02 Jul National Youth Gathering Blog: Day 4
We started the day off quite early, but it turned out alright since Sarah was waiting for us at the bus with the largest amount of donuts I have ever seen. We then made our way to Galveston Texas which was about an hour away, but didn’t feel long at all due to the interesting conversations everybody was having with one another. When we got there we met four elderly individuals at a church who talked to us about their hometown and the experiences they have had from living in Galveston their entire lives. They have gone through so much within their hometown, such as environmental issues, but they never left because of the memories they made and the fact that God was calling them to stay. They have also gone through a lot within their church, such as five different pastors and many different congregation groups. Listening to these people share their life stories was so interesting and uplifting. Hearing what things were like when they were young is so different in comparison to how things are now. After having a chat with them we drove down to the beach which was so much fun, seeing everybody so happy and having so much fun playing in the water made my day. Sarah then came up to each of us and blessed us with the ocean water. After staying at the ocean for a while, we went to an all you can eat buffet that had every type of food you could imagine. They even had a soft serve ice cream machine where we could make our own ice cream cones.
Today was probably the most bittersweet of days as it was our last day in Houston, but it was one that was filled with God’s relentless hope. With the theme of this changes everything, the theme of today specifically was that God’s hope changes everything.
After a lovely buffet from Golden Corral, which Josh was very excited about, we made our way back from Galveston to Houston to join other youth at the interact center. Here we explored booths that addressed how God’s love does not discriminate, and it most certainly will go to every human being on this earth he gave us. There was one station that had beads to make bracelets, but there was a twist. At this station you added a bead for each statement that applied to you, so you could really see just how privileged you actually are. It was really good for me to take a step back, and realize how truly blessed I am. Later that day, me and some others were tired, so we rested, and had conversations about failed hope and our hope for the future. This conversation meant a lot to me as I heard stories about how when hope fails and seems lost, all you can do is hope some more, and trust God’s hope to help guide you. It was at the mass gathering that evening that the message of today really spoke to me and changed my perspective on hope. Hope is a tricky thing, but it is now something I understand better due to this gathering. Hearing tragic stories of those who have been plagued with bad fortune, I realized that having hope is vital for human survival. We humans live for hope, whether it’s hope for a better job, better friends, or a better well being, hope is what motivates us to be better, and better the community around us. Whether we realize it or not, God’s hope is all around us, even in the most unexpected scenarios. God’s hope inspires us to progress to a better tomorrow, and God’s hope gives us something to live for, fight for, and pray for.