The face of joy


Today, I'm linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker‘s Five Minute Friday. The rules: Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.

This week's prompt: Joy. 

Joy Photo

In the dead of winter, teens from my youth ministry delivered a Welcome to America pack to a refugee family from Ethiopia.

A few weeks later, as part of the 30 Hour Famine, my teens hosted an event for the refugees in our neighborhood. As part of this, we revisited this family's apartment and specifically invited them to join us for an afternoon of fun.

This family – who arrived in the United States with nothing – welcomed my teens into their apartment with open arms. They served my teens tea before then bundling up and braving the cold in order to walk with them back to our church, where the event was being held.

Once there, one of my teens sat down and began interacting with the two little girls from this family, neither of whom spoke any English.

They sat at a table and made Valentine's together. As they did, my teen tried valiantly to explain what Valentine's Day was to these two girls. Little did she know, not only did her new friends not know what Valentine's Day was, but they also didn't know what glue sticks were. For kids born and raised in a refugee camp, these items were completely foreign. 

Throughout the day, the fact that these little girls were overwhelmed by a place wherein everything was new was evident on their faces.So, too, was the look of joy that came from discovering new things – things we so often take for granted. 

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the Minister of Youth and Family at Atonement Lutheran Church in Barrington, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

More about Jen

Jen's Books

Now Available!

A Mission That Matters: How To Do Short-Term Missions Without Long-Term Harm

Order Now

Now Available!

Unleashing the Hidden Potential of your Student Leaders

Order Now

The Real Jesus

Order Now

The Jesus Gap

What Teens Actually Believe About Jesus

Based on National Research

Order Now




Recent Posts