Unless a Kernal of Wheat Falls…


Working with youth is unlike anything else that a person can experience.  Working with youth is sorta like being a youth—it’s either sublime or traumatic.  Even though my job is primarily in administration, I also get to experience some of the sublime moments…  Seeing teenagers experience the Presence of God in the midst of intense praise and worship…  Watching kids praying with each other for healing…  And kneeling at the altar, weeping with young people as they meet Christ and feel His love for the first time…  There’s just nothing like it and I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. 

But then, there are days like today…

This morning, I learned that over the weekend, we lost two youth from our Conference.  One, a teenage boy, had recently beaten brain cancer.  The other, a 22-year-old girl was set to graduate from Bible college in 7 days and who had just returned from a semester in the mission field in Africa.  Both of them were killed in car accidents this weekend. 

These two kids are not kids that I’ve met personally, though most of my staff know them.  But the sadness hit me as though they were two of my own.  And for a moment, I just wanted to pack my gear and say, “Lord, I can’t handle this.  If this is what it means to work with youth, then maybe I don’t have what it takes.”

My blog friend, Billy Coffey, recently commented to me about making a list of “Things to Ask God” when we get to Heaven.  This will be on that list. 

Today was a tough day for a lot of people.  There are broken hearted families and devastated youth.  My heart goes out to them and my prayers are certainly with them.  In praying for them and in asking God how to deal with this in my own heart, I came to a decision: I’m going to trust God to do something through their lives even now that they’re gone. 

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. – John 12:24

This is one of the times that the answer isn’t obvious or easy.  I don’t understand why young people die—especially young Christian people.  But I have to believe that God can still use them for His purposes.  And that’s the hope that will carry me until I meet God face to face.

On a lighter note…

I’ve got “youth stuff” on my brain lately and I suppose I should warn you that it’ll probably be this way on and off through about September.  By May 15th I’ll have something like 800-1,000 youth camp registration forms on my desk at work.  On June 11th these 800-1,000 kids will begin flooding into the little town where I work.  I will be their official hostess and will spend the rest of the month of June with a cell phone on one hip and a walkie-talkie on the other, giving out hugs and nametags and advice (though not necessarily in that order).  And taking them to Urgent Care if they crash on the skatepark or turn up the pressure on their paintball guns too high.  If the past serves as any indicator, I will probably work somewhere around 200 hours over that three weeks…

As soon as I finish with youth camp, July will arrive and I’ll spend a weekend packing up a 16-person medical mission team.  On July 5th we’ll hop on a plane at RDU Airport and head south to the Dominican Republic.  Over 8 days, we will probably see somewhere around 1,500 patients.  We will also be doing children’s ministry and evening crusade services.

Now, I don’t want you to think that I’m complaining.  I promise I’m not!  This is what my May/June/July is always like and I LOVE it!  And it also makes for some very fascinating blog fodder!  I’ve already started receiving prank threats from my camp staff…  And there’s a decent chance that I’ll get to post some blogs directly from the mission field—which would be WAY cool!  So, you’ll definitely want to keep an eye on this blog for the next couple of crazy months, because you just never know what’s gonna happen when you work with youth. 



About Sarah Salter


  1. Barbara says:

    I love camp and kids… thats what has kept me young. LOL.. But, I so long to see a “Strong” move of the Holy Spirit in these camps.. I remember seeing my own boys, crying, praising God, and being slain in the Spirit… And I hope those days aren’t gone.. Granted I haven’t been to Youth Camp in a few years, so I hope that the kids going now will definitely experience what mine and many of their friends did. Yes, we don’t know why God takes good kids, or good people for that matter to be with Him.. We just have to trust that He is in control and thats all that matters.. And by the way, I have one of those lists too.. But somehow, I don’t think we will get to ask.. But how knows.
    Love ya Sister Sarah,

  2. Very sad news about the kids….I am sorry to hear about it. Please send my condolances to your church/their familes. Is there anaddress I cansend a card to? You can just facebook it tome.

    Sorry, by the way, my space bar isnt working well anymore. LOL

    I think it is amazing that you are going to DR again! My Mother in Law, Linda, goes to DR every couple of years., I have to admit, I wish I went on mission trips again. I miss it. I miss helping others….where I can’t necessarially understand them, but we still both understand each other. 97 was a great time in my life. I think it is time to step up and step out. It is time to get something done for the Lord. Even if my mission trip is across the street….it’s time to go…..

  3. Eliza Garrison says:

    One thing I Know is this: John 10:10 (NLT) The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give life in all its fullness. Amen! Many times in our grief, and pain, we blame God for things we don’t understand. We forget we live in a fallen world and we have an adversary his name is Satan. On a lighter note, God is Love, and whatever we don’t understand ask, seek, and knock and the God of peace will give you understanding!

    Love Ya always,

  4. Yes, this one will have to go into my list, too. So sorry for your loss, and prayers for you and the families involved.

  5. Neal Salter says:

    Eliza’s right. When we don’t fully understand, all we can do is trust. Sarah, I came across some old notes today, I believe are from Hobbs. “The answer to prayer is always greater than what we ask; and the answer is only part of what we’re asking. Answered prayers are only in process–they are not complete on this side.” I too am sorry for the loss of these two and what they might have been. But, I can also believe that God can use what they were to be what they might have become.

  6. It is so hard to try and make sense of this world sometimes. And so mostly I just don’t try to make sense of it. Just trust that God is God no matter how horrible, crazy, wonderful, sad, or ridiculous things may seem.

Speak Your Mind