So we have this friend and his name is Ryan. We met him when he had just finished 9th Grade and Jeremy had just started his internship at Eastport Bible Church. My first impressions of Ryan were that he was a friendly and well-liked kid who really loved life and candy.
Ryan would end up being one of those kids that was always around. The second summer after Jeremy was hired as Youth Pastor we took him and a big group of his friends who were our youth group students to Brazil for a Missions Trip. Even though it was forever ago, I remember thinking it was so great that we got to love these kids and point them to Jesus. We also started to see really great things grow in their lives and in their hearts.
Back to our friend.
It took me awhile to dig up all of these fun pictures.
And pardon the quality, they were shot on my tiny little point and shoot Canon ages ago.
Even back then, Ryan had some solid skills in expressing his true emotions, which would probably come in handy for his future.
Thankfully, Ryan stuck around over the years.
Our families were pretty close and we always loved sharing special times with our friends the Daleys.
Ryan would be there for many, many youth group activities and even ended up coming to Puerto Rico with us for another Missions Trip years later. He was great with the kids and we had a lot of fun. I distinctly remember taking time on that trip to talk to him about future things.
It was a bit after that, that Ryan shared he had a passion for possibly pursing acting and the arts.
He’d end up going to get his Bachelor’s in business, but over the years, we saw his desire to try acting grow into a stronger and stronger passion.
After college, Ryan moved to the City and entered a three year acting conservatory program at Stella Alder Studios. We’d catch up with him when he was home for holidays and we always loved encouraging him as he pursued his acting dreams.
In a fun turn of events, Ryan still came around to hang out with our Youth ministry. Last year, he was a small group leader for Christian’s cabin of friends at Breakaway and I have to say my heart was full as life seemed to come full circle. The teen that we invested in so many years ago, was now an adult and investing in our son.
Ryan’s continued to pursue acting. And he shared a few months ago that he was acting in and producing a play this month. So on Sunday, Jeremy and I drove in to check it out. Since we were early, we picked up food at a place called Creamline and their buffalo chicken sandwiches and sweet potato fries were kind of amazing.
And then we walked over to the church where Ryan’s play was taking place. In a fun turn of events, we hadn’t told him we were coming and he happened to look up and see us on the street and it really was a fun sort of surprise reunion.
And as for the play? It was AWESOME. The setting was pretty intimate, so we found ourselves right up where all the action was happening. I will be honest, the language was a bit strong at times. But besides that, I really got a lot out of it. The play was called, “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.” It had a lot of religious references, which resonated with me. There were some funny moments and some serious moments all as we watched the story unfold.
And as for Ryan? He was also amazing. He played the role of Judas and it was really cool to finally get to see him do what he’s always loved.
Ryan Daley, we are so proud of you! Being in Youth Ministry long term means you really get to connect with and love you students well past their Jr. and Sr. High years. We are so thankful that we’ve gotten to know and love Ryan and more-so just see him live out the gifts and talents that God placed in his heart long ago.