With an invitation by our Presbytery's education committee, this report was presented to the Presbytery of Carlisle by Michael Englund-Krieger. Michael is a senior in high school and a member of our Derry Church:
My name is Michael Englund-Krieger. I believe some of you know my Dad. I was born and raised in the Presbyterian Church and I love our church. I love Jesus, and I am committed to live a Christian life forever. In the Presbyterian Church I have had wonderful opportunities to know Jesus, grow in faith and experience what it really means to be the church. When my dad was the pastor of Parkwood Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh we had an awesome youth group. We did the forty hour famine and we did Group work camps. We had a great youth leader who really had a great influence on me in middle school, and this is when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Those were great years in youth group and church. I had friends in that youth group, and I truly enjoyed going to that church every Sunday. The first year we moved here I went to Montreat with Pastor Kelly and the Market Square Church youth group. Montreat was a wonderful blessing in my life. The next summer, my Dad and I went on a mission trip with the Derry Church to Nicaragua. I experienced poverty, God touched my heart, and my eyes were opened. Later that summer, I went to the Presbyterian Youth Triennium along with 30 other kids from this presbytery. What a fabulous experience to be together with 3,000 Presbyterian teenagers. I think Presbyterian Triennium is a great opportunity for senior high Presbyterians. I loved Triennium because I got the opportunity to worship with other high school students around the country. At Triennium, they broke us up into small groups. In each of these groups, no two people are from the same presbytery, and I made some very close friends. My small group was excellent; we all learned about each other’s faith and grew into a small family. I still remain in touch with a few friends from my small group. The following summer, my dad talked me into applying to Project Burning Bush at Union Theological Seminary. Project Burning Bush is one of the most powerful blessings in my life. It is a leadership development program for teenagers focused on the discernment of our sense of call. In several short weeks the 16 teenagers at Project Burning Bush became some of my closest friends, truly my brothers and sisters in Christ. This summer I went with my Dad to Honduras. We talked a lot about freedom and democracy, since we had a lot of time sitting in the hotel. Our trip was cancelled because of the political crisis in Honduras. But that trip was still a remarkable blessing in my life. This summer I also worked at Camp Krislund. I was on the Adventure Team, and I am proud and grateful that not one summer camper was hurt or injured on the adventure equipment at camp. The summer staff at Krislund was an amazing community of Christians. I thank Art for his leadership and friendship, and his extraordinary impact on the camp.
I know I am supposed to talk about the 2010 Youth Triennium. But what I really want to say to all the pastors here is this: I am a teenager and I love the Presbyterian Church because I have had so many wonderful opportunities in the Presbyterian Church. Pastors, please find your teenagers, talk with them and connect them with these amazing opportunities we have in the church. Teenagers need role models at this point in their lives, be a leader and mentor for them. Tell them about Triennium, and Montreat, and Krislund. These programs will have an impact on their lives. Encourage the youth to go on mission trips. Please get your teenagers involved and connected with these events and their lives will be blessed. They will love Jesus and they will love the Presbyterian Church.
I love Jesus. I love the Presbyterian Church. I am called to serve. I am a senior in high school and I am applying to the United States Military Academy and the United States Naval Academy. I hope for the opportunity to express my service through the Army or the Marine Corps. This deep heart for service which I have; I got it in the Presbyterian Church. Thank you.