The other day we were studying Mark 10 in our Tuesday Bible study with street-dependent young people. There were 20 people in the room. I needed an ice breaker to help create a trusting environment before we began. I thought of asking of a time they had felt welcomed and to name the person who made them feel that way. Some ice breakers are easy but they started laughing and saying they couldn't do it. I encouraged them, but they insisted that they felt welcome nowhere.
I asked if anyone could think of a time they had been welcomed and tell us about the person who had been welcoming. One young man put his hand up. "The pastor at Lake Hills Church. He makes me feel welcome when I go there." OK. It was possible. I asked if we could go around from there in a circle, naming someone somewhere who had made them welcome. It didn't matter how long ago it was. Slowly they began. I heard about cub scout leaders. I heard about a lot of pastors. I heard about a teacher or two. I wiped away tears as I heard about people who had welcomed them. They remembered. It had mattered.
I pray there will be more welcoming of these precious children of God. I pray that many will leave the flock and go to find lost sheep. I pray that many a party will be thrown when the lost return home. I pray that we will all be changed by the journey together.
Where do you feel welcomed?
"To know, love and serve street dependent youth."
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