Final Thoughts: Closer

We are finally on our way back from an amazing experience at NYC. It was great to get closer to the youth group and make many fun memories to keep. NYC really opened our eyes about how Loving God and Loving Others are so connected. To love people is to love God. It is a thing that is is so small but so highly important. To include and welcome people is one of the things He wants us to do. We learned to open our hearts and let Jesus in and have him as our home. It was astonishing how close Jesus felt in that moment being with 8,000 people praising, singing, laughing, and just being together. There were so many different people but we all had the biggest thing in common. A love for God. Phoenix, we won’t forget you. I hope and pray we take what this trip has taught us and take it home to live out. Remeber youth group, “Stop making excuses and dive into the unknown.” Go. In peace and love.

-Alexandra Ramos

Final Thoughts: My NYC Story

The one thing that stuck out the most to me about NYC was how diverse the speakers were each night. There was never the same story twice, everyone had they’re own unique story to tell. A new way I heard God was that I need to love others before I can love Him. I never really thought about it that way but I loved that message. I’m now going to go home and use this message in my everyday life. I’m going to treat others with as much kindness and loves as I do to god. This week has really helped me grow closer to God, more than I could have imagined. Thank you NYC for showing me on a new path towards God.

-Ronan Harriman

Final Thoughts: Desert Thoughts of a Sleep Deprived Teen

As we ride through scenic West Texas we have been asked to write one final blog post. NYC ended yesterday afternoon, and we’ve had lots of time since to reflect on it. And also watch Shrek, but that’s far less important. It may just be that it’s the most recent, but the final worship service was fantastic. I have no other way to describe it other than at one point I thought I was gonna burst open the presence of God was so thick. What was beautiful was that it wasn’t just thick in the air, but in me and the 8,000 other attendees that filled the stadium. The theme of NYC this year was Love God, Love Others, and Love Lived, and so probably it’s no coincidence that I come away from it with a new understanding of what it means to be loved by God, and to live that love. One of the NYC pastors, shout out my man Gordon, said it best when he said “we wish for you to understand how deeply God loves you, in order that you more greatly respond to it.” To understand that all that is asked is for us to come with our total being to God, so that God’s love may work within us, and through us into our communities. That God loves us how we are, warts and all, but that the love is too strong to leave us where we are. Before we left for this event I wrote a blog post about looking forward to NYC, and I wrote about NYC requiring too much for it to leave me on a new spiritual mesa. I can gladly and confidently say that I have arrived. Now not that everything is perfect now, or that I will never sin again, but an indescribable change has occurred. I’ll go back to work, and then school, and then in a year college. I will pursue my call into the ministry. I will stumble, and things will be hard. But, to borrow from Daniel 7, the beasts have been humbled and stripped of any power, and the Son of Man sits over all His people in love. For God is love.

-Will Heise

Final Thoughts: NYC is Over

Ryan asked us three questions to write about and I don’t think I have enough words for all of this. The first question is What moment from NYC stuck out to you? I think the moment that stuck out to me the most is the day where we left the rec room early. We went back to the hotel to swim and I had to leave because my emotions were starting to get out of hand. Ryan asked me why I was leaving, but I didn’t want to explain. When I got out of the shower Alex was there and she told me that I need to open up. I’m uncomfortable talking to Ryan when it comes to opening up because I feel like he asks to many questions and it can be intimidating so, I talked to Makayla. I told her everything and poured my heart out. I felt so much better afterwards because Alex, Ana Bea, and Makayla understood. All my life I’ve been searching for someone who understands and I pushed people away. It made me feel lonely, but it was by choice. It turns out everything is easier if you just open up. That moment stood out the most. The second question is How did you hear God in a new way? I heard him in love. He is love. Everything I’ve heard about God made me wonder why I’m following this guy who says he’s my father and loves me, but is so strict. Now I know he’s not strict he’s loving, like my parents. BTW shout out to my family for caring so much about this. I really needed this. This trip has changed me so much. The last question is How do I hope my life changes when I get back? I know it’s already changing right now. I now know that I need to open up. When you open up, people can help.

-Angel Nelson

Final Thoughts: Stories

The moment that stuck out to me the most would be the “I’ll Push You” story, where two best friends, one disabled in a wheelchair, travel the Camino de Santiago trail. It was utterly amazing. I heard God through people’s stories and interactions. Seeing what he’d done with other people. I hope I wouldn’t forget what I heard this NYC and that I wouldn’t lose sight of what he has done the past few days.

-Ivan Kipp

Final Thoughts

The second to last night the lights were off. All of our bracelet were on and two spotlight on two members of royal company singing, leading us through song. All eight thousand of us singing with them. That was the moment that sticks out to me the most. A phrase that I heard God in a new way was looking through the lens of love. What I got from this was loving other is loving God.

-Moises Flores

Final Thoughts: NYC in a Paragraph

By far the best thing that came out of NYC is the growing of my relationships with my youth group and God. There was many chances to reach out to God since all the pastors at NYC did a really good job of teaching us our lessons of loving God, loving others, and living with love. The worship was one of the most magical moments for me with royal company leading us in it. While we were there, God was there with us looking over us , watching us praise him in all his glory. Coming back to Austin I want to take all these lessons back home and apply them in my daily life , accepting all the changes I might have to do to follow through with this in order to strengthen my relationship with God.

-Samantha Gonzales

Final Thoughts: Coming to an End

Hey y’all! I think it is safe to say that, as much as we LOVED NYC, we are all very ready to be in our own beds. As this whole trip is officially coming to an end, we were asked to reflect on NYC itself.

A moment that sticks out to me from NYC was all of the different ways they managed to interpret the message of loving God and loving others. Besides the numerous speakers, who were all amazing, the message was also implied by the worship, poetry readings, videos, and much more. I really liked that they did this because it showed how much they truly cared about us and wanted every single student to go home with this message in mind.

A new way I heard God through this week was by the overall message of loving God and loving others. I have heard sermons before about how you have to love others to love God and vice versa, but this week showed me how you have to learn to truly love EVERYONE without judging them based on their pasts or mistakes. It made me realize how everyone is a child of God, regardless of if they even know who God is, because God truly handcrafted every living person on this Earth and every person who has lived and every person that will live. This week taught me to view others as children of God rather than labelling them by their pasts or mistakes, and I am honestly really thankful that I now have this new mindset in the hateful world we currently live in.

As I return home, I hope that I can follow through with the new things I have learned this week. For me, personally, this week showed me how to love the way Jesus loved and continues to love EVERYONE. It showed me how to put on what was called “love goggles” when seeing someone. I want to be able to look at everyone with the love goggles NYC gifted me with.

Thank you so much to everyone that contributed to this trip. I am so, so, SO grateful for a trip that I will remember for the rest of my life. 🙂

-Anna Bea Heise

Final Thoughts: Love

I suppose this answer is common, but it’s true. What stuck out to me the most this trip was the word of God and sharing it with thousands of people around me. To see everyone raising their hands in worship and feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit move around me.

I prayed that God would speak to me and I’d hear him. I heard God in a new and refreshing way this week, telling me of my faults and what I can do better, loving people in a new and whole way.

I hope that I might be able to exhale God’s love in everything I do and be able to look at things the way God sees them, in a pure and loving way, and I might be able to love unconditionally in everything I do.

-Alexia Luna