Monday, April 20, 2009

Jasper Speaks:

This weekend was SO LONG and SO GREAT! It was our senior weekend. We spent about 27 hours over three days with our senior class. This year we have been involved with a program called FLIGHT TRAINING. It is a way of celebrating the Senior year in youth group as much as a Senior year in high school. We have had a special Senior small group and have taken many different senior trips over this year. This has been great for unity and for getting to know the seniors better. This weekend we dedicated the three days of the weekend to celebrating them again.

First Friday night was our "Formal Dinner". It was billed as A Night of Elegance. The kids dressed up kind of like prom and came to our house. We had appetizers there and then took off for what was a great time. It was a progressive fast food dinner. Email me if you want more details. Here are some pics:

Saturday was not just a fun trip. We went to Carthage, Missouri and Navuu, Illinois. These are MAJOR places in Mormonism. We learned so much about Mormons. It was an amazing time. We took tours of the jail where Joseph Smith was murdered. We spent time in the town where he lived at the time and took a tour there as well. This was a very challenging trip for me. The people there were so committed to their beliefs. They are so deceived. It made me also have perspective on what unchurched people go through when they come to our churches for the first time. I felt uncomfortable and didn't understand all the things they talked about. I didn't know the song they sang. I didn't understand how they could be so emotional about something like their faith in this lifestyle they had chosen. I want to go back sometime when I can really take the time to listen and take it all in. I would love to go back when I better understand how my Truth relates to the lies of their church better. It was kind of a sad day. I prayed so much that the Spirit would touch these people, for the people there and that they would somehow find the real Truth. I am certain of what I believe and why. They challenged me to do so even more. There was nothing attractive to me about the lie they are selling. My spirit was disturbed and my heart heavy for them. They are all such nice people. Still, nothing we can do as mere humans can gain us salvation. We are saved by faith in Jesus and Him alone. I have assurance of my eternity. The Holy Bible is my ONLY guide. It contains all we need for life and godliness. I am sure of this. I pray those whom I met on Saturday will come to know the REAL Jesus Christ. Here are some pictures from that trip:

This picture is Kendra and some of our seniors sitting in the room where Joseph Smith was murdered. It was a sad time listening to our tour guide cry and speak so highly of Joseph Smith.

Then on Sunday, we had our Graduate Celebration. It was a sweet service. We honored each of our eleven Seniors. We will miss them when they are gone. Here is what I shared about each of them:

Class of 2009 This is your time …

Queene, you are such a joy. It has been great to watch you grow. You are certain of who you are and certain of the God who loves you. I am sure our Lord will take that confidence and change lives.

Kevin. You are so trusting. Sometimes to a fault. But through the joking and laughter, I see a trust in God that is enviable. You believe that if God says it, it is true and you can take it to the bank. As you pursue His plan for you, I am praying you never lose that childlike trust in Him.

Veronica, you are a real thinker. It seems like there is always a process going on in your mind. I see how you take things and think them through. Your caution and thought is a credit to you. God will bless the spirit that realizes that important things require deep deliberation.

Lindsey, your sense of humor is infectious. Your bright attitude lifts spirits and challenges me to remember that the joy of the Lord is really my strength. Let God use that ability for his Kingdom as you share that joy with a hurting world.

Aaron, you have a strong spirit. You are a first class young man who thinks of others and who has taken some difficult situations in your life and learned from them and have come out better on the other side. As you continue to grow in Christ, remember that in difficult times and times of rejoicing, His plan is at work. Let what God has allowed you to experience bring strength to people who are struggling.

Caleb, you are a young man of great talent and quiet strength. When I watch you using the musical abilities God has given you, I cannot help but sense his pleasure. God uses your music to touch people’s lives. I pray that as you continue on, that God will open many doors where your faith in Him, combined with the blessing of your talent, will draw men and women into deeper relationships with Christ.

Brianna, when people speak of you one of the most frequent thing I hear is how encouraging you are. You help people see that God loves them and that they have great worth to Him. Let God use that strength to help you remind others that they are bought with a price and that God’s plan for them is more than they can imagine.

Garrett, God has blessed you with an amazing ability to lead. People follow you and trust you. Not everyone has such strong qualities of leadership. Always remember who your leader is. Follow His direction and help others to follow Him as well.

Aly, your soft, sweet spirit is a blessing. You may not always be the most outgoing person in the room but you are a young woman of great depth. Your intelligence and artistic abilities are gifts that God has chosen to give to you. It is encouraging to see you use them for His glory. You represent the Master Artist well.

Ana, you are so committed to the things you believe in. No one ever has to wonder how you feel about something. You are willing to take a stand for what you know is right when others might shy away. More people should be as committed to their beliefs with the tenacity that you are. Take that confidence and show the world that the God you serve is real and the answer to all the questions.

Christina, you are a friend of God. You have a real relationship with the Lord that is admirable and evident. I am praying, that as you continue on this path, others will see that genuine relationship and be drawn to you and the God you love.

All of you will be missed in our Student Ministries but I speak for us all when we say that we cannot wait to see the way you affect the world for Christ

It was a bittersweet weekend. I am still getting over being tired but I love these kids and it was worth it all. God is good. It is amazing what God has done. On Friday I leave for our anniversary cruise. I am ready for the rest. The summer will be crazy. This class reminds me why I do what I do. As I return to work after the trip, I know God will bless our summer and all that He has to do for us.

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