The Hope of Youth – The eyes of a child often portray a hope that adults find impossible to resurrect. Today, I saw hope in the faces of children, hundreds of miles from my home in Detroit, Michigan. The youth I met, as part of a mission observation trip to Guatemala, are from a remote, mountainous region. Many of the youth live in two room homes with mud-based walls and metal roofs. They walk or find a ride in the back of trucks with day-laborers for in some cases, up to an hour and a half- and that does not count for some of the children another three or four hundred feet from the road to their home in the dark. These children are the students of the Jabel l Tinamit Spanish School. These youths are accepted to the school on a competitive basis. The owners of the school are a husband and wife team, Candelaria and Gregariou Garcia, who began poor and found hope through education. In their own way, for the last twenty years they have provided Spanish language classes online to individuals from America, Europe and other countries. Many of the youth who benefit from the school are of Myan descent. The children we met today are poor, but full of hope. They travel on Saturdays from the mountains to the school with a burning hope for a better future. Today, after a set of welcoming exercises, that I am going to try out on some of our small group setting with my congregation back in Detroit, our delegation of twelve persons were folded into a Mayan cooking class where we learned how to make tortillas, chicken with a sauce made of nuts, peppers, tomato and more, mole sauce over fried plantains, and vegetables. I let several of the children take my camera to take photos of our cooking class. Over the years, when traveling in foreign countries, I take the camera off my neck, find a willing child, give them a crash course on how to hold the camera, compose a picture and push the shutter release button. The children today were just like children I have met around the world. The photos for this blog post were taken by one of several children at the school. As I considered the eyes of these children, I was struck with their sense of hope. They come from an incredibly poor background, but they were enthusiastic, energetic and full of hope. I asked what happens if they stay too late to hop a ride back to their villages. I was told that sometimes several of the children will sleep on the couches in the library of the school. Craig Orr, and his wife, Connie, who are members of the church I pastor, the Plymouth United Church of Christ in Detroit, have been telling me about this mission of hope and love. They are leading our Guatemala Mission Observation Team. You can learn more about this mission at www.friendsofforma.org Pray for us and pray for the children of Guatemala who are so poor, but full of so much hope. Psalm 139: 13 For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well.  Questions for Reflection:
- What are your thoughts about the hope of youth?
- As you have aged, has your hope increased or decreased? Why?
- How does your faith inform your hope?
- What are the elements that create hope?
Prayer: Lord, even as I l grow in years, help me not only to maintain hope, but to increase in hope. Liberate my soul, that I may develop a growing sense of hope. Build my faith, so I might believe in your grace and divine providence. As the future draws looms ahead fill me with ambition, courage and hope: hope for a better day, hope for a brighter future, hope for tomorrow and the best life possible. Through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior I pray. Amen. Written by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III Photo by the children of Jabbal Tinament Spanish School Additional Prayers Photo and Meditations from Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at https://nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.com/ More about the ministry and mission of Rev. Dr. Nicholas Hood III at www.nicholashoodiiiministries.wordpress.org And www.puccdetroit.org  The Holy Bible: New Revised Standard Version. (1989). (Ps 139:13–14). Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers.