Some local churches held a youth event at the American Legion Hall in the city of Westbrook, Maine, and I was blessed to do two performances for it. The intent was to inspire Christian youth to take a biblical, often counter-cultural stance in their schools, teams and neighborhoods.
Interestingly, several churches from three area towns sent young people, and they were almost entirely African immigrants. When asked how many were born somewhere in Africa, all but two of the 30 or so youth raised their hands. Of the two exceptions, one was born here but concieved in Africa; the other was the one white kid present! It reminded me of a theory I first heard of in Samuel Rodriguez's book "The Lamb's Agenda": as church attendance continues to drop among third or fourth generation Americans immigration from Africa and Latin America may be just what saves the American church.
Regardless, I had a blast doing two sets for these young people, encouraging them to be salt and light in their world. The main speaker cancelled at the last minute since he was sick, so my old friend, Jim Duran spoke. The highlight, however, was an impromptu talk from Prince, a senior at the University of Southern Maine. Having moved here from Rwanda, and being a bit closer in age to the audience than either Jim or me, made him very relatable. His story about adjusting to campus life and, in fact, a whole new culture while trying to not compromise his values was very relavent.
When the juggling and speakers were finished, everyone had pizza and chips, while several of the young people lined up to meet Cotton - my rabbit - and talk talk. I pray that these young people can in fact bring their sincere faith to their new homes even as we welcome their beautiful and fascinating culture.