30 Days of Stories: Day 14
To celebrate our 30th anniversary, we’re telling 30 stories of God’s faithfulness in and through Fellowship North. You can read all the stories here.
I love teenagers. I followed one to Fellowship in 2006. Our youngest son, Daniel, was getting ready to start his senior year at NLRHS. Like so many of NLR’s youth, he went from one church’s youth activity to the next, depending on which youth group had the best thing happening. He and our older son, Ben, were involved in our own church youth activities, but often accepted invitations to go places and do things with Fellowship’s youth group. They always came home with stories of great adventures at Castle Bluff, deep and meaningful lessons from LSD camps, and faith-strengthening worship on Wednesday evenings.
Daniel began attending Sunday School at our church, then dashing over to Fellowship to worship with his friends (girlfriend!). Often, he would encourage us to come with him, saying the teaching and worship were somehow different and, to him, more meaningful than anything he had ever experienced. Larry and I talked about it. We prayed about it. I struggled with it. We had been active members of the same church for over 20 years! We weren’t unhappy and both of us were involved in lots of programs offered by the church and we had such dear friends there. I remember feeling unsettled and anxious at the very thought of moving to another church. At that time, our pastor had retired and the church was searching for his replacement. That eased my conscience just enough to decide that until we had a new pastor, I was off the hook. I wanted to be in church with Daniel during his senior year, knowing it could be the last season we would have the privilege to share church with him on a weekly basis. So, we followed him to Fellowship. And we’re still here.
Not long after we came, Bobby Harrison asked me if I’d be willing to cook for a Discipleship Camp. I’m so glad he couldn’t see me do the happy dance that overcame me! I love to cook almost as much as I love teenagers! The idea of getting to do what I love for those I love thrilled me.
Since then I’ve been blessed to feed our youth at all sorts of camps and retreats. I have so many memories and stories from those experiences. The young people involved in those camps and mission trips are amazing individuals. I’ve seen them reach out to each other, rally together to overcome obstacles, befriend the friendless, surrender their hearts to Jesus Christ, and stand firm in their faith when it wasn’t easy.
Last summer when our teenagers went to New Orleans to minister to kids who still suffered from the ravages of Katrina. I witnessed how incredibly good and strong teenagers are.
The kids in New Orleans that our church went to serve were skeptical. They had seen other groups come and go who had not loved them. We were told some previous teams had been cold, distant and even racist. Due to that, these kids did not welcome our teens with open arms. It was hard. The New Orleans kids pushed back against them, tested them, and shut them out. At the end of the first day, our youth were discouraged.
As each new day dawned, I watched our teens love on those kids until they knew our teenagers loved genuinely. On the day we left, I saw those who were strangers just days earlier, clinging to each other while tears trickled and promises of staying in touch were made.
I followed a teenager to Fellowship. I’ve been blessed to lead our young people through various activities and to work shoulder to shoulder with many of them. What I’ve learned is that they are strong and capable and trustworthy and compassionate and faithful. They won’t be leaders someday; they’re leaders now. I followed a teenager to Fellowship. Thank you Fellowship for investing in our youth.
Today’s story is by Kathy Fluharty.
Kathy has been at FN since 2006. She’s married to Larry, and they have three grown boys: John lives in Orlando, Ben lives in Sherwood, Daniel lives near Denver (Arvada). She’s a “stay at home daughter”, looking after her dad, Tullio Jacuzzi, who lives with them. She likes to feed people good food. She finished Culinary School in 2011, and enjoys crafts, sewing and being creative.