3 Truths and No Lie!

I had the pleasure of speaking at my home parish of St. Paul’s this past Friday night as the SPIRIT Pre-Teen Youth Ministry held its kick-off event for the year. It was also the start of SPIRIT’s 10th year of ministry, so in recognition of the impressive milestone the night featured a few special presentations among the prayer, games, and of course, good food.

Knowing I only had 3 or 4 minutes to speak (the short time-frame was intentional given both the students’ short attention span and my penchant for liking the sound of my own voice…haha), I wanted to come up with something that was easy to remember and could be referred to throughout the year.

So after a quick introduction, I shared with them these 3 truths:

1. God LOVES you. This is the one constant you can count on amidst all the chaos and changes that will happen in your life. God’s love is unconditional and is ever-lasting. As believers, you are called to love as He loves. No matter how bad things may seem, you can take solace knowing that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing: God is love. He loves you, and He always will. After all, He made you in His image and likeness.

2. The Church NEEDS you. Anytime I hear someone say that the youth are the future of the church or the church of tomorrow, I politely suggest a slight revision to that statement: youth are important RIGHT NOW and you are the church of TODAY. You are just as important as the adults, the seniors, and the children. We need your voice, your energy, your gifts, and your child-like (not childish) faith. The more that our parish engages the young people, the stronger it will be. Us “older folk” can learn a lot from you!

3. The Leaders will PRAY for you. Believe that when a leader asks you what he or she can pray for, that they will! You may not fully understand right now what it means when someone says that he or she will pray for you, but it’s the most powerful and genuine thing someone can do. That’s what unites us as Christians: our belief in Jesus as our Lord and Saviour, and the fact that we can go to Him whenever we want to. In times of joy or in times of pain. In happiness or in sadness. In times of need or in times of thanksgiving. Never underestimate the power of prayer.

I had the young people repeat these 3 truths back to me a few times to ensure they got it. As I returned to my seat, I reflected upon these truths and realized that they apply not only to 11 and 12 year-olds, but to Catholics of all ages.

But for those few minutes, the focus was on those beautiful and precious pre-teens. All of us involved in youth ministry need to continue to share with them the truth without any lies.

Jesus is the Way, the TRUTH and the Life.

And once we all know the TRUTH, the TRUTH will set us free.

6 Blogs and 6 Videos for Jake's 6th Birthday

To celebrate Jake’s 6th birthday today (September 16), enjoy 6 of my favourite blogs and 6 of my favourite videos of our resident Ladies’ Man.

April 4, 2009: Honesty is the Best Policy…Usually. Jake’s brutally honest Kindergarten self-assessment.

November 1, 2008: Passing the Torch. Jake serves as ring-bearer for the first time.

September 5, 2008: Honey, We Have a Problem. Jake’s first week of Kindergarten.

June 3, 2008: Giving Jake His Due (Like Father, Like 2nd Son). Pointing out all of our similarities.

April 16, 2008: TMI…Too Much Information. In trying to conceal information, Jake reveals too much information.

February 12, 2008: You Should See the Other Guy! Jake tries to break a fall…with his face.

September 14, 2009: Jacob the Happy Ring-Bearer. Footage from this past weekend at Melissa and Alex’s wedding.

April 6, 2009: Imoo Kids Bustin’ a Move. Jake leads his siblings in a dance party.

January 2, 2009: The Faces of Imoo. Witness Jake’s acting skills as he portrays different emotions.

July 14, 2008: Return of the Mack. Jake courting Lauren at Disneyland.

November 19, 2007: Jake singing “Jesus Loves Me.” Jake’s first foray into praise music.

August 1, 2006: Child-Like Faith. Jake recites the first prayer he learned.

Happy 100th Birthday Obaasan!

On Saturday, September 5 my grandmother Tsuya Imoo turned 100 years old. In advance of our big family celebration next Saturday, the 5 of us went out to visit Obaasan (grandmother in Japanese) for a couple of hours in the afternoon.

(As an aside…it was slightly embarrassing to find out that I have been pronouncing Obaasan incorrectly for 35 years! I recently learned that the way I was saying it meant “Aunt” instead of “Grandmother.” I’m now emphasizing the proper vowels and we’re good to go!)

As per usual with our visits with her, we had a pleasant chat, interspersed with her laughing at the antics of the kids. For this particular visit, it was the boys playing catch and Kayla pushing Obaasan’s walker around. Our chats are always memorable and entertaining, with the English-to-Japanese dictionary serving as my best friend. It doesn’t help my pronunciation though, and it often leaves Obaasan (and Gail) cracking up in laughter. Now I can understand why Obaasan would be laughing at my poor Japanese…but I’m not sure why Gail has to join in. Oh well…at least I know the important stuff like how to order sushi.

And when all else fails, I just string a bunch of Japanese cars together in a rushed sentence. Try it: “Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Toyota” sounds really good when spoken really quickly and with authority.

Obaasan is such a strong woman, and she has outlived her husband and 3 sons (including my dad). She is funny, genuine, and sweet. I truly believe she has a few more years left in her!

In speaking with Obaasan, I found out that she is only the 3rd-eldest person residing at Nikkei Place in Burnaby. In fact, the eldest is turning 103 this Friday!

Regardless, living to 100 is an amazing milestone. Especially in comparison to Kayla Marie, who hasn’t even turned 2 yet!

Thank you Obaasan for your strength and your love. I pray that God continues to bless you with good health!