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President's Report

July 30, 2022
Good morning WV South.
I don’t want to spend a lot of time on a report that is looking backward.  When we look back at the past few years, there are some things we don’t even want to bring up.  
So here is a reflection in sentences.  Quizzing started the year off and then fizzled.  Not good. 
We moved the Fall retreat to April. 
Good even with the move.  We had nearly fifty people with youth and adults, a great speaker, and a good time.  Good.  We still went tubing in the snow.  Good. 
B.L.A.S.T returned.  Awesome.  There seemed to be a category switch, but we had as many participants this year as we did before the stoppage.  Great. 
At Field B.L.A.S.T we were represented well, and I was proud of our district.  We had as many as any other district attend.  Wonderful.
So, this year let’s build on what we had and make it better than ever before.  
You may or may not know that I am a school teacher in my spare time.  I teach Earth Science and Driver Education.  A common combination for sure.  But I want to share one lesson from Driver Education with you today.  In our Driver Education car, we have four mirrors and one windshield.  You may ask four, I have my own rear view mirror.  As a driver you have the rearview mirror and two side view mirrors. 
They are there to be used.  All total combined they might measure one square foot.  But the windshield has an area of close to ten square feet.  
What is significant about the mirrors being about one-tenth the area of a windshield?  It is their importance.  What is happening that you see out the windshield is much more relevant, maybe ten times more important, to the driving task than what you see in the mirrors.  We need to be aware of what is behind us, but we must interact with what is in front of us.  
The connection in our planning for youth, our walk through daily life, and our experience with Jesus must be focused forward.  We cannot ignore our past.  We cannot make the past insignificant.  But, we cannot change the past.  It has brought us here, and we must continually go forward.  Using the pandemic as an excuse has us looking in the rearview mirror.  I want to go forward and only use the lessons learned from that time.  
It is like history class in school.  Many students wonder why we take it.  I love history.  We learn about it so we can be better prepared for our future.  But we cannot go back and change what happens; we learn from it to make better choices going forward.
In Hebrews 12:1 the words tell us to run the race that is laid out in front of us.   Anyone who runs in any sport will tell you that when you look back, you slow down and get off course.  I teach my students to look where they are going because your body will follow your eyes. 
My favorite bible verse is Psalms 5:8, where I read, “Make straight your path before me.”  I follow God’s path set before me, not behind me, to walk where He has planned for my life.
I ask you to join me in walking forward on God’s path and not get caught up in the past.
I want to close with this thought.  I was asked recently by a new youth pastor, who had been in my youth group as a teen, what advice I could give him.  I shared this.  Love each one like they are your very own child.  Don’t teach them to be good little Christian boys and Girls; train them to be Disciples of Christ.  And this was shared with us recently that we need to help our youth to have an encounter with Jesus Christ.  That is youth ministry in three simple points.  There are many methods, but the outcome has to be relational with them and Jesus.

Prayers, blessings, and love
Mark Ice (mark#3)
WV South NYI President

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