I had a blast at Student Quest yesterday (our Sunday morning student hour). One of our guys going into 12th grade is away at basic training this summer; he enlisted, does training this summer, returns for school, then begins service after he graduates. Intense!
Anyway, we haven’t seen him much the last year, which is a bummer. What completely surprised me is that he actually wrote the youth group a letter; while in training they don’t have phones, internet, texting, etc., so he’s pretty cut off at the moment. In the letter, which was amazing to read, he talked about how challenging training has been, the church he’s been plugging into – and how that has had him missing us. He closed the letter with an invitation for anyone who wanted to to write him.
So we did.
We took the last fifteen minutes of the hour to do a Letter Blitz. Tons of colored paper, envelopes, markers and pens, with the simple instruction to write a note, let him know we’re praying for him and looking forward to seeing him back in the fall. For those younger students who don’t know him, I told them to keep it short, let him know we prayed for him, and draw a picture or write a verse or something. All in all, I was really proud of everyone’s response to the task, and later this week his mailbox is going to be swamped with over sixty letters. I’m hoping he really feels the love.
It’s not an original idea; it’s the second time we’ve done it here in my three years. I love doing it because of my youth pastor. When my family moved to Bolivia during the summer before my tenth grade year I was devastated. I missed my friends, my church, my town. I felt out of place, disconnected, and absolutely homesick. And then one day my mailbox was crammed with dozens of letters – everyone at my boarding school was buzzing, it was unheard of for someone to get so much mail at one time! Even though I didn’t know everyone that wrote, it was a treasure trove of love, encouragement, and the greatest gift I could have received at that point.