I get asked by some that have never lived in a Rural area what it is like to serve in Rural Youth Ministry. I love it. I also understand that not everyone is wired the way I am. Here is a short list of some of the things those of us in Rural Youth Ministry encounter on an everyday basis:
A- Alpacas that you feed for a church member in the hospital, and church members help to shear the wool off of, while that church member is recovering…
B- Buggies full of Amish people on the highway (our version of a traffic jam).
C- Covered Bridges are the #1 tourism draw for my area. (see coveredbridges.com)
D- Deer Season Opening day may as well be a State Holiday, because your schools will be 1/3 of normal attendance
E- Eagles (the birds, not the band) visit our area in January and February, and it is kind of a big deal.
F- Festivals for anything you could imagine (and some things you can’t)
G- Gardens can be as big as you choose to deal with.
H- Help. There is just something about a small rural community that comes together to help one of their own.
I- Insurance is insanely expensive in my county due to super-high cancer rates (Agricultural and Industrial run-off into the river that is the main water source for the area).
J- Jails with “character”. I recently visited a community that was founded in the 1820’s that decided to build a jail in 1873. It was one room. The old jail in my community is now a bed and breakfast…
K- Keeping things how they “used to be” is a bigger deal in many rural communities than we can imagine.
L- Lovers lane. Every community has its own remote spot that teenagers gravitate to…
M-Mice WILL be in your house, if there are no cats around (feral or domesticated).
N- “New” is treated as a dirty word, in many situations.
P- Pastor is used mostly as a term of respect around town.
Q- Quail is one of the many things you hunt and eat here…
R- Rattlesnake baby or king snake baby? They look alike, but make sure you make the right identification…
S- Sunrises and sunsets. I am aware that these happen everywhere. However, some of the most beautiful ones I have seen have been in rural areas.
T- Tires taller than your head are on many pickup trucks in your town…
U- Uppity. I hear this word used more often than I can count.
V- Verizon. Through a combination of buyouts and dumb luck, Verizon has managed to have coverage in a lot of rura areas in the US. Just not the county where I live.
W- Wealth is often defined in different terms than just money. It could be land, herd size, or something else.
X-X-rays that are at the nearest hospital…45 minutes away.
Y- Yellow-belly catfish freshly caught, breaded in a frying pan. (Don’t hate until you’ve tried it.)
Z- Zipper breaks on your favorite Carhartt Bibs? I know a guy that can get it fixed.