A few weeks ago I was able to go on my second fun event with the wonderful volunteers we have at Cafe Barnabas. First we went bowling and then went out to visit an old friend of the cafes that we knew from the mall and ate at his new restaurant, Lago Vista. It is events like these that I have most enjoyed over the past several years working with students and it is events like these that allow me to say that I truly love what I do.

    When students gather to do something fun, especially something that involves fun and food – it is amazing what tends to happen. If you watch you will begin to see a few things unfold. You will see social groups begin to mix. You will see guards loosened and walls let down. You will begin to hear the ups, downs, and in betweens of what our students are going through. They begin to share joys, and pains, and random silly things. The conversations range from video games, to favorite TV shows and sometimes after a relationship is built they share more personal things. Life struggles, what they believe in, how their life is going and all they hope it can be. The amazing part of these moments is that they are at a place where they can indeed achieve anything if they are willing to put in the work and have a good support system around them.

    Not all students have a great support system but I am proud to be a part of a group that seeks to help build that for many of our students. I believe in Cafe Barnabas because we truly and deeply care for the lives of each student that comes into our cafe. I am proud to be a part of a team that is always looking out for one another, that is praying for one another, and wanting to see God move in each students life. We have all been called to this place, and this moment to humbly be allowed the amazing opportunity to be a positive change agent in the lives of the students we come in contact with through the shop every single day.

What’s my favorite part?

    Oh man I am glad you asked. My favorite part is when you see student showing a side that you did not expect. Picture this…we are riding in the 15 passenger van rocking the no AC vibe riding with the windows down. Conversations abound covering a wide array of topics. I am pretty sure out of nowhere someone starts singing one of their favorite Disney songs. Before I knew it there was one song after another. It was like my own personal Disney  playlist. Other songs crept in and some of us were making up our own words to sing when it happened. Someone implored us to LET IT GO. And like that, one student who is normally a bit reserved joins in with the chorus of voices singing their favorite Disney tunes. This kid began rocking the air mich. especially hard when the song itself implored you to “LET IT GO” and let it go they did. This student sang their heart out and gave Elsa a run for her money. It was awesome!

    I have audio of the beautiful rendition of the song that I am sure would put any professional team to shame but for now I will leave you with this thought. Sometimes we get worked up with all the things that we have to do in life. For me it’s my dad hat, my husband hat, my work hat, my church hat, my friend hat, my son hat and so on. Sometimes I forget to take off my hat and just LET IT GO.

    Working with students can be tough. You may think to yourself that you don’t have the skills or that there is no way you could connect with people younger than you. I promise if you give them time and show them you care about them and love them no matter what they will show you parts of yourself you often forget to let out and will allow you to LET IT GO even just for a moment.  

I really do love this job.