As I’m sharing my heart to what brought me to go to Uganda and my journey along the way, I figured I should share a huge part of my life, Young Life.
I was never really involved in YL in high school. I might have gone to a couple big events a year, but that was all. I never connected with any of the leaders. It was not because they weren’t awesome, but because I already had wonderful leaders through my youth group (hello Mrs. Laurie, Lindsey, Mrs. Tracy, Mrs. Allison, Roxanne, Mrs. Oakley, and Mrs. Worsham). To be honest, I did not understand the purpose and the goodness of YL. What I didn’t realize was that not everyone had the support and love that my leaders were able to give me while growing up.
First semester of freshman year, I was not set on becoming a YL leader. It had run across my mind since one of my high school friend’s family friend is a leader here at Samford (hello Abby and Maggie). It was not until rush did not go as planned, and I chose to be independent, that I seriously looked into YL. I wanted something to be involved in. So, I joined club lacrosse and started going to YL leader training. I soon remembered why I never really did sports in high school and realized lacrosse was not my thing, but YL continued to be more and more appealing to me. I learned some kids feel unlovable, and need people in their life to come where they are (physically and emotionally / spiritually) and just love on them. Before I knew it, I was going through the interview process answering questions about my favorite jokes and how I was led to be a leader. (My favorite jokes are dead baby jokes, by the way. I know, they’re awful, but apparently not awful enough to not minister to kids). A couple of months later, Marra, Neilly, and I were sitting right next to each other. We were the only leaders who had yet to be placed and the only school left was Mountain Brook Junior High School. We joined Julia, Byron, and Collin, and could not have been more excited.
I have been able to see God work in so many ways I did not know was possible. I can see why I ended up not joining a sorority because I would have not thought twice about joining YL. Being placed on a team with a girl who I almost roomed with and another girl with my name (because of this, I am known as Reid to my YL friends) could not have been a coincidence. I now have a wonderful community around me – the main thing I was looking for coming into college. Whether it’s after a game night or a bible study, I come out feeling loved. Everyone I have met loves God with all their hearts, and everyday they show me what it looks like to live a God centered, selfless life. Being
challenged and pushed outside of my comfort zone has allowed me to grow and has impacted my faith in ways I did not think were possible. I’m in awe of God’s grace and providence all the time. Whether it is accepting grace for other peoples’ actions or my own, or having girls show up to an ice cream date or paint war when we thought no one would come. Being able to minister and reach out to these girls has made my heart incredibly happy. I never would have guessed becoming friends with MBJH girls would bring me so much joy. With new leader placement just last night, I cannot wait to see what will happen next semester with our new members. This year has been nothing like I expected it to be, and I can only start to imagine what God has in store.
I could not imagine being on any team other than MBJH, and would not want it to be any different. Seeing other leaders follow God’s calling, either in the community or across the globe, has led me to discover my own calling. I have learned I love to serve others, and wish to continue to do so in Uganda. Without Young Life, I would not be where I am today, ready to serve and minister the people around me, and I am incredibly thankful for everything YL has brought to me.
It is in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for.