Posted by Max
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New York City, The Big Apple, The City That Never Sleeps, and my favorite name, Gotham. Random Fact: Gotham is a nickname coined by Washington Irving. Gotham means Goat-town, and folk tales make it out to be a town of simple minded fools. I like it becuase Batrman wrecks every bad guy in it. My dad and I on our way back from La Republica Dominicana, had a 13 hour layover in this gigantic city. We landed at JFK Intl. Airport at 6 A.M. and flew out at 7 P.M. But we did everything in between.

What better way to start the day (haha that ryhmed) than a bagel and lox? Why a bagel and lox in New York, of course. We rode the subway from JFK to the World Trade Center Memorial and walked to the Backstage Deli on our way to Battery Park.
After walking around for a couple hours, seeing The Statue of Liberty, the Flatiron building, Grand Central Terminal, countless other subway cars, we saw a bunch of asians taking pictures of the butt of the wall street bull. It was way funnier in person. We then took the subway to Yankee Stadium, for my first Yankee game. 
We then took a walk through central park. I found a spot to hang up my SOCO hammock. We took a final subway back to the air port and left NYC.
 
 
The ministry of Young Life has affected our lives pretty profoundly.  And maybe not in the way that most people have been influenced by this ministry.  It wasn't until about 12 years ago that we even heard of Young Life.  And let's just say that we were many years out of high school.  In fact we now had these two little people who also had no idea what they were about to be exposed to.

All these years later, after going to camp work weeks, family camp, hosting weekly Club, serving on committees, going to lots of Young Lives Camps, helping put on banquets, and LOVING IT, we're still in awe of the way that YL does ministry.  It relational.  it's incarnational.  It's the way Jesus did it.  Of course It works!

Young Lives (Young Life's ministry to teen moms) has become one of our favorites.  (It could be the cute babies I guess?)  Being involved in this ministry has blown all my pre-conceived ideas about teen pregnancy to pieces.  Girls who choose life, and deal with the consequences are really the heros in these situations.  So many make other choices.  Do they still need the transforming power of Jesus?  Yep!  And we get the privilege of walking alongside them.
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mentors are my heros
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gratuitious cute baby picture
If you're familiar with Young Life camping at all, then you probably know 
Psalm 107:2 - Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.  

SAY SO. 

At the end of every Young Life camp week campers are encouraged to stand and SAY what the Lord has done in them during the week.  

To get the full context, Psalm 107:1-3 says:

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good!
For His mercy endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy,
And gathered out of the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.


SAY SO.

It's the highlight of the week for many weary leaders and tired camp staff.  To hear that all the work and energy spent has been used by God to redeem young people from the hand of the enemy.  We've been blessed to serve at Young Lives camp:    Teen moms.  Babies.  Mentors.  Crazy amounts of strollers and pack-n-plays.  And laundry, laundry, laundry!
Last year, as a family unit, we served at Camp Buckner in the hill country of Texas for 2 weeks.
Emily and Max both served in the dining hall at Camp Buckner.  Emily was a server and Max washed dishes in the PITS.  I may be biased, but my kids are HARD WORKERS!  We were so proud of them.  Our friend, Joy, from Tucson joined Emily on Work Crew.  So fun.
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Camp Buckner 2012
These kids were awesome.  They served their hearts out.
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Work Crew - Camp Buckner - 2012
With all those babies, there is a whole other camp full of adults and teens who come and provide childcare while our campers participate in all the usual Young Life games, rides and Club.  Those who hold babies and rock them and push a stoller around late into the night are showing Christ's love to a teen mom who may have little love and support in her life.

This year, Emily served as a childcare worker, first in Michigan for a week and then at Lost Canyon in Williams, Arizona.  She made friends with these lovely girls, who not only worked in the purple nursery with her but climbed a mountain with her - both physically and literally!  They came, they saw, they conquered!
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Lost Canyon - 2013
Classic Young Lives...Santa and crying babies.  Of course!
And beautiful girls with beautiful babies...and God doing beautiful things.