Miracle Growth by David Packard
My wife Alice and I nervously awaited the arrival of the first Spirit Journey Youth leadership team from New Mexico. We had been given some cultural sensitivity hints and some expectations of this week long training. Three boys and their youth minister Kaze were sleeping at our house and I was going along with them as their vocational mentor.
This meant that I gave them a context on what to expect when we visited industries and businesses and then kept my mouth shut while the CEO’s and company employees told them what to expect in getting a job. Then I could lead a discussion afterwards on what they had learned and answered any questions.
I was also honored to be present during their tutorials as they learned how to hold reflections, teach a concept, plan an event and prepare a budget.
Alice and I didn’t know what to expect when they walked into our home. They were quiet, respectful and very cautious. I was told that it would take some time to gain their trust.
We were blown away. The first conversation we had in the house was on activities of God they encountered in the car ride to Colorado. Their insights on noticing people in need, in being involved in trying new things, and in being rooted in their own tradition were not like any other teen age conversation I had ever been in.
We were asked to join in and I felt our comments were shallow and godless. They affirmed us and everything we said. I felt like our roles were reversed and I was learning about God from them and not the other way around.
It only got better. Every day, they looked for what was profound and what was sacred. By the end of the week I felt we had a mini seminary in our midst. Their minds were so attuned to what they were learning. God and secular things were not divided in their minds. They saw sacred things everywhere.
By the end of the week, we were family. We had shared so much with each other that we were cemented in steel bonds of friendship. They shared their poetry, their writings and their paintings freely.
When asked what the highest point of the training week was, one young adult says “It was at the Chinese Restaurant. We were laughing so much and teasing each other that others were turning around to see what was happening. I think I saw envy in their faces. We were so comfortable with each other and so happy even though three of us were brown and three white.”
That says it for me. The longer we talked and studied together the more our minds were focused on what is important. We loved the week. We love them like sons. My dream for them is that they reach for the sky. They have such goodness in them that I want everyone I know to meet them.
The miracle growth was in Alice and me as we overcame our hesitation of connecting with another culture and found ourselves blessed.