While many adults think of teens as carefree, some of the young adult advisory delegates (YAAD) participating in the 220th GA are teens whose lives are full of cares. Even though they’ve come to GA with worries on their heart, they seek to participate fully in the life of the larger church.
YAAD Alley Lehman, 18, of the Presbytery of Southern Kansas was disappointed that by being at the Assembly she would miss the Head for the Cure Race in which her 14-year old brother Craig was competing with friends and family. This past Valentine’s Day Craig was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which surgeons removed in March. Since then, Craig has been working on relearning some things that others take for granted, like walking, as well as undergoing chemotherapy.
“I worry about missing things that might happen. I miss my family. But, I know that God chose me for a reason and I have to answer that call,” Lehman said.
Even though she missed Craig’s race on Saturday, June 30, she wore her tie-dyed Team Craig T-shirt at GA in solidarity with her brother. Craig crossed the finish line in his wheel chair with friends and members of the congregation supporting him through the entire race.
Esther Chol, 23, has worries of her own as the YAAD from the Presbytery of Des Moines, but says she is 100% committed to the business at hand. Her father, the Rev. Goanar Chol is currently on a peacemaking mission to Sudan.
“These are rough times there and war seems to be breaking out again. They are bombing South Sudan, where he is,” Chol said. As a native of South Sudan, the Rev. Chol has made the trip back several times for professional and personal reasons, including bringing family members to safety in the United States.
“I know that my father wants me to be here,”Chol said. “He has been to several GAs and knows it’s a transforming experience.”
She added, “I just hope that everyone here realizes how seriously we YAADs take our role. We see this as important work, not just a chance to travel and visit a new city.”