We have had a good time at the National Youth Conference (NYC) in Fort Collins, CO. Since the time we left the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference we have biked for two weeks straight to make it on time to NYC. We were glad to make it to Fort Collins, CO for a break and also for the privilege to be able to attend the conference. We stayed with many families up until this point, and that too has been a wonderful experience!
The major theme of the conference was “Called by Christ, blessed for the journey together.” I saw Ted & Co. (Ted Swartz) share some of his experience with loss and pain through his play: Laughter is Sacred Space. Watching Ted share his story through acting was so powerful to me. Ted seems to me is a very strong person to continue this work and show his vulnerability through his acting. I was overwhelmed with his honesty and his ability to share some of his pain publicly through a play.
I also attended a workshop by Paul Ziegler’s parents. Paul was a young college kid who went to a Church of the Brethren college-McPherson College. He was killed in a bike accident. His parents are so strong to continue to work through their personal pain and be able to heal through sharing their son’s dreams and story. Paul wanted to bike across the country to raise money for world peace. Folks have been “…inspired by Paul’s vision, refusing to feel powerless against an often violent world, we saw that we can and do make a difference; one step, one pedal revolution, one person at a time .” I wish I could have met Paul-I think we could have gotten along!
I have really appreciated meeting folks at the conference that have had the courage to share their vulnerabilities, along with their openness to share their personal pain and struggle. All of us have some kind of pain, and to be able to hear others pain and struggle has helped me heal in some way too.
There is lots of hope out there! It’s exciting to meet inter-generational folks that have dreams and are going for it. Let us continue to love and walk in the ways of peace that Jesus calls to to do!
May we walk with each other as we travel down this road, joining hands as we cross to the unknown wherever we way go.
Lots of love your way,
*Quote for under Paul Ziegler taken from http://www.brethren.org/news/2013/campaign-brings-healing-to-elizabethtown.html
Words in italic come from the theme song of NYC: http://www.brethren.org/yya/nyc/documents/2014/blessed-for-the-journey-sheet-music.pdf