Thomas (second right) and Gappers
Life for me right now is about re-learning
to love and trust. I believe that there is always room for growing in love.
And we can grow in love for the rest of our lives. At this particular time
of my life I am trying to regain something I once had, or at least reach
a certain standard of love which used to be present in my life. My
time here with the people involved with YouthWorks-Detroit
has helped me regain this mindset of love.
I grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota
in a household where the only thing that was more important to me than
my siblings and myself was our relationship with God. Every morning we
started the day off with, “Lord, thank you for this new day. Help me to
be obedient, kind, and respectful and to always tell the truth.”
These words echo in my head every day I spend in Detroit. My family isn’t
perfect (Whose is?), but we love one another. We fight and argue – I am
quite good at it (ask my parents if you aren’t convinced) – but we really
do love each other. At the end of day we all know that God has blessed
us as a family.
My last three years at home disrupted
this environment of love as I took on a selfish mindset of pity for myself
as well as the thought that I could struggle on my own without God or my
parents or anyone else. I found myself in many a dark spot but my parents
were persistent in their love for me – and I know it’s cliché but
I wouldn’t be anywhere, especially here in a good Christian environment,
without them. One night after a big argument with my dad as we sat in the
living room, he mentioned that he knew I was destined for great things.
What he said that night really hit me, and as I spend more and more time
in Detroit these words are motivating and have even more meaning to me.
During my time of service in Detroit
the Lord has been showing me many things. The most important I feel is
trusting in him and serving with steadfast love. It’s not always easy,
obviously, but I have learned to do it. Due to the struggles and challenges
that serving in Detroit entails, I realize that the only way I can make
it through each day is to recognize my own helplessness and my need for
God and the desire to love which he puts into my heart. Through this admittance
of helplessness God has given me grace to continue to have a desire to
serve and to rely on God for everything in my life. I can’t exactly tell
you what I am going to do next month, next year, or the rest of my life,
but I do know that God will show me the way and make his will known.
[Thomas Ryan, 19, is from
St. Paul, Minnesota. He is serving in Detroit with the Kairos-North America
Standing in the Gap program. Thomas first served in Detroit through a one-week
urban encounter during the summer of 2010, and God brought him back for
a second stint of serving in Detroit. Thomas loves jesting (banter), social
situations, living with those unique individuals known as the Servants
of the Word, and has an as yet unrealized gift for teaching.]