“You guys are amazing! You guys are like……you are like Jesus!”
This is the response my team received as we served up fresh, hot pancakes to an apartment of schoolies youth at Byron Bay. We spent a week there volunteering – a week full of amazing experiences and provoking conversations. We connected with young people on the street as they waited in line for a club. We hung out on the beach under a bright full moon and talked about faith. Walked people home safely and cared for them as they vomited in the gutter. We were able to share Jesus – but more importantly to live out Jesus’ values in the way we served and breathed and moved. And it caused these young people to think… Who does this?
Who loves with no expectation of personal gain?
Who sits in someone else’s vomit just to comfort an intoxicated girl?
It sounds a lot like Jesus, really.
I met a girl early during my week in Byron Bay. We talked on the foreshore under a bright moon looking out over the calm dark ocean. She is here for schoolies week with her friends and is loving every minute of it. As we chatted I realised that she was sober, unlike a lot of the young people around us. She was keen to learn why I was here volunteering, why I would pay to help others. I talked to her about valuing people because God values them and she nodded quietly in agreement.
The next morning we knocked on an apartment door, ready to make pancakes for hungry young people. The same girl answered the door and her face lit up to see my team. As the pancakes were being cooked, I helped her clean up the balcony outside and was able to swap stories about our adventures while travelling. I shared on Fiji villages and she talked about Indian slums. For an eighteen year old she had already seen a lot of the world and was moved with compassion for others. As we left there I quietly prayed that God would be stirring her heart to know the creator of the people she was hurting for.
My final night in Byron Bay we were caring for people on the foreshore when I spotted a familiar smiling face in the partying crowds. I knew this might be the last time I would see her and so I hugged her goodbye. And as we journeyed home the following day i prayed for this girl. I thanked God that I was privileged to be a part of her journey, if only for a few days. I prayed that she would find Him, and it would change her life forever.