One week ago, I came back from a trip that gave me one of the best experiences of my life. While not only becoming closer with Christ, I got to know more about my youth group, my youth leader, and my pastor. Getting to go to the National LCMS Youth Gathering for the first time was such a blessing, as my two brothers, Patrick and Matthew, also got to join me on the trip.
The National LCMS Youth Gathering taught me so much about how to balance my faith life with my every day life. From going to the convention center and listening to speakers talk about their experiences to playing fun games with other Lutheran teens, there was such a wide variety of things to do. The best part to me about the Gathering were the mass events at night in the Superdome. It was so powerful to hear over 25,000 people singing, praying, and praising all for the same purpose: to celebrate Jesus! It was so special to me to get to dance as much as I wanted and sing as loud as I could, because that’s what Christians should do! Everyone had so much fun at the events at night, and that is one major part that I’ll miss as I wait for the 2019 Gathering.
The best part to me about the Gathering were the mass events at night in the Superdome. It was so powerful to hear over 25,000 people singing, praying, and praising…
Since it was my first time attending the Gathering, I had a general idea of what to expect, but the trip was even better than I could have imagined. It was so great to meet so many other Lutheran teens that were in one place, sharing the same faith and beliefs that I do. I really got to know a lot of people at the Mid-South District event, where youth groups from the Mid-South gathered to participate in a “casino night.” On casino night, I had so much fun playing games with my older brother Patrick, our DCE, A.J. Vega, and many others from our group and other youth groups.
This was actually the first Gathering that I and both of my brothers had ever been to, so it was cool in that way that we got to connect spiritually together. We’ve always been close growing up, so it was easy to talk on a spiritual level with Patrick and Matthew if we wanted to share something one of us had learned that day or a lesson that would be taken home with us.
One of the most important things that I learned at this Gathering was while I was sitting in a session called “Sex, Lies, and Identity Theft.” During this session, the speaker talked about how God takes us, even in the midst of our brokenness and sin, and still uses us for His glory. That was extremely powerful for me because sometimes I wonder who I’ll become and what I’ll do in the future. Listening to the speaker talk about her story and how God turned her life around made me actually realize that He always has a plan for everyone, so I was more at ease about that from going to that session.
As far as the National LCMS Youth Gathering 2019 goes, I can’t wait! The day I left New Orleans, I wanted to relive the Gathering all over again. I’m so excited for the next Gathering and I can’t wait to see what God has in store for me and my youth group over the next three years leading up to the next Gathering!
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Memphis