Following on from yesterday’s Faith Story, I thought that I would share a previously unpublished piece of Leah’s ‘Faith Story‘ in her own words.
One of the youth organisations that Leah attended was a group called BK Banter run in Tamlaghtfinlagan Church of Ireland church hall in Ballykelly.
Tamlaghtfinlagan Parish Church is a small but very pretty church that was built in 1795 with funds provided by the Earl Bishop of Bristol and the Hon. John Beresford. The Bishop was very fond of building – Mussenden Temple and Downhill House are two other examples of his endeavours.
On the 15th June 2013 the young people were asked to write a letter to God and put it into a sealed envelope with their name on it. The youth leaders then explained that they would keep these letters in their sealed envelopes and return them to the young people in one year’s time.
Leah died six months later, so hers was returned to me then. It is so very precious to me.
I know that the print is quite faint so I have typed out Leah’s words underneath.
Leah’s Letter To God
Things are kind of crazy at the moment. Having cancer is mad and it’s a completely different world, I’m so scared. But in a years time I’ll be reading this and I’ll have had my transplant.
Lord I pray for healing and a full recovery. You are a God of miracles and You can move mountains for me! I want to focus on You and thank you for the blessings I’ve had this year.
Firstly for Nic, he has been so supportive, loving and caring. I really hope that when I read this next year that we will still be in a happy and Christ centered relationship.
I thank You for the blessings through the LOST Team, for Emma and our friendship and for Anne, Brian and Lisa, for the love they have shown me.
I want to thank You for being such an awesome and unconditional loving God, even though at times it feels like I cannot hear You, but God, I want this to be a testament of faith that next year when I read this, I will know that never once did You leave me and never once did I ever walk alone.
Your daughter X
The ‘Anne, Brian and Lisa’ that Leah refers to, were youth leaders on the LOST Team.
Barely two weeks to go and September will be upon us. Then our teachers AND our youth leaders will all be back in action, influencing the lives of our young people.
I want to say to anyone who works with young people, either in a paid or a voluntary capacity – Do not underestimate the importance of your role, or the extent of your influence in the lives of our young people.
Some of our young people are incredibly vulnerable and there’s often no way of knowing by outward appearance, just how vulnerable a young person is on the inside.
According to youngminds.org.uk
- 1 in 10 children and young people aged 5 – 16 suffer from a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is around three children in every class
- Between 1 in every 12 and 1 in 15 children and young people deliberately self-harm
- There has been a big increase in the number of young people being admitted to hospital because of self harm. Over the last ten years this figure has increased by 68%
- 0.2% or about 8,700 aged 5-10 year-olds are seriously depressed.
- 1.4% or about 62,000 aged 11-16 year-olds are seriously depressed.
If we are a people of faith, then we can pray earnestly for the young people that we come in contact with.
We can also avail of short, well recognised training courses like the widely available half day SafeTALK Training.
According to their website – “safeTALK is a half-day alertness training that prepares anyone over the age of 15, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a suicide-alert helper. Most people with thoughts of suicide don’t truly want to die, but are struggling with the pain in their lives. Through their words and actions, they invite help to stay alive. safeTALK-trained helpers can recognize these invitations and take action by connecting them with life-saving intervention resources.”
Sometimes, providing a caring, listening ear and signposting somebody to an appropriate source of help, is the most important thing that we can do.