It’s been a while since my last post and I have been all kinds of busy.
This summer has been a tremendous experience. It has been a time of fun and laughter, a time of challenge as well as encouragement.
Ultimately it has been a time in which I have been inspired by others.
I have spent the majority of the summer surrounded by teenage young people.
That is normally the case for some of my summer as in my job as a Youth pastor we tend to do something in the summer for a week or so.
This year we had a 5 day trip to ‘Soul survivor’ (a christian based festival/conference for young people) and together with 2 other churches took 50 or so teenagers camping in the rain in Staffordshire.
2 days after returning from this trip I was leading a team of 19 people, including 15 teenagers to Moldova for 11 days to partner with local organisations in running holiday clubs in the villages, and to do some refurbishment work on a playground in an orphange.
We first got the coach from Lancaster to Heathrow at 10pm in order to get us there for 4am in time to get a 6am flight.
We then flew to Vienna and had a 3 hour stay befor flying to Kishinev in Moldova.
In total the trip would take 22 hours therfore it would be 36 hours between getting up and going to bed.
It was a life changing trip that I will explain more about in future posts.
Throughout the summer I have been inspired by those that I have been in contact with.
We all have those people that inspire us and who make us want to be better but this summer for me was a time when I was constantly inspired by those around me.
As a “leader” or in my role as a ‘Youth Pastor’ there is an expectation to empower and inspire others and I seek to do that as much as I can, but I often find that it is often I that am being inspired by the young people that I work with.
This summer as I have shared in happiness and laughter and in the tears of struggle I have found myself being more and more impressed by the people the people that I am sharing those such moments with.
I look around at those people on the team, those who I work along side week in week out. Those people who give up their free time (and their holidays) to serve and invest in the young people. Without these people I couldn’t do what I do. WIthout their support and their skills it would all look very different. I find myself driven on to be better by the attitude of these people. They genuinely seem to love what they do and their actions consistently display a selfless attitude as they use their time, money, skills and resource to serve others.
Whilst in Moldova I met for the first time some truly inpsirational people. People who again gave all that they have in the service of others.
I met people who were surrounded by poverty and corruption and rather than sitting and complaining about the injustice they chose to stand up to it. These people chose to go into the poorest communities in order to make a positive difference. Many of these people had moved their and their families lives, often from other countries to position themselves to be in a position to influence. I found myself on many occasions standing back and looking at these people with appreciation and sometimes I just wanted to applaud. I didn’t as it may look weird to have a big, sweaty, beardy man following you around clapping. I looked at myself and how often I look at situations and frown and even show empathy and I pray for a solution. Sometimes we have to become the solution.
I love my job! I will tell anyone that will listen, it really is an honour and a joy to get to do what I do for a living. Part of my role is to inspire and empower young people to be all that they can be. I aim to help them realise their potential and support them in the fulfillment of that.
As time goes on I find that they consistently and frequently do the same for me. The way they consider one another, the way they face their fears and step out of their comfort zones and do so with a smile or a joke. I find myself moved by their desire to take opportunities and to be part of something that is bigger than themselves.
During the summer I have watched as I have seen some of these people put aside their personal struggles, doubts and fears in order to serve others. When I have found myself frustrated with a situation the voice of reason so often comes from these young people. When in Moldova and dealing with heat, lack of sleep, sickness, change in plans and the fact that most of them had never done this before the attitude on display was outstanding. It was an attitude of focus but always with a smile.
I wasn’t impressed and inspired in the patronising way of “They showed a great attitude for young people”. They showed a great attitude, full stop. I was proud and encouraged to be part of such a talented and motivated team.
Look around you today and look at who inspires you.
Look at the people that you come into contact with and look at what they do that encourages you, what they do that makes you want to applaud (at least on the inside).
Identifying good character in others is not an admission of our own weaknesses but merely celebrating things in them individuals that resonate within us.
As well as seeking to inspire others, we should seek to be inspired by those around us. If you are not inspired by those around you, then maybe you need to surround yourself with some other people.
Have a great day
Inspire and be inspired.