Written by Michael Pollock, LIT and Teens Volunteer
When I started volunteering with Teens Adelante 7 years ago, I did not have experience in teaching or mentoring and I felt a bit inadequate to do the job I had signed up for. Thankfully, the staff and fellow volunteers showed me how to lead as we served the youth of KCK. One of the first teens I met was Daniel Garcia. He was quiet and didn’t give off a very welcoming vibe to those he didn’t know, but I could tell he was a deep thinker and took his faith seriously. As our friendship developed, I saw Daniel grow into a hard working young man with love and loyalty for his community and ambition for his future. So, when I found out that he was joining the staff in August I was very excited to work side by side with a guy I once tried to teach. These last few months have been a pleasure as I get to see Daniel help lead Leaders in Training and Teens (even bailing me out when I was struggling during a lesson).
Recently on the LIT reward trip to Great Wolf Lodge, Daniel led the devotional time. It was an ambitious topic: Job and the problem of evil. One of the most memorable moments was when Daniel straight up questioned his ability to teach the lesson. As he struggled to find to words to continue he never gave up and we ended up having some of the greatest discussions I’ve seen with the kids. One of the kids asked the theological bomb “Did Jesus die for Satan’s sins?” Later I remembered how Jesus told us to love our enemies and I realized there was more love in her question than in any of our answers. Many of the kids thanked Daniel for pushing through his discomfort and his example was a microcosm of the greater discussion which helped me form a take-away from the night: God allows us to go through difficult times not so we can earn God’s love, but so we can learn God’s love!
My understanding and experience of God’s love has been deepened by my time at Mission Adelante; not just by the fun times with good friends, but through the difficult times as well. Even in the many uncomfortable moments I’ve had trying to lead the youth, (an experience I can now share with Daniel) God’s love gives us the grace to lift each other up. In this world we will have trouble, but we, united as the body of Christ, can overcome it. Just as Daniel was always patient with me, the young Leaders in Training helped Daniel overcome his self doubt.
Mission Adelante's Arts Community needs a few more volunteers to teach guitar and keyboard to kids! No need to be an expert. If you enjoy playing a few chords/notes on either instrument and would like to share that ability with others, fill out an interest form at www.missionadelante.org/arts.