‘Blessed is he who is kind to the needy.’ Psalm 112:5
If we listen to the whispers and complaints in our society about teenagers, we may come away with a tainted view of them. We will judge them, find fault, blame, mistrust. But our teens are our children, grandchildren, the kid next door, the paper boy. They are everyday people who just happen to be in that place called ‘growing up’.
I was blessed to have just served on a mission trip consisting of 39 souls, 15 of which I would call teenagers and young people. Most are, or have been, part of our church’s youth group. They are sweet kids, and they have always been fun to be around.
I was one of the women who was assigned to ‘watch’ some of the girls. This means simply to room with them. This was mostly a safety issue. We traveled in our ‘rooms’ as well, so that all were easily accounted for. As I shared a room with them, I was reminded of time spent with my daughter and her friends when they were ‘growing up’.
They were not bad in any way, just untidy sometimes, and laughing when I wanted to sleep, or slow about getting ready in the morning. I am not complaining about my ‘room’. I loved it, and I got to know them so much better than I did before.
But what stands out to me, with the little bit of inconvenience some of the ‘room mothers’ may have experienced, was watching these kids in action on the mission field. Put them in an orphanage with 40 little kids, and be amazed. They were laughing, playing, and communicating with the children, even with the language barrier. They took pictures of each other, played games, and just horsed around. The kids simply flocked to them. At the same time, the teens were courteous and obedient to the adults and missionaries, always being respectful and kind.
We went to a school where we were to practice English with the students. The teenagers once again excelled at making friends, taking those first steps to building relationships, gaining immediate trust from the children and the teachers. They answered questions, they asked questions, they conversed. They played games with them, and the cameras were once again in great demand. They went out to the area where the children had their recreation time, and we saw them playing soccer with scores of kids. All were laughing, kicking, running, having fun while sharing love.
I never saw a teen causing trouble, being disrespectful, or damaging property. They were model mission minded people, that’s what they were. They were there showing the love of Jesus. They were just as mission minded as any of us, blessing people in another world.
‘Jesus said, “If anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.” ‘ Matthew 10:42