Everything I have heard is that the NYG )National Youth Gathering) in Minneapolis was an amazing event. Up here in the North Country we get a bit nervous about a gathering in Minneapolis what with the traffic and the crowds and the politics. I was told before the event that an LGBTQRSLMNOP group was going to protest and try to keep the young people who were staying out around the Mall of America from using the light rail to get to the stadium. I heard of all kinds of protests from folks who do not like the stand the LCMS takes on abortion etc. All we wanted to do was go to Minneapolis and get a bunch of our young people together for fun and fellowship and worship and service. Evidently it was great time. There were some signs out telling our young people to free themselves from the horrible bonds of the LCMS, but the attempts to keep them off the train never materialized.
I have been to Youth Gatherings where there was some loutish behavior by the youth and action had to be taken. I am told that a survey of restauranteurs and hoteliers showed a regard for these kids, that they were the best group they had hosted for an event such as this. There was a general thankfulness for their demeanor, politeness, helpfulness etc.
A personal acquaintance of mine returning to a hotel late at night thought he was about to be accosted by a homeless man who asked him if he was a part of the group of young people that were running all over the place. When he said yes the guy told him that he worked for events at the US Bank stadium and the LCMS Youth had restored his faith in the youth of America. Now that is anecdotal and just one person but it is certainly better than alternatives.
While in Minneapolis they packed up one million meals for “feed My Hungry Children”; put together 1,013 kits for the homeless, cleaned up some parks and public spaces, painted some homes and did some repairs for the elderly, wrote letters of thanks to military personnel donated 463 gallons of blood and donated 926 inches of hair (I have no idea why). The coverage by KARE 11 and WCCO, was I am told, very positive.
Evidently worship leaders did not engage in teaching the youth to recite pagan confessions or alterations of the creeds to be more progressive. There were no political screeds or strange liturgical dancing. I am told the worship was Christ centered and very uplifting and that there were several young people who wanted to be baptized and privately brought into the Christian faith after some instruction.
It sounds like the old closing tag line from the home town news papers that covered who visited who on Sundays after church – a good time was had by all.
To our young folks and their sponsors and leaders thank you and God bless. You made us proud.