Written by Kayla Power
Summer Camp 2017 was when our high schoolers first began to learn about the overwhelming depression, the deep confusion about who God really is, and the surprising disunity between churches, that other kids just like them struggle through every day in Northern Ireland. While we wore our American flag, celebrating July 4th at Summer Camp, our youth also wore the Irish flag. As we sang worship songs, opened up our Bibles, and experienced life change through incredible speakers and authentic group discussions, we also prayed for the youth in Ireland to have a similar opportunity.
God has been preparing the way for the High Schoolers of Central Christian Church to bravely fly across the pond and join Him in His work in Northern Ireland since before CIY MOVE 2017, but it was that week that our students committed to raise support for the youth there to some day experience their own CIY MOVE camp. Saying "yes", is almost never easy. When the Lord first prompted me to go on a short term missions trip in High School, I struggled to make it happen. I was convinced that I was not "good enough" to make any kind of difference. I was worried about leaving my younger sister alone. I feared that I would be able to raise the money. I suffered through my parents disbelief in me; they were convinced that it would all be a waste of time and money. Never the less, I said, "Yes! I'm scared, and I really don't know why You want me, but here I am, use me!"
My life was never the same. That short trip is where I first learned that I could actually be used by God, not in the way that youth pastors and parents teach their kids, but in the way that only God could reveal. It was that week that I learned how to hear His voice and walk in His ways, I learned how to care about what He cares about, I was forced to get outside of myself, outside of my school, my family, my city, my country even, and I came to find out that, it is ALL about Him. His people. His world. His gospel. Some "yes's" to His promptings are harder than others. Saying "yes" to marry Kyle was scary. Saying "yes" to full time ministry was scary. Saying "yes" to move across the country to join hands with a bunch of strangers here in the Bay Area was scary.
We have been here 17 months now and I am well aware that this Bay Area culture is one drenched in business, people are saying "yes" all the time, to so many things, I'm sure you feel it, but I am curious, when was the last time you said "yes" to a scary prompting from our Father? When was the last time you said "yes" to something that forced you to trust Him more, that demanded you to hear His voice and walk in His ways? God cares about the youth in Northern Ireland no less than He does about our youth right here in San Jose and that is why we must go. He calls us to go and by going, He prepares us to live more missionally right here at home.
We desire for our youth who profess Jesus to be their savior to experience the kind of discipleship that changes everything, as close to the way Jesus discipled as possible. The first step for each of His disciples was to say "yes". They had to be willing to get up, leave where they were, and follow Him. There is always a cost to being a part of His mission, but we know that the cost for these kids to not experience the deep challenging excitement of walking with Jesus is greater. We life in a post Christian world today not because no one believes in Jesus, but because not enough people are willing to say "yes", get up, leave _________ (we all have something we do not want to let go of safety, family, money, reputation, etc.) and follow Him.
D. Reginald Thomas, one of my favorite authors, writes, "Too often Christians focus on the appeal of Jesus Christ, His sweetness, His tenderness, His compassion, but there is also the demand of our Lord Jesus Christ." I am excited for our students who are saying "yes" to experience discipleship in a new way, for our parents who are saying "yes" to get uncomfortable in sending their kids and having Jesus meet them right in the middle of it, to remind them that these kids, the ones in San Jose and Ireland, are all His.
I am also so thankful to each of you who are praying for us as we put together our team and begin training and raising support.