Yesterday I got back from the youth convention help in Waterville, Maine put on by Northern New England District Youth Ministries. It is basically a convention for teenagers to grow closer to God through worship and sermons from a guest speaker. This years theme was Dare to Dream and there were about 500 teenagers and leaders from Maine and New Hampshire This was my second year going and this year I traveled with the youth group from Crosspoint Church in Lebanon, NH. (Your fabulous TA Josh was also with us.) We arrived in Waterville at around two in the afternoon on Thursday. That night we had our first session which included worship and a sermon from the guest speaker who was Parker Dickerson. The first sermon was about Identity and how we need to find our identity in Christ and not in the people, social media, or the world.
On Friday we had two sessions, one morning and one night. In the second sermon, Pastor Dickerson preached on the fact that you have a purpose and your purpose is to point others to Christ. He asked a question that really challenged me. The question was “Is the life that I’m living worth Jesus dying for?” That question really hit home for me because I can tend to focus on my life and what I want, when in reality I need to be thinking about how my life reflects and points other to Jesus. After the morning session we had the National Director of Speed the Light, Erick Hoffman, speak to us. For those of you who don’t know, Speed the Light is an organization that raises money to help missionaries get the transportation they need to spread the gospel throughout the world. They work with organizations like Convoy of Hope and Free International. Erick spoke to us about how it’s not just about the money that we give, but we have to be involved in the ministry. He asked if there were any people who felt like God was calling them to be missionaries and about 34 kids stood up. It was amazing to see kids proclaim that to the entire world.
For lunch on Friday we went to this little deli that had the biggest sandwiches I have ever seen in my life. (I can’t give you the name of the place, because it’s our youth group secret.) Then we went back to our hotel and played the game Moffia, which if you have never played is the funniest game in the world. It involved the moffia, cops, medics, and a mayor.
Friday night was a big night for me in two ways: 1. That is the most I have ever cried in my life. 2. I was blessed with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. If you don’t know speaking in tongues is when you start speaking in languages you have never heard before and you have no clue what they mean. In Acts 2:1-21, it talks about how Jesus promised when he left that he would send someone to be with us and that is the Holy Spirit. When the disciples received the Holy Spirit, they began to speak in languages they didn’t know. The crowd who hears them thinks that they are drunk and crazy. Peter addresses the crowd and says this, “Listen carefully, all of you, fellow Jews and residents of Jerusalem! Make no mistake about this. There people are not drunk, as some of you are assuming. Nine o’clock in the morning is much too early for that. No, what you see was predicted long ago by the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days,’ God says, ‘I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on my servants-men and women alike-and they will prophesy. Acts 2:14-18.It was an amazing, out of this world experience that I was blessed with. It was also even better because one of my closest friends was also blessed with the Holy Spirit that night!
As you can imagine I was emotionally drained after Friday night, but my youth group still went and played in a dodge ball tournament from 9:30-12:00 at night. Probably not the smartest idea, but oh well. Last year we won this tournament, but this year we were too tired, dehydrated, and hungry. We were knocked out in the 3rd round. We didn’t get to bed until after 12:30pm.
On Saturday morning, the last sermon was from our new district director Pastor Travis who talked about dreams. There are three types of dreams: Unknown, Forgotten, and Stolen dreams. After we left the convention we all went to Cracker Barrel for lunch. On the way home the people in the 15 passenger van (which included me, my sister, and Josh) got stranded at Walmart when our tire went flat. While we waited for a new tire to be put on we all sat in Walmart on stools and ate cookie dough we had bought. Best dinner I have had in ages! We finally did get home late. Youth convention was amazing and I feel like I learned more about myself and Jesus over the weekend.