To Lindsey Brown, Evie Gates, and LJ Hammonds, this is an open letter for you,
For the past week I have wrestled with the idea of writing you three an open letter. God laid it on my heart a week ago and until now I did not want to write this letter. Why you ask? I have never personally experienced what you are going through. I never had my senior year of High School taken from me due to a worldwide pandemic. With that being said I do feel as if God has laid this letter on my heart specifically for Lindsey Brown, Evie Gates & LJ Hammonds. My Seniors in Transformed Student Ministry. I hope and pray this letter will resonate with you during this difficult time. One thing I want you to know before I begin is that I love you.
I first got to have the privilege of knowing all three of you four short months ago. And while I haven’t known you three very long, we have been able to make many memories together and lots of fun. From our very first night making gingerbread houses, to riding up to Chillipepper! I have seen you all grow spiritually in the last 4 months and I praise God for that. You all three have very unique ways of leading the group. You all do it so well.
Lindsey, you lead more vocally with a caring and compassionate heart. You care deeply for all of our youth and they all know it. They all look up to you. You have been so kind and helpful to me since my first day at Hillcrest. Thank you so much for that. You have been in the Hillcrest youth group a long time, when September rolls around it will be hard to see you leave the group, but we will always be here for your. As your student minister, I’ll always be here for you. I can’t wait to see the plans God has for you. But don’t worry, your time in the youth is not over yet!!! P.S you can fish much better than me… lol.
Evie, you lead with a bright smile and warm personality. You are the first one to welcome first time guest at transformed and you always ask me how I’m doing. You lead with a selfless attitude. I want you to know that I see that and as your Youth minister I appreciate it more than you know. You love to laugh and laughter is contagious with our group. The entire group looks up to you. Your time in youth is still far from over. We still have a lot of time left. I just want you to know I appreciate you and I’ll always be here for you! Even when you graduate I will always be here for you no matter where life takes you.
LJ, you are my bro! You are one of the most humble students I have ever seen. You lead with example and a helping hand. I can’t tell you how many times Hannah and I need something done in the youth room and she says “just ask LJ, he’ll help us.” No matter what a person needs you are there to help and be an encourager. Thank you for being this kind of leader within our group. Thank you for being the awesome individual you are. Before this quarantine happened, you had planned on opening the gun range to take our Youth Guys and their dads out shooting. From personally being in our Guys only meetings, I know that they look up to you. I can see it. Thank you for being you and the man of God you are. I will always be here for you. But don’t worry LJ, your time in youth is not over yet. We still have time.
All three of you have impacted me more than you know within my first four months of student ministry. You three will forever be my very first group of seniors. No matter where you go I will have your back. Even if it’s 20 years from now and you just don’t know how to handle different storms life has. Trust me, I’ve been there. I call former youth pastors and mentors regularly. I’ll be there to answer when and if you may ever needed. I have also greatly enjoyed getting to know all three of your families. You all three have great parents and families that love and care for you. They have discipled, taught, and lived the Gospel in front of you very well. You ask how I know this? I have gotten to watch you all over the past four months and I’ve seen it in the way you all live. To me, it’s inspiring. Our youth group see’s it as well.
Things We cannot Change
We can’t change the fact that the corona virus happened. We can’t change the fact that all kind of activities within your senior year have been cancelled. Although we can’t change them Lindsey, Evie, & LJ we can control our response. God never promised us that this life would be easy or that things would always go our way, but he did promise us that he would be with us. He will never leave us. My heart truly aches for the class of 2020. I ache for you because of the things that didn’t happen when they were supposed to happen. I ache for you for all of the ‘lasts’ that you had without knowing it at Palmetto High. I’m not gonna pretend with you and act as if I know how you feel. Truth be told, I don’t know exactly how you feel. But I know for a fact that God does. He see’s your heart. He know’s your pain. God has allowed this to happen for a reason, although we don’t know why. Yet. But I can promise that I’m here to walk with you through this time.
When I think of the situation that you are currently going through right now I think of one verse in particular. This verse finds us all where we are at during this pandemic and crazy time of uncertainty.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”-Deuteronomy 31:6
Yes times are tough, yes there is uncertainty and fear, but we are commanded here to be strong and courageous! Even in the middle fo the storm! The Lord your GOD goes with you! The creator of the universe wants to walk with you through this time. The creator of the world wants to hold your hand. Transformed Seniors, are you letting God hold your hand during this time? Are you telling Him how you feel? Trust me, he cares! Tell him! Talk to him, he cares for you. He has got you even in midst of this adversity.
We cannot change or control COVID-19. But Lindsey, Evie, & LJ you can control how you respond. The entire world is watching the class of 2020 right now. Everyone on Facebook is posting their senior pictures from High school. Many are thinking about you in our church and within our student ministry. How will you respond? Will others see your faith, trust and obedience to God even in this time? I believe they will. I know I have already seen it in all three of you from afar. But will you continue to allow the world to see the light of Christ in you? Things are pretty dark at the moment within our world. Or so it seems. I want to encourage you to continue to shine brightly for Christ.
Lindsey, Evie, & LJ and I want you all three to know that I am here for you. I am praying for you. This letter was no easy task for me, I’m not much older than you are and I’m a sorry excuse for a ‘writer’. In fact I’m only two years ahead. But my age has nothing to do with the care I have within my heart. The prayers I’ve prayed for all three of you even into the late hours of the night. I hope and pray God will use this letter to minister to you and your families during this time. Not because I wrote it, but because God told me to.
I love you all, but our time in youth is not over yet, Lord willing we still have a couple of months. Always here for you. Transformed Student Ministry Seniors, this letter was for you.
Love and Blessings,
Transformed Student Ministry