and serve others during this time.  I’ve consulted youth workers, school districts, city staff and churches across Canada on how to continue youth work safely and effectively. I led a workshop of caring for LGBTQ youth to international Christian leaders and I continue to lead a weekly spiritual discussion group with youth and young adults.  That last one is a highlight as I’ve worked with many of these youth for years and it is amazing to see them developing in life and faith.  One young person shared her story this week and she said something that encouraged me and I wanted to share it with you.  As partners with me on this journey - this is as much for you in your role as it is for mine.  And it is a reminder that we are making an impact together.

“I don’t know if I would be breathing today if it wasn’t for you and the others at Youth Unlimited.  I’m pretty sure that amidst that super dark time I had in early high school, I would have died. Meeting you guys at YU really pushed me to be myself again.  You saved my life and my faith.  Not only am I alive, but my standing with Jesus is way different than it ever would have been without you showing me what God’s love looked like. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay you for all that.”

- Danny Ferguson

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