This summer, Y4Life had the incredible opportunity to go to the LCMS National Youth Gathering (NYG) in New Orleans, Louisiana. This event was three days packed with fun, fellowship, and spiritual growth. With more than 22,000 kids from 48 states and 14 countries, there was plenty to keep us busy!
At NYG, the Experiential Learning Room was a place where youth could go between sessions to play games and learn about over 200 organizations across the country. With an incredible group of volunteers, this was an awesome opportunity to engage youth and spread the Gospel through life issues. Our activities included a “former fetus” photo booth, where youth could take a picture in an ultrasound; a “recharge and reflect” station, where youth could rest and learn more about the issue of abortion; and the most popular activity, the “baby bump relay,” where students were challenged to put on backpacks filled with flour, which resembled a baby bump, and race to pick up laundry. The baby bump relay race was so popular that the emcees featured it on a video that all 22,000 youth saw at the mass event! Laura Davis, Director of Y4Life, was briefly interviewed about Lutherans For Life and encouraged youth to come learn more. Every one of these activities engaged the youth at NYG and opened many doors for conversation.
In addition to our experiential learning section, Laura and Pastor Salemink spoke in two different breakout sessions each of the three days, speaking to over 800 students. The youth were able to engage in their interactive talks to learn more about how to talk about life issues. It was encouraging to hear questions and stories from the youth in these sessions. They were passionate and were eager to learn how to engage in important conversations with their peers. After one of the sessions, a boy came up and told Laura that he appreciated her talk. After hearing it, his mind was opened to new ways of engaging people that he hadn’t thought of before. The National Youth Gathering was an incredible place to go to spread the life-affirming Gospel of Jesus Christ through life issues to thousands of youth across the country. We pray that through the short time we had with these youth, they would take what they learned and be encouraged to talk with their peers about life.
LFL/LCMS National Youth Gathering Stats
800+ students taught at LFL Interest Centers
350 T-shirts given out to relay-race winners
1,200 Y4Life magnets given out
1,500 Y4Life buttons given out (and worn proudly)
1,800 Y4Life glow sticks given out