December 2012 - Vol.  64

Thomas (second right) and Gappers with YouthWorks-Detroit
Learning to Love 
by Thomas Ryan

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, ďLord, thank you for this new day. Help me to be obedient, kind, and respectful and to always tell the truth.Ē  These words echo in my head every day I spend in Detroit. My family isnít perfect (Whose is?), but we love one another. We fight and argue Ė I am quite good at it (ask my parents if you arenít convinced) Ė 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 Ė and I know itís cliché but I wouldnít 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. Itís 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 canít 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.]  

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