Rekindled Relationships and Awkward Beginnings

November 18, 2023


God Opens Doors

-Andrew Bertka, Bluffton/Columbus Grove Middle School

In my role, I connect with new students to start the relationship building process, and continue journeying with teens from previous years.

I’ve been excited to rekindle a relationship with a student named Joe. We became friends when I was 17 and working as a lifeguard at the Bluffton pool and he was in elementary school. As a lifeguard, I met tons of kids. Unaware at that time how God would shape my future and lead me to work with YFC, I now see how He was in control and using my past to open doors to reach teens today. Joe is old enough to attend Campus Life this school year. Unlike when we first met at the pool, Joe is at an age where he can comprehend at a deeper level, ask deeper questions and make life-changing decisions. It’s exciting to further this relationship and show Joe how much God loves him!

Unlike Bluffton Campus Life, as the Campus Life director for Columbus Grove, I hardly know any students. It’s been a fun challenge for me to learn student’s names and embrace the awkward first conversations! Learning names is such a huge part of building into a teen’s life. For them to be noticed and seen helps us relate that they are noticed and seen by God.

At a recent fifth quarter at the CG Campus Life room, held above the CG Pizzeria, a gal was laying on the couch. Concerned, I went to check on her. Her friend assured she was alright, so as any middle school Campus Life director would do, I bounced a foam dice off her head. Unphased she looked at the dice, the number it landed on, then proceeded to do that many pushups. This turned into a game where we rolled the dice many more times and five other girls joined in to do pushups and high knees. Despite our sometimes awkward first attempts to get to know students, a fun memory was made and the process of getting to know more CG students is happening!

To be seen and known is a need we see God meeting through YFC. If you care to join us in this sometimes awkward work, please reach out!