Local Youth & young adult

‘Good ground’

Emcee ValLimar Jansen sows the seeds for a successful conference

by Jessica Langdon

The dictionary doesn’t have a word, said Topeka Catholic Karen Mize, for the feeling she experienced being surrounded by some 20,000 fellow Catholic teens in Indianapolis this past weekend.

But “awestruck” comes close.

The Mater Dei parishioner said emcee ValLimar Jansen helped set the stage for her experience of the three-day event in the opening session Thursday evening, Nov. 17.

“Over the next few days, you will receive seeds — seeds that will be sown into the ground that is your heart,” explained Jansen. “So I want to talk about that ground that is your heart.”

In the parable of the sower, she said, there were seeds that are scattered on the walkway everyone uses. The birds quickly ate up all those seeds.

This, she said, could be compared to somebody who comes to NCYC, but spends the time texting or not attending the sessions. In other words, they’re just “here for the party.”

Then there are the seeds that were scattered on stony ground, and therefore couldn’t take root. People might walk out of a session thinking it was great, but not remember anything about it later in the day — “because it didn’t take root,” she said.

Next, there are those seeds that fell among the thorns and thistles and were soon choked. The thorns and weeds in our lives, she told the crowd, are the worries, confusion, pain and anger people carry around with them.

But we can work to weed those out, she said. Turn to the person next to you, said Jansen, and tell them, “Don’t have weeds.”

No sooner had the voices of the thousands of teens risen, then quieted, than the emcee then asked them all to repeat two more words with her.

“Good ground” she said.

After “good ground” had echoed through the 70,000-seat stadium, she explained its meaning.

“The good ground is open to receive the word and to listen,” said Jansen. If the ground in their hearts is good, she said, the teens would be open to transformation.

There would be people here, she told them — everywhere they looked, in fact —wanting to make a connection with Christ.

“Be that connection,” she urged.

Jansen’s point was not lost on Karen, who said she knows that even if fired up by an event like NCYC, faith is fueled by a daily effort.

“You’ve kind of got to take the seeds they were talking about and let them grow,” she said.

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Jessica Langdon

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