Submitted by Alanna Davis Epiphany
For the second part of our reflection series on the 2022 LCMS Youth Gathering, we reached out to NOW District participants to share their thoughts on the Gathering and how it impacted their youth and adult leaders. Enjoy these stories — and don’t forget to share your own on the NOW District Youth and Family Ministry Facebook Group!
“At the 2019 gathering, I cried because of what I was leaving behind. But in the 2022 gathering, I was crying out of joy for what I was taking home. Beautiful, isn’t it?”
This was the text I received from one of my youth shortly after the concluding Wednesday service at the Youth Gathering. It was a touching, genuine, and tangible sign that all the effort, planning, and time poured into the Gathering experience was worth it. We had several youths – who had grown distant from Christ over COVID – find their faith rekindled and rejuvenated. We had several kids brand new to our group that connected on deep, meaningful levels with their fellow youth in a matter of days. We had an incredible adult team, supportive, flexible, and Christ-centered. Beautiful, indeed. Beautiful are the feet that bring the Good News, and during this summer in Houston, thousands of kids heard and experienced that Gospel message. The “In All Things” Gathering was worth every ounce of time, money, and effort, and St. John of Vancouver, for one is incredibly grateful to every staff, volunteer, church, and member who helped make this possible. – DCE David Schrampfer, St. John’s, Vancouver, Washington
We had an incredible trip to Houston, Texas for the LCMS Youth Gathering! Our group of 18 high school youth and nine adults had a fantastic time worshiping with 20,000 other Lutherans! While there, we spent a lot of time digging into the book of Colossians, where we learned that God is truly in all things! Our group attended some great speakers who helped our youth wrestle with how to deal with many of today’s issues through a ChristianLutheran worldview! Below I have added some quotes from our youth sharing their feelings of our time at the gathering. – DCE Taylor Stichler, Trinity Lutheran Ministries, Bend, Oregon
Chloe K.: “I loved traveling to Houston to be a part of the National Youth Gathering. It was very life-changing, and I wish everyone could experience how eye-opening it was!”
Caden C.: “The gathering was an awesome opportunity to talk with people from all over the country and get closer to those who came with you.”
Jadon C.: “My experience at NYG changed my thinking! It was great to see everyone sing songs together and worship, I had many chills! The sessions that I went to helped me look at others in a different and more loving way. I also got to sing in the choir which was an amazing experience.”
Jackie Druckhammer and I (Alanna Davis) were so blessed to serve as your co-District Coordinators for the 2022 Youth Gathering! Throughout the whole process, we saw God at work in the planning, communicating and finally in-person interactions with all the groups who stopped by to see us at the NOW District Booth, found us at the GRB and at the Tri-District Event. My favorite part about the Gathering is always seeing how the Spirit moves our young adults through the theme in Bible studies, Mass Events, speakers and interactions with each other and that was just as prevalent this year as ever before. Even when the Devil tried to hurt us, discourage us and make us feel separate from each other, God made all things work for His good!
We want to give a heartfelt “Thank you!” for all of the supportive emails, texts and messages we received in the course of this experience and to say how much we enjoyed getting to know our fabulous NOW District Youth and Family ministers over the last year and a half! May God bless your ministries as we go into the fall and look forward to more opportunities to share with young and old how Jesus is IN ALL THINGS!