Bethany is 22 years old, a college graduate, and (welcome to adulthood!) she is underemployed. So, as she was lamenting her underemployment one day over Chinese food, I wondered aloud, “Why don’t you come on the mission trip with us?”
She said yes.
The insurance company didn’t squawk about her being under 25 (thank you, Jesus!), and the dates worked out with her boss. On July 8, off she drove with one of two vans full of youth to Los Angeles, California, where she did her small part with rest of us to serve the homeless there.
I crabbed at her a little bit. She didn’t mind (too much). The youth crabbed at her a lot. Sorry, Bethany, I forgot to warn you that they’d start treating you like, well, a parent. I thank God she was there the evening she kept her calm with a recalcitrant youth when I was ready to book the kid a flight home. These are the great gifts adult leaders offer one another on such trips.
Beth has lots of questions about the faith and probably even a few doubts, but, here’s the thing: she hasn’t given up looking for the answers. What more powerful witness to the youth than a young adult who hasn’t given up on Jesus? I can’t think of one.
Lots of things are wrong with American Christianity, but a lot of things are right, and Bethany is one of them.
Here’s the group in a parking garage at the Santa Monica Pier. Look closely at the young woman kneeling at the bottom of the picture. That’s Bethany, pretending to lick Zac Efron’s nipple. Gotta love it.