TITLE: Dancing Gurl
By Mary Orchard
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Jeanne Meyers was giving God “the silent treatment”. He must have known He “had it coming.” After all, a back injury had forever wiped away her dream career.
“Dance was my whole life,” she explains. I went to the studio almost every day. I danced about ten hours a week, and I even had a dance floor in the basement at home.
That spring I also lost my ability to sing well. My grades were down. I disappointed a lot of people. My best friend was expelled from school.”
Then the worst news: The All-Powerful One had allowed another of Jeanne’s good friends from school to die suddenly of an unknown cause in early May. All this in one semester! Of course Jeanne was depressed and angry. Life on earth seemed like nothing more than an annual free trip around the sun! She was just another passenger, and she was in no mood to be any more involved than that, but it was too late to back out.
Jeanne and about 49 other teens and some adult leaders from her church had been training for 16 weeks for a trip to Metamoros, a Mexican city about 350 miles south of Houston, Texas. Why waste the $1000 that she had already paid for the trip? Besides she did enjoy helping others. “I just decided to go ahead with the plan and forget about the God part for now. I had no connection with God at that point,” she says.
Most people of Metamoros work on farms or in factories for an average annual income of about $5000. Some work in the city garbage dump, digging through trash for items to sell. Jeanne’s youth group was to help a local church in its outreach projects. The work consisted of bringing bread and water to the people working at the dump, building dorms, playing sports with Mexican children and visiting homes to meet with families who needed prayer support.
The group departed for Mexico on Saturday, June 16. There, during a Tuesday night group meeting, Jeanne confided with the other kids about her “disconnect from God.” They prayed for her. Two even tried to comfort her, but she still felt like an outsider. Other group members were hearing from God, but she was “numb to it all.”
Wednesday night the group went to a field to play soccer and watch a drama with the neighborhood kids. Jeanne’s eyes saw the performance, but her mind didn’t. She doesn’t even know what it was about. She remembers keeping a tight cap on her feelings, because she doesn’t like to cry in public. Suddenly a volcano erupted and her eyes started spewing lava.
In the bus going back to the dorm, Jeanne couldn’t stand it anymore. She stared raging at God. Everyone on the bus heard her, but she didn’t care! The Lord needed to deal with this issue. No one else could. That night, Jesus melted the ice wall that Jeanne-the-Robot had built.
Thursday morning, one of the translators gave Jeanne a slip of paper that said, “Hear, Oh Lord, and answer me, for I am poor and needy.” Jeanne felt that this quote from Psalm 86 (N.I.V.) was a message from God that He was listening. That same afternoon, the local pastor thanked the teens for coming and invited them to come again next year. Jeanne just tucked the invitation away to look at it later.
The rest of the week Jeanne slowly became as fluid and joyful as the dancer she once had been. She took the local pastor’s invitation to heart, prayed about it and asked the group to pray for her decision. She asked God to make her absolutely sure about whether or not to come back. Pastor Gregg, her youth pastor, affirmed the idea on the way home. Another adult leader told her to read Isaiah 61: 1-2: “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor and the day of vengeance of our God to comfort all who mourn.” (N.I.V.)
This cinched it for Jeanne! She expects to spend most of summer 2008 serving in the same area of Mexico. This next trip will be coordinated by the same agency, Adventures in Mission, but she will be working with a different team, one composed of about six other teens from different American churches. She has been practicing her Spanish by listening to songs with Spanish lyrics. In her email address, Jeanne still refers to herself as “dancing gurl”. Her body no longer dances, but her heart does.
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