Monday, July 9, 2018
Mosaic in Southeast Texas

Every three years, high school youth and their adult leaders from across the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gather for a week of faith formation known as the ELCA Youth Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives.

Houston was the site of the 2018 ELCA Youth Gathering. The city was teaming with more than 31,000 youth from around the country at NRG Park from June 26 – July 1. Mosaic was there for three days in the Interactive Center sharing our mission and values of Safety, Respect, Connection, and Integrity!

Seven people in service with Mosaic of Southeast Texas were ambassadors for the event telling their stories of inclusion and a life of possibilities. Each youth group that stopped by learned that ‘Inclusion Changes Everything!’ From assembling buckles to taking selfies, each day proved exciting and primed for the next day’s attendees.

Profound experiences happened each day, too numerous to count, but one moment that stands out is one of the check in table at registration on the first day. Each individual had to sign in and get a wristband. One individual began to sign his name (as best he could) and you could see tears in the eyes of the staff. The slow pace and deliberate pen strokes demonstrated that things that seem simple for us daily can be more challenging for someone with a developmental disability. This is where patience was witnessed and grace was given. Freely!

The staff were in awe of the excitement and expertise displayed by each individual as they shared their own life’s story.

Over the three day experience, several groups asked the question – how do we reach out and do more? Volunteering to be a Buddy, playing bingo or doing an art project at a Day Program, or adopting a group home for toiletries, kitchen items, or towels are good options to start with. To learn more about volunteer opportunities available in Southeast Texas, contact stacy.halley [at] mosaicinfo.org.