I’ve been a CrossNet for a little over a year and not a week goes by without hearing one of our students say that CrossNet Youth Center is “home” or a “second home” for them. Often, I hear them say this but it doesn’t register with me and I move on to what I was doing and making sure everyone is having a good time at the Youth Center. A few days ago, a memory from 2015 flooded my mind. I was on a missions/work trip to Costa Rica and one of our projects was to build a small house for a young family. The house was just a few thousand dollars and wasn’t any larger than a two-car garage here in the United States. I remember some of the tasks we had were grueling, like digging the holes for the septic tank and laying the foundation. Days went by as we worked on this house. The young family we were building for would often come out and watch us and the children had smiles on their faces in anticipation for what was to come. One of the ladies that was on the trip with us said something extremely profound after seeing the young children. She said, “you guys think that you are just building a house, but to them you are building a home”. She went on to explain that a home is where memories are made, meals are shared, and holidays are celebrated. This wasn’t just a place that they would lay their heads at night. This was a structure that would afford them opportunities for growth and nurture. It was in that moment my perspective on the task we were doing changed.
Now I can understand why our students say CrossNet is a “home” for them. We share meals together, we celebrate holidays together, we are in the business of creating memories for them. For some, their homes aren’t places where those elements can happen naturally. CrossNet Youth Center exists to provide a safe place for students to grow, learn, have fun, and experience the love of God. My prayer is that we continue to be a “home” to many.