Our second day of the Multicultural Youth Leadership was packed with fun, worship, service, and learning.
After breakfast, we started out with “Jumpstart,” where the worship group “Ase” from Shekinah Chapel – an ELCA church in Chicago – led us in some incredible music to get us ready for our service learning project. (They rocked the house!)
And our very own Hope and Ngbarazere, helped lead us in dance!
Oh, and so did Jordan!
After Jumpstart, we hopped on a bus with a few other church groups to head to our service learning site.
Our group was assigned to work with the Prestige Learning Institute, which offers ESL classes and other skills classes to new immigrants and refugees in the immediate community. We ended up weeding and planting a community vegetable garden in the backyard of the home of one of the teachers at the institute. Refugee families from the institute will be able to work in the garden once a week and have free and fresh vegetables. Additionally, this garden will serve as a wonderful space for community building.
When we arrived, we were overwhelmed at how much weeding and work was to be done.
However, we got to work!
And made some new friends while doing so.
And despite the heat and the rain, we worked together and created a beautiful community vegetable garden! Shannon and her husband were so grateful for how much all of our hands could get done in one afternoon!
God’s work, Our hands!
After our work project and a little down time, we heard a really important story from Nomar, one of the MYLE volunteers who helped us with our service learning project today. Nomar is a college student in Puerto Rico, and he told us a little about what it’s been like as a Puerto Rican after the devastating Hurricane Maria.
Very little attention and media coverage has been paid to the stories of Puerto Ricans. So please listen to his story here:
After talking with Nomar, we did a little youth group bonding over dinner in the University of Houston dining hall.
Then we headed to the U of Houston’s Cullen Performance Hall for another night of amazing worship.
Today’s sub-theme at the Multicultural Youth Leadership Event was: One mission, many gifts (1Corinthians 12:4-11).
Rev. Patrick Gahagan reminded us:
“YOU are a gift because of who you are, not because of what you do. YOU are a gift, not because of what you do, but because you ARE.”
At the end of worship, we heard from the pastors and leaders of the Latin American and Caribbean congregations that are attending MYLE. They presented a beautiful dance:
After worship, youth met with their small groups and then we gathered together to celebrate Graciela’s birthday!
Then we headed back to the Cullen Performance Center for an awesome talent show. Although there wasn’t enough time for them to perform in front of the entire group, Steve and Ngbarazere did a private performance for our youth group:
Go Darth Vader! (Steve wrote this song on his own! We are so proud of you!)
Finally, we ended the night checking in with each other about our day. We were so grateful to have Kalleb (college student, MYLE volunteer, and former E.C.T. Youth Group member) join us!
What a wonderful and blessed day!
Listen to some of the day’s highlights from Maku and Xanath: