Our main role on the Summer of Service programme is to serve the youth groups who come to YWAM San Francisco as a part of the Mission Adventures programme.
I’ll be honest and tell you that when they first arrived last week I had to mourn a little for our time as a small family of 15 serving the homeless. I resented them a little for bursting my very happy little bubble but after a day’s moping I got it together and began to see how much of a privilege it is to serve these kids (14-18 year olds) as they serve the city and see God bring transformation in their lives in just one short week.
It’s been a couple of years since I last did any kind of youth work so I was a little rusty at first and I had completely forgotten how tiring it is to be on the ball for 16 hours in a day but the groups in these first two weeks have been very kind and forgiving when we’ve gotten things a little wrong.
Both groups have been wonderful to work with: full of enthusiasm and bold as brass in their ministering. It’s so cool to see the change in them in one short week as God breaks their hearts for the people of the streets and opens their eyes to wonderful these people, whom they’ve always been told are worthless and ought to be avoided, are. They arrive in their vans shocked at what they see and petrified of stepping out of our doors again but by the end of the week they are desperate to get out there and meet people and tell them about Jesus. Their understanding of the world changes as the people in the Tenderloin welcome them and the business men on Market reject them. They leave ready to change the world but willing to start with their home towns.
And some of them come carrying heavy, heavy burdens. Disfunctional families, pressures to succeed, bullying, alcoholic parents, addictions to pornography, fears of the future, terminally ill loved ones. Some of them, you can see it in their eyes when they walk through the doors. Others, it comes out in the week. And still others can only reveal it in anonymous prayer request. And yet they give themselves completely to this ministry and in the course of it God does incredible things in them.