Hey YM Nation,
I am Estevao Yu, and it is my honor to write my first blog post for awesome youth workers. Thank you for serving with all your heart in the youth ministry because YOU MATTER to the students.
Every year, I struggle to bring the right balance of local and overseas missions for my students to serve during the summer. After careful prayer, I wanted to equip my students to cultivate a heart that will always seek to serve with their two hands. The inspiration came to me when I was listening to the song With Two Hands by Jack Johnson; it made me want to go out and help others everyday rather than just for the summer. So how do we ignite the students’ hearts to keep doing missions work in their daily lives? I would like to share 4 ways of how we can serve with two hands:
1) Use two hands to open the Word: It is very difficult to get students excited to do mission work during the school year. Usually the students look forward to summer missions. It wasn’t easy to get a group of students to do local mission work within their community during the weekdays or weekends. I tried to bribe students with food and outings, but the only way I was able to win their hearts was with the Word of God. I gathered them to open up the Bible with a list of verses that would help them to understand that mission is a life calling.
2) Receive with two hands and a thankful heart: In my Korean culture, it is very important to receive things from an adult with two hands. Especially on New Year’s Day, we have a tradition called “sae-bae,” where the children of the family will bow to our elders at home and wish them a life that is healthy and full of blessing in the New Year. In return, our elders would give us a white envelope with cash. I remember one incident, where my grandma refused to give me the envelope, because I didn’t put out my two hands to show my thankfulness. I believe that after God moves our hearts to see the need to do mission work, it is important to remind the students to give thanks for the opportunity to be used by God for His great work.
3) Put two hands together for prayer: As our students give thanks to God for the opportunity to do mission work, I would encourage them to start praying for teams, missionaries, and prayer supporters, as well as the mission site. I really see the individual students uniting when their hands are held together to intercede in prayer.
4) Lift two hands up to give Praise to God: Many of my students, after being lead by God to go on a short or long mission trip, struggle greatly with finances and priorities. Because of this, I wanted them to see that God cares for their needs as well. So, I wanted to encourage them to take a step of faith with this attitude: “Sacrifice is giving away what it hurts to give. Sacrifice is not giving according to your ability; it’s giving beyond your ability.” (David Platt, Radical). There were lots of financial hardships among my students; however, I was proud to see the students take a step of faith and experience how God provided the finances through mission support letters, recycling, tutoring, and opening up their piggy banks. I also witnessed my students prioritizing their time by balancing school, extracurricular activities, mission training and family gatherings. It is these kinds of experiences that really make our students lift up two hands to give Praise to God!
Thanks for loving teenagers,