Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Clash of The Teen Culture

Guest Writer Tonia Bryceson

 Guest Writers Rob and Tonia Bryceson 

Tonia is my wonderful friend who pretty much plans and makes sure our homeless feed meals go off each week with out any problems. She plans the meals, buys the food, schedules the workers. I keep telling her she needs to write a book about feeding the multitudes. 

 Pastor Rob Bryceson


Rob Bryceson the pastor of our church wrote the article that follows and I wanted to share it with all of you. 

I am blessed by the spiritual leadership and friendship of both Rob and Tonia. It is a pleasure to serve along side them as we endeavor to reach our corner of the city with the love of Jesus.


A Clash of the Teen Culture

  On Sunday January 22nd, a group of high school students associated with Mt. Spokane High School’s Young Life program came down to our church to help cook and serve a meal to the homeless.
These students were fantastic workers and were totally taken back by how kind and thankful the homeless population turned out to be. Salvation Army had recently dropped off a bunch of blankets for us to distribute so we put one brave young man to work walking through the crowd and asking who needed a blanket. He beamed as he felt the pleasure of God distributing the needed goods. Afterward he said that he felt both elated and troubled. “It was great to be able to help and I could tell they really appreciated it, but it also felt so small. Like a single blanket wasn’t much compared with all the need they really had”. We agreed, but many times that’s where it starts; the food and the blanket build trust, the trust builds confidence, which leads to an invitation to deeper talk, and many times that deeper talk leads us to Jesus.
The Young Life leaders were all former or current students at Whitworth University, dedicating their lives to making a difference in the youth culture around them. Usually they gathered to build relationships, have some recreation, study the Bible, or talk about Christian ethics. This particular day they chose to add a service project for the poor to their schedule. They found us through a connection with Young Life from Ione, who have been coming down for month’s now.
The students and their leaders came out after serving the food and sat among the homeless, talking and sharing stories and learning what they could of life for those on the edges of society.
The most touching moment came when two young runaway girls who are
fellow students from a different high school, came through the line to get a meal. The two runaways had come to our meal last week for the first time and felt bold enough to attend church earlier that morning. They had been kicked out of the last church they tried to visit when the wandered over to the lost and found table and rummaged through the apparel left there. It was a huge step for them to try church again. One of them informed us that they wanted to keep coming to church. “I went to your prayer loft area during the service and asked God to come into me and take over” she said, “And you know what? I really felt him! It was like he was right there with me and I could feel his warmth and love. I’ve never felt that ever before in my life”, she beamed.
We couldn’t help but notice the contrast of youth culture. On one side of the counter stood high school students deeply loved by their families, living in secure homes, planning on going to college, active in after school activities, offering their service to others out of their affluence and privilege. On the other side, two high school runaways, neglected and abused by their families, fighting to stay in school, living in poverty and hunger, comforting their own pain with drugs or alcohol, gratefully accepted the meal and scurried off into the gym to eat.  Both saying later – “I felt God here today”!

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