LCMS National Youth Gathering 2022 | Immanuel Lutheran Church

August 16, 2022 Immanuel Lutheran Church

LCMS National Youth Gathering 2022

LCMS National Youth Gathering 2022

Growing up in a smaller church, I never had the opportunity to participate in a mission trip or a youth gathering, so it was important to me that my kids take advantage of that opportunity when they were old enough. Last year, Jamieson went with Erik on the mission trip to South Dakota, so this year I took my turn going to the LCMS Youth Gathering in Houston. I had heard so many good things about past gatherings from folks at Immanuel, but honestly, as it got closer, this introvert was a little nervous. I’m more of a small-group, traditional worship person and Gatherings are big and energetic. I also carried with me no small amount of nerves about big crowds following the fourth of July events in Highland Park. So, I went because I thought I should, but I didn’t know what the experience would really be like for me. It was indeed a week with some challenges: very long drives and very hot weather were just the start of it. But, it was also a week with so much good. It was an opportunity to get to know our Immanuel youth better and learn what amazing young people they are, both in personality and in faith. There were inspirational sessions on current topics, engaging bible studies, and fun activities. The evening “Mass Events” at Minute Maid Park were even more loud and energetic than I expected, but they were also very moving. There is just nothing like hearing almost 20,000 young people singing “Amazing Grace” and “How Great Thou Art” together. So, now that I’ve recovered from the sleep deprivation, I can honestly say I am so glad I got to share the Gathering with Anna, Erik and all our youth, and I’m looking forward to going again to New Orleans in 2025. - Christine Olsen


I’m going to be honest with you – when we left for the National Youth Gathering four weeks ago, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. Sure, I knew I would be in a van for 16 hours, and I knew everyone was obsessing over a deflated balloon who was our mascot, but I never knew what it was going to be like, no matter how many times people tried to explain it to me. And honestly, I don’t think I could fully explain it to you either. But I’ll try. In a nutshell, NYG is where thousands of Lutheran kids from all over America gather in one place to talk about Jesus. Pretty cool, right? You get to connect with the King of Kings, but you also get to connect with each other. I sat down in that van on the morning we left knowing most of the people we were driving with, but I wasn’t close with them. The day we came back, I stepped out of the van with my best friends. And those were the same people I left for Texas with! NYG was a place where I made deeper bonds and connections with the people I knew, and I got to meet new people too. The friends I made are incredible, and I still keep in touch with them; I know I will for the rest of my life. When we came back from NYG, I felt different. Changed. Transformed. (A good transformation, don’t worry). I had a new outlook on my life, such as how to handle my friendships and other relationships. I also had many new memories made with my new friends. But most of all, I had a different connection to our Lord, one where I was (and still am) closer to Him. Even though the NYG event is over, I still feel it going on in my life every day. I consistently talk to the friends I met. I listen to more Christian music when I drive. I wear this epic Martin Luther hoodie. And I see God’s hand everywhere - in nature, in people on the street; I see Him. He’s in all things. - Colleen Siemann