Monday, October 1, 2012

My weekend in West Virginia

Pam and I spent the weekend in a cabin in West Virginia where the leaves were already bright orange and where the temperature forced us to wear long sleeves all day. Somebody else prepared all of our meals for us, and the entire three days didn’t cost us a penny. Oh, and we shared the cabin with 23 high school seniors from Burke Community Church, and Matt Watson was in charge.

Matt invited us to come along on his “senior retreat” weekend and to lead this group of kids in a Bible study. At first, I was hesitant. It’s been quite a while since I spent a weekend with teenagers. I’m so glad I agreed to go. A few observations:

I’m not sure what the cause is, whether it’s a result of so many of the students being from military families maybe, but these were 23 of the most well-mannered teenagers I have ever been around. I never heard one rude put down, never saw one example of the insensitivity that teenagers are so famous for. Indeed, there was almost an atmosphere of tenderness about these kids. Whatever the cause, it certainly speaks well of their parents, and for them as individual human beings. Very impressed. The Bible study went well. The kids seemed totally engaged with the topic ( grace ), and volunteered many amazing insights that had me half convinced that I could have learned a thing or two if one of them had taught the subject. Amazing.

The most gratifying aspect of the weekend was seeing Matt Watson interacting with his students. When Matt was part of the youth group here at Grove all those years ago, I could sense that there was something unique about him, that he was destined to do great things. Now, he’s the father of two little ones, and hip deep in teenagers at a vibrant church in northern Virginia. One would have to travel far and wide to find someone so happy in his work. Matt found his calling in youth ministry, and it radiates from his face. To see a young man so committed, so fulfilled in such vital work was an inexpressible blessing. He serves along side another equally impressive young man, Kenneth, who teaches the college kids at Burke, as well as an amazingly hard working volunteer, Doris, who was in charge of feeding us all. With that kind of quality help, even I could have pulled off such a weekend! To see one of my favorite kids of all time so happy, so effective, and so squarely in the center of God’s will was something to behold.

Thanks for the invite Matt!