Story by Laura Lehman Amstutz
From July 21-Aug. 11, 27 youth explored their sense of call and God’s work in the world through the Learning, Exploring and Participating (LEAP) program at Eastern Mennonite Seminary.
Now, 10 of these youth will take their exploration farther in a year-long mentoring program called “LEAP 365.”
In the past, LEAP has primarily been a three-week summer program for high-school youth. They come to Eastern Mennonite Seminary for a week of training provided by seminary professors, followed by travel to another country in groups of 9-10.
LEAP 365 will help these young persons continue to explore their call through an intentional mentoring program. It will also include further exploration of their call through a second summer of mission work or a pastoral internship.
Mentors and youth will meet twice a month to talk about call and vocation and other faith topics.
“We want youth to continue to grow after the summer experience,” director Marvin Lorenzana said. “Mentoring is a way to help them continue to explore their gifts and grow in their faith.”
“During LEAP we had a lot of quiet time and journaling,” said Charise Garber, 17, from Lancaster, Pa. “I hope to keep up with this, since it’s a good way to reflect and take time out for God.”
Gregory McFarland, 16, from Philadelphia Pa., said, “I know if I continue to listen to God’s voice I can’t go wrong.”
He said he hopes his mentor will continue to challenge him and help him grow in his faith walk.
This year, LEAP participants traveled to Guatemala, Trinidad and Mexico in three different teams.
“It was challenging to travel outside the country without my family,” Garber said. “I’ve been in different cultures with my family before, but this time I was traveling with people I had just met.”
“Through LEAP I learned that we are all in God’s favor and that through God all things are possible,” said Joseph Gary, 16, from Newport News, Va.
For more information on LEAP365 visit www.leap.emu.edu/leap365 or contact director Marvin Lorenzana at (540) 432- 4697.
Laura Lehman Amstutz is a regular contributor to The Augusta Free Press.