May 18, 2017
It isn’t easy to parent teens. After all the love you give them, all the coaching and teaching and advice, and after a lot of running around to get them where they need to be, the biggest challenge is to let them go. We want to hug our kids and keep them close. Relaxing our protective hold so that they can make their own way is hard.
Without faith, it can seem like Mission: Impossible.
Galilee members Paul and Mary Ann Myers know this well, because they are the parents of two teenage daughters. Katie is in high school and Rachel is at Virginia Tech. Rachel is gearing up to go on mission this summer.
“When I told my parents that I was going to Puerto Rico, I wasn’t sure they’d be OK with it,” says Rachel. “At first they were nervous. Thankfully, at Christmas they gave me the best present I could ask for. They made a video with the Mission: Impossible theme and the message, “Rachel, your mission—if you chose to accept it—is to go where God is calling you this summer.” It was my parent’s way of telling me they support me and are proud of me. It meant so much!”
The Myers family: Rachel, Paul, Mary Ann, and Katie
Paul and Mary Ann have supported their girls’ faith throughout their lives by bringing them to Galilee. “We have been at Galilee for fifteen years,” says Paul. “We came because of what the church had on offer for kids. We really liked the Sunday School.”
Paul, who is from Maryland, was raised United Methodist. As a child, Methodist Youth Fellowship was a big influence on his upbringing. Mary Ann was raised Southern Baptist in Indiana and Northern Virginia. Both parents knew the value of finding that “third place,” a place of faith for young people to spend time when not at home or school.
The Myers dove right in and volunteered to become Sunday School teachers, often teaching their daughters. Paul helped with confirmation, explaining the history of Methodism to the youth (“Because he’s a history nerd,” explains Rachel). Mary Ann looked for novel ways she could serve, including playing the piano and cooking for members of the church.
“Bringing up a family in church is important because it helps teach good values and shows the importance of developing a personal relationship with Christ while trusting God,” says Mary Ann.
“Part of that is letting go and knowing God will be with your teen even when you are not,” she says. “That’s true for Paul and I and for Katie, whether she’s playing softball (about which she is passionate) or as she prepares for Summer Engineering camp. That’s true for Rachel while she’s at college or as she heads to Puerto Rico.”
Rachel Myers (bottom right) with her Cru friends at Virginia Tech.
With the blessing of her parents, Rachel will travel to the University of Puerto Rico this summer to build up campus ministry. “I get the opportunity to help students find the same community I first found through Galilee,” explains Rachel. “I made good friends, especially in our high school small group. That group was a big reason I got so involved in church—because I had friends beside whom I learned so many important life lessons.”
“It is my prayer that in Puerto Rico, God will lift up student leaders and new people will hear about Christ while experiencing true community on campus.”
This is an incredible opportunity to spread the Gospel and encourage our brothers and sisters in Puerto Rico. But Rachel’s mission trip costs money (money: another reason why raising teenagers is hard). The trip costs $4500. If you’d like to help Rachel’s mission with a tax-deductible donation of any amount, go to https://give.cru.org/0921442.
You can also help with your prayer.
And you can help your own family by becoming involved in church, like Paul and Mary Ann did. “We got involved because of our daughters and we stayed involved,” say the Myers. “These days we attend the Parents of Teens small group on Sunday during the Grow Hour. It’s always topical, welcoming of newcomers, and there is lively discussion among parents who really care.”
“We are so blessed by the extended community that Galilee provides. It’s no small thing, as our daughters go out into the world, to see how many people have positively impacted our family and their lives.”