We kicked off our new Vocational Placement Program or the VPP as some like to call it, myself included, with a rafting trip up the McKenzie. Our entire staff went up the river to send the VPP team off and lay out expectations for the summer. After talking with some of the youth who are a part of the summer intensive track about their time on the river I was reminded just how important it is to get away and be removed from current circumstances. To be given time to learn how to dream again.

One youth had said to me that they didn’t even think about smoking once. That usually they just wander around most days and smoke because really there isn’t much else to do with friends. So to be up there surrounded by just water, seeing the sun, and being busy rafting, eating or talking together they didn’t even need to smoke.

The same came for our first work service project day. The youth worked hard for 4 hours straight and not one asked for a smoke break until we completed all of our work tasks. We started and ended the day in fellowship together over a meal. We had some serious cleaning tasks before us: emptying lockers, sweeping them out, cleaning them, sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning out freezers and refrigerators, pantries, scrubbing toilets and bathrooms head to toe, organizing shelving and rooms, the works! And each of the youth killed it.

I truly feel honored to work along side these incredible young people. One of my favorite things is sharing a meal at the end of the night with summer intensive youth as well as those youth who are part of the vocational placement track who currently have jobs. After a day of work they get to come down eat together, get other needs met and be in fellowship with one another! As I don’t get to take part in days such as these much anymore I was savoring every moment of it.

This past week we talked about fear. What we think fear is, what we are afraid of and the ways in which fear manifests in our lives: worry, anxiety, depression. As we talked together about this idea of fear we were able to talk about Jesus. That God sent His perfect and sinless Son to die for our sins on the cross, who rose again, defeating death and ascended into Heaven. And that if we choose to believe and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior we are no longer bound to fear because we now have achieved the goal of our faith; the salvation of our souls (1 Peter 1:8-9). And because of that we have nothing to fear.

1 Peter 2:17 says, “Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king”, because we know that God is the only true judge and avenger. If we choose to fully believe in Him and put our faith and fear in God alone then Psalm 23:4 takes on a whole new meaning:

“Even though I walk
through the valley of the
shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff,
they comfort me.”

If the only thing we have to fear is God and we choose Him, then we have nothing to be afraid of.

Karri Tinnes
Director of Operations

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