June 30 Updates! ELCA Youth Gathering!

Howdy from Texas!

Today's theme is God's hope changes everything! This morning our group gathered at breakfast and reflected on the road to Emmaus text. You remember... disciples thinking Jesus is dead and gone walking along the road to Emmaus when suddenly Jesus "shows up" on the scene. This encounter with Jesus obviously inspired hope.

We spoke about how we bring hope to people. Our youth felt like extending an open and welcoming presence in the world brings hope into lives. Hope that a person feels welcomed and belongs somewhere. Hope built on the truth that a loving God has created you and loves you and so from one of God's kids to another... you belong and are welcome. I challenged our team this morning to find a person they don't know and to really get to know them more than just a name and where they are from.

Then we went off to the interactive learning center... think expo or farm show. There are a lot of fun offerings for our youth like rope courses and games but there are also great educational booths set up. In one of these booths we took a virtual reality tour of a village in Africa where the ELCA is helping people in developing agricultural diversity.... here's the awesome connector. ... if you remember during Lent the UPG collected offerings to purchase goats... we got to experience a place where goats are shared with our sisters and brothers in Christ living in Africa! Powerful! And all of a sudden Bethlehem PA and the people of the UPG don't seem so far away from the people of Millawe village in Africa!

Hope received by us in our relationship with God and in relationship of our new community of faith and hope shared by us with people who receive goods from the ELCA farming initiative really does change everything.Peace to you all Pj

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