Teenagers need support. They need an adult in their life pointing them to the only thing that will satisfy them….a relationship with Jesus. For most teenagers, no one in their life fills that role. As they face daily pressures from peers, parents, and culture, often nothing encourages them to grow in their faith. Some simply feel unsatisfied with what the world has to offer. Many feel hopeless which leads to depression.
Here in Bellevue, there is a group of young adults (and some who act and feel young!) that build friendships with students to point them to Jesus. They are groups of Young Life leaders at Interlake HS, Bellevue HS, Newport HS, as well as at many of our middle schools. They go where kids are…to their turf…and build the friendship and trust of teenagers with the hope of introducing them to Jesus. Whether a kid wants to follow Jesus or isn’t interested, they keep caring for them.
One of those kids recently graduated from Bellevue HS. Outwardly, you would think Alicia had it all: a nice home, nice clothes, good grades and even a boyfriend. On the inside, Alicia was lost. Her parents were fighting and eventually divorced. Her boyfriend made her feel pressured and judged. Her friends were all getting straight A’s. It seemed impossible to keep up. She felt like a failure while watching her family fall apart.
Alicia came to Young Life camp after her 8th-grade year. It was the first time she had heard the gospel shared that made sense to her. She says now that it was the “bridge” she needed from hearing about Jesus as a small kid in bible stories to making Jesus matter in her life now. Along the way, she met a Young Life leader who befriended her at camp. That leader wasn’t just in Alicia’s life for a week in the summer. They both came home from camp and the leader started to text Alicia, call her and invite Alicia out for coffee or to just hang out. As their friendship grew, so did Alicia’s understanding of who Jesus really is. That happened because her leader modeled the love, caring, compassion and pursuit that Jesus offers all of us.
As Alicia went through the challenges of high school, she had a Young Life leader by her side. Wrestling with anxiety in school and the heartbreak of divorce, there was someone pointing her back to God’s Word and her relationship with Christ. That long-term friendship of a Young Life leader was the difference between Alicia having a great week at camp, versus having a meaningful relationship with Jesus that sustained her life.
Young Life is a Christian organization that introduces teenagers to Jesus Christ and helps them to develop a Christian way of life through activities that contribute to their academic, physical, social, and spiritual growth. Young Life offers summer camps which are often a teenager’s first experiences hearing the word of God. Young Life is in need of more volunteer camp leaders due to the popularity of their camps.