Diane Zaerr Brenneman is a teacher and pastor. She now works as a family navigator for the University of Iowa Hospital, supporting families whose children have special needs. She lives near Wellman, Iowa, where she farms with her husband Doug, and watches her young adult children, Brent and Maureen, take off on their own. She is a member of West Union Mennonite Church, Parnell, Iowa, where an awesome youth group thrives and grows together.

Going to convention with youth is an experience like no other. One of my favorite memories of Kansas City actually happened in the hotel after the long day of worship, seminars and service projects. My feet had blisters, I was hot and sore from our service project, and I wanted to sleep as soon as possible, but we had a tradition that the girls would meet in my hotel room to check in, pray and reflect on what we learned that day. So in they bounced, all nine of them, and flounced onto the beds. That day the adults had processed the forbearance resolution, and two of our mature youth were interested in that discussion and had spent the day listening. Because they wanted to talk about it, the male sponsors brought the boys in to join us.

I was so struck by the caring way the youth shared with others a summary of the issues and the day and the way it impacted them.

I knew our youth don’t all believe the same about sexuality’s expressions, and yet they all listened and shared respectfully. I tear up when I remember that evening. These youth will lead the church of Jesus Christ into the future with love and care for all!