Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Mending in Marysville

Jeff met Tyler at a lunchroom table at the local high school just north of Seattle. Jeff was simply doing what every Young Life leader does – meeting kids where they’re at, loving them unconditionally, and earning the right to be heard. He would have no idea how significant that encounter, and that lunchroom table, would be.

Twelve years later, a young and desperate teenager would walk into that cafeteria and shoot five of his classmates before turning the gun on himself. The shooting occurred last Friday at Marysville-Pilchuck High, one of Washington's largest schools, a place where Young Life has served kids since 2002. The shooting occurred in the very same cafeteria where Jeff met Tyler twelve years earlier. At the same table.

Jeff is now the area director for West Snohomish County Young Life, a neighboring area to Marysville. Tyler is the volunteer team leader of the Young Life ministry in Marysville, reeling in the tragic events of last week. And now they’re there together, at ground zero, in the midst of all the pain and confusion, offering prayer, presence, and compassion.

Dr. Elizabeth Marshall is a local physician, practicing Catholic, and Young Life leader. She attends the same Catholic parish as Gia Soriano, one of the victims in Friday's shooting. Last night, she and her husband Tim, a local psychologist, gathered a group of youth leaders to walk through the grief, the suffering, and the needs of kids who are grasping to deal with the unthinkable. “Walking alongside these kids is the most important thing we can do,” she said. “We have no solutions. We cannot fix the suffering. Suffering must be accompanied.”

The gathering was attended by youth leaders across the board - Protestants and Catholics, Young Life leaders and pastors. A beautiful ecumenical spirit filled the room, uniting these Christian disciples in solidarity and in a commitment to serve the lost and hurting. Dr. Marshall reflected,

God was there. God was in the cafeteria, weeping. Jesus wept. Jesus knows every suffering. Not only does Jesus know, he suffers with us. With each kid, with each leader, with each doctor, with each nurse, with each and every person saddened by this event. Jesus didn’t come to take away our suffering, he came to fill it with His presence.

Marysville-Pilchuck Young Life will launch club on Monday, proclaiming the nearness of Christ to every kid, claiming the ultimate victory of God for every soul left hurt and confused by this calamity. Pray for kids. Pray for leaders. Pray for Catholics. Pray for Protestants. Pray for every kid.

And if you want to support Tyler and the effort to reach every kid, a fund has been created through the local Young Life area. All proceeds will support a special camp to serve all those affected by the Marysville shooting. Checks can be made out to Young Life with #PrayforMarysville in the memo. Please send contributions to:

Young Life North Snohomish County
PO Box 3487
Everett, WA 98213
*or give online to WA401 at:

I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~ Romans 8:38-39

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this, and for your presence as a Catholic in Young Life.


Thanks so much for your input. I pray that this dialogue may be a blessing to you personally and to the ministry you exercise in Christ.