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GIVING AND RECEIVING AT THE DALE HOUSE

Spring 2014 | Vol. 28 Issue 1

JONI EARECKSON TADA’S YOUNG LIFE JOURNEY REACHING KIDS IN JESUS’ HOMETOWN THIS YEAR’S ALUMNI AND FRIENDS AWARDS


contents SPRING 2014

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REACHING KIDS IN JESUS’ HOMETOWN

In many ways, Joni Eareckson Tada’s journey with Young Life has come full circle. From her involvement before her accident, to her continued support of Young Life’s Capernaum ministry, she has been a great fan of the mission for more than four decades. We are pleased to offer this look into the life and ministry of one of our greatest ambassadors! Photo courtesy of Joni and Friends

In 2014, Young Life is reaching out to kids right where the Savior Himself ministered.

YOUNG LIFE ALUMNI AWARDS A closer look at this year’s honorees.

FOLLOWING HIS OWN YELLOW BRICK ROAD

Over the course of a decade, a young man sees a “house” become a home.

IT’S ABOUT FAR MORE THAN THE SHIRT A chance encounter and a T-shirt lead to intentional inclusion.

“THE GREATER, GRANDER, MOSAIC”

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ABOUT THE COVER

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IN EVERY ISSUE

FROM THE PRESIDENT IN YOUR OWN WORDS YOUNG LIFE LITE MISSION NEWS FROM THE GRAPEVINE YOUNG LIFE SPOKEN HERE PARTING SHOTS


fromthepresident SOLDIERS, ATHLETES AND FARMERS “Reflect on what I am saying, for the Lord will give you insight into all this.” — The apostle Paul in his second letter to Timothy (2 Timothy 2:7, NIV) Most of us have been fortunate to have older men and women in our lives who have served as coaches or mentors. Perhaps it’s been our parents or grandparents; maybe a teacher or athletic coach; a pastor or Young Life leader; a neighbor, friend or someone who actually was assigned to us in our organization to mentor us on a formal basis. A couple thousand years ago, the apostle Paul mentored Timothy, a younger man whom Paul believed could be a key leader in the developing church. In his two letters to Timothy, Paul’s confidence and hope in his protégé are clearly evident and he pours into Timothy encouragement and exhortation on how his young follower should live and lead. Paul gives Timothy three examples of what he wants for him and tells him to reflect on these: a soldier, an athlete and a farmer. What was good for Timothy seems good for us. As we reflect, what can we learn from these three as we live and lead where God has planted us? 1. To succeed, all three face suffering. Both soldiers and athletes face suffering in training and in battle and competition. The farmer works hard morning to night and at times suffers the devastation of weather, crop failure, falling prices, etc. Not one of these three examples lives an easy life. Neither will we! “Life is hard but God is good” has been a truth I have tightly held. If we expect life to be easy and free from stress and suffering, we will not be prepared for what’s ahead and we will live a life filled with A soldier, an disappointments. But to know that God is good and He knows us, cares for us, and athlete and empowers us is a comfort that enables us to face suffering and hardship.

a farmer … what can we 2. A clear focus is a must. The soldier does not get entangled in civilian affairs. He or she serves at the pleasure of the commanding officer. An athlete focuses on the prize. learn from A farmer takes care of business. We must focus first and foremost on Jesus and His these three call in our lives. He is Lord! We can’t be overcome by distractions any more than can a as we live soldier on active duty, an athlete preparing for the Olympics or a farmer taking care of his or her crops or herds. and lead where God 3. No one can cut corners. If you are a soldier or athlete, you either put the hours into has planted training or you don’t. You can lose the battle or the athletic contest on the training grounds or in the weight room before you even enter the stadium. A farmer has to us?”

follow the plan: preparing the soil in a precise manner and caring for the crop over time before he or she can enjoy the results. In his first letter to Timothy, Paul tells him, “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things ... “ (1 Timothy 4:8). Just as we know that if we want to be healthy we will have to exert discipline to say yes to the right foods and no to the wrong ones and have the courage to exercise even when we don’t feel like it, so we must bring that courage and discipline in following Christ. I’m certainly not implying that following Jesus comes down to our own efforts alone. Our growth comes about by Christ’s work in our lives. But our desire to learn from the soldier, the athlete and the farmer is of great importance to Paul as he mentors Timothy and us. “Reflect on what I am saying,” writes Paul, “for the Lord will give you insight into all this.”

Denny Rydberg Young Life President

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inyourownwords OUR READERS SHARE THEIR THOUGHTS

Growing Closer

“I Let Down All My Walls”

I graduated high school in 1987 and was part of a Young Life group in Alexandria. I have fond memories of going to the weekly Bible study, to camp and learning about the meaning of being a Christian. I also developed friends in high school — and if we weren’t part of Young Life we probably wouldn’t have spoken to each other! I enjoyed learning about Christ and being part of a group where there were no cliques. As a Catholic, Young Life taught me how to be closer to people of other denominations and respect everyone. I think this is an awesome program and it helps kids find a place in life. Young Life made me want to attend my church more and grow with Christ. Young Life also helped me grow in my beliefs and understand all denominations out there because we are united through Christ.

life-changing decision I ever made. In the matter of a few short months, my life took a complete 180-degree turn. I went from being suicidal and depressed to being joyous and having an enthusiasm for life. Jesus Christ saved my life. I’m now in college and plan to be a Young Life leader soon. I cannot thank the organization enough for giving me a passion to live again.

Growing up I struggled to find an identity. My parents divorced when I was just five years old. It devastated and crushed me. I was a socially awkward, misunderstood child and it took me a long time to get past that. Going into high school I was still unsure of who I was. I continually struggled with depression, death, suicide and my father’s alcoholism. It was the worst period of time I can even imagine. My friends in Young Life were relentless in their demands for me to come to club. It took me a long time to break down and come but nothing could have been better. No one person, or group of people, had ever shown me love like I experienced there. Mondays were suddenly the best days of the week. I couldn’t have imagined the atmosphere and acceptance I felt. I let down all my walls, I laughed, I cried, and through it all my leaders and friends accepted me. It was powerful. I went to fall weekend my junior year of high school, where I accepted Christ into my life. It was the most

— Jacob Webb Cincinnati, Ohio

— Maria Sarant Portsmouth, Va.

younglife.org P.O. Box 520 Colorado Springs, CO 80901

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is a publication of Young Life, a mission devoted to introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith. Relationships magazine is published three times a year (spring, fall and winter) by Young Life. If you’re receiving duplicate copies or would like to switch over to the electronic version, please contact the Young Life Mission Assistance team at (877) 438-9572. We can also help you with the change of address or giving information.

Publisher/President Denny Rydberg

Copy Editor Jessica Williams

Executive Editor Terry Swenson

Lead Designer Jason O’Hara

Lead Editor Jeff Chesemore Coordinator Donna McKenzie

Contributing Photographers Córdova Photography Joni and Friends Jason O’Hara

Young Life is a Charter Member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.


younglifelite BY STACY WINDAHL

COUNTING YOUR CHICKENS Costco rotisserie chickens (or just “CRC” among fans) are the gold standard at Costco warehouses across the United States. The chickens are priced at a cheap (cheep) $4.99 nationwide, which explains how they roast, wrap and retail 60 million of them a year. The birds are so popular they have their own Facebook page with 2,857 “likes” at last count. That number grew by dozens after the 2013 Desert Cities (California) Young Life Round Up held at the home of Gerianne and Bill Wolfs where the CRCs became MVPs. The Wolfs were expecting 240 guests for a barbecue dinner at 7:00 that Tuesday. At 4:30 p.m., Area Director Kevin Sleeper began praying over the tables set in the Wolfs’ backyard when, he said, “I had the distinct impression that the caterer wasn’t going to make it and that it would be OK.” At 5:00 p.m., with the caterer still a no show, Gerianne and Kevin contacted their committee chairperson, Greg Gritters, who conveyed the good and bad news. Good news: The caterer had the date. The bad? It was from last year’s contract. Committee member Elaine Lovelace recalled, “When we arrived at the Wolfs’ home an hour before the banquet, Kevin met me at the door and calmly told me that there had been a miscommunication with the caterer. ‘Start praying.’ So, I went out in the backyard. All the tables, chairs and lights were set up and ready to go, but there was no barbecue food anywhere.” Minutes before, Kevin had gathered a group of staff and volunteers for prayer and deployment. Some of them would remain to greet guests. Kevin would prepare the kitchen and grill. Gerianne, Gritters and his wife, and a few others were dispatched in two directions to local Costcos to buy 60 rotisserie chickens and enough sausages, potato salad, beans, rolls, dessert and paper products to serve 240 guests — which they would do an hour later. Gerianne said she felt like she was on an episode of Supermarket Sweep racing through Costco. Without an advance order, Costco limits shoppers to 10 chickens, so the two groups spilt further to gather up 10 birds apiece. An agitated woman followed Gerianne down an aisle asking for just one chicken to feed her family. Over her shoulder Gerianne apologized, “I have 240 people arriving at my home for dinner in 40 minutes.” The woman gave up the chase. No harm. No fowl. By the time the shoppers had returned to the Wolfs’, guests had been welcomed and seated. In no time, sausages and beans were warmed, chickens were quartered, and dinner was plated. One plate at a time, area kids served the waiting guests. Dinner had been delayed by only 15 minutes. No one noticed. “What the enemy meant for evil, God meant for good!” said Lovelace. “The kids served all 240 guests with smiles and people were so impressed by them and the food. It could not have been a better evening.” Later that night, the committee, leaders and staff celebrated the results of its most successful banquet to date, doubling the total of new gifts and pledges raised the year before. What could have been egg on the area’s face instead become its golden opportunity — evidence of God’s faithfulness and the answer to the age-old question: The (Costco) chicken came first.

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In 2014, Young Life is reaching out to kids right where the Savior Himself ministered.

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BY NED ERICKSON

Yousef and Hunter at the 2012 Young Life Celebration.

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n the courtyard, girls with backpacks like turtle shells giggle around a smartphone while boys zigzag a soccer ball through the crowd. A short distance away, another boy leans against a rail, doing his best to look cool. A teacher passes two shy girls who immediately get quiet … another morning in the city where Jesus was a teenager. The city of Nazareth, the size of Gary, Ind., sits in the middle of the thin strip of land known as Israel, a country where history is measured in millennia. Nazareth proper is Arab, 70 percent Muslim, 30 percent Christian (Christians make up less than 4 percent of the total population in Israel). Counter to what you might expect, however, it’s peaceful between the groups. Busy streets mind you, but Nazareth has the feel of a place where you could learn a trade, make an honest living and raise a family. It’s not hard to imagine similar thoughts going through the minds of Jesus’ parents when they moved here two thousand years ago. The craggy hills, the breathtaking view over the plains of Armageddon, it’s easy to picture Jesus as a teenager leaning against a rock and gazing up at the stars His forefathers once gazed at, the same ones He had made … Jesus was here. 2,000 years later, so is Young Life.

“Who is telling them?” As a high school freshman, Hunter Lambeth could hardly wait to go to Young Life. The youngest of three children, he went to the first club and never looked back. “I was a Young Life junkie,” recalled Lambeth. Club, Campaigners, camp, work crew, summer staff, he did it all. In 1993, Lambeth, having graduated from college, accompanied his mother on a Holy Land tour. “Of course, you come and see all these famous places, but what drew me was seeing all the young people who didn’t know Jesus.” One day, the tour group crossed from Bethlehem (in the West Bank) to Jerusalem. “Back then, there wasn’t a wall but a fence. I remember at the checkpoint on the right side were all these Palestinian kids, and on the other side were Israeli soldiers, teenagers, too. They were throwing stones and shooting rubber bullets at each other. And in my youth ministry mind I was asking, ‘Who is telling them there is a better way? Who is telling them about the Prince of Peace?’” Your God has healed you Yousef was one of those stone-throwing Palestinians. In his words, “I was a lost teenager crying out for someone to show me the truth.” To that point all his experience had shown him were tanks, machine guns, hatred, oppression


Kids from Nazareth Young Life enjoy Windy Gap in 2013.

and fear. By the time Yousef reached his teens, he’d been detained by Israeli soldiers, kidnapped at gunpoint by extremists, and paralyzed from the legs down by a strange, undiagnosed autoimmune disease. For one year, Yousef was bedridden. Medicine, therapy, nothing worked; until one day, in a scene that could have been taken directly from the pages of Scripture, a priest and pastor came together to the hospital and prayed for him. The next day, Yousef walked! “Your God has healed you” were the words the doctor wrote on his discharge papers. The community marveled. “Even as I was unfaithful to Him, God has always been faithful to me,” said Yousef. He considered going into the priesthood. For a time, he trained as a monk. Eventually, he was steered toward Bethlehem Bible College. He found a job at a home for special needs children called House of Hope. Most had been abandoned by their parents, but not by God. Yousef made sure of that. Young Life was made for him In 2006, Pete Hardesty, area director in Harrisonburg, Va., traveled to Israel during his sabbatical. “About the second day, I thought, ‘I have to figure out a way to get my leaders over here.’ It was like everything I had read in the Bible

Enjoying Young Life club in Palestine.

went Technicolor.” A year later, twenty-five students from James Madison University boarded a plane. They stayed at Bethlehem Bible College and served special needs children at, of all places, the House of Hope. “That’s where I met Yousef,” said Hardesty. “We became friends almost immediately. As we walked around Bethlehem, Yousef knew everyone. I’m not sure if he was made for Young Life; I think Young Life was made for him!” For twelve years, Lambeth had been serving as the director of Young Life Expeditions, a ministry that fields and facilitates short-term service trips to Young Life areas around the world. Through his travels, he had connected with a group from the Middle East called the Sounds of Hope. “They were wonderful people from every tradition — Greek Orthodox, Catholic, Coptic, Evangelical — but no one was doing youth ministry.” To Lambeth’s surprise, many believed a relational approach was the perfect strategy to reach this part of the world. With this encouragement, Lambeth returned to the States and gathered a team of Young Life staff to conduct relational ministry seminars. Pete Hardesty was among them. When Yousef learned Young Life was coming to Bethlehem Bible College, he made sure to get a front-row seat. “Yousef’s story is so incredible,” said Lambeth. “This Continued on page 7

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guy, who endured so many things, now is a bridge builder with a vision of reaching every type of person. When you think of being made for this, Yousef was made for this.” Lambeth and Hardesty made arrangements to bring Yousef to the United States for training. He went to camp with Hardesty’s area, and in the fall of 2009, Yousef returned to his hometown and started Young Life in the West Bank. Meanwhile, Lambeth wondered if God was calling him to move to Israel. He talked it over with his wife and daughter. After much prayer, they were all in. “Lauri and Haley have been true champs in this whole deal,” Lambeth said. In August 2012, they arrived. A crowning moment At the 2012 Young Life Celebration in Orlando, Fla., Lambeth and Yousef were standing in a hallway outside the main ballroom amidst a swarm of flags, 83 in all, the number of countries where Young Life had ministry. They were holding two: Israel’s and Palestine’s. When the doors opened, they walked in holding hands. It was a powerful picture of how Jesus transcends politics, ethnicity and culture, of how Young Life is about every kid. But the most powerful moment happened afterward, when, in a small room where the flags had been placed, a group of friends and staff came together to pray. They prayed for the Middle East; they prayed for Palestinians, while Yousef quietly drifted over to a white flag with a blue Star of David in the center. He knelt on the ground and wept. Others came around him as Yousef prayed in Arabic for this country that represented such suffering to him and his people. He prayed they would know Jesus. Leaning in to the Gospel The Lambeths look at what is happening in the Middle East with a great deal of optimism. Last summer, 225 kids plus their leaders attended Young Life camps. Five staff are

currently serving through Young Life’s Developing Global Leaders initiative (a program which offers educational funds, life-skills mentoring and Young Life ministry training for the leaders of tomorrow). Even more encouraging, two local women have come on staff with Yousef. Leadership has bloomed to 28 Israeli and Palestinians. “Several of our leaders are kids who came to our first camp four years ago,” said Lambeth. “That is one of my favorite things about our leadership, that we are already seeing the circle completing itself, the multiplication and fruit of discipleship.” Lambeth continued, “Everything we plan and pray for is about raising up people from that part of the world. We consider the kids we are working with now as the leaders God will use in the future.” Back in the West Bank, a teenager juggles balloons in a jam-packed unfinished basement. Later, he and his friends listen to Yousef tell the story about Jesus’ conversation with the woman at the well (it happened just a few miles from here). After club, Yousef travels to Bethlehem to do contact work with Capernaum kids at the House of Hope. In the courtyard at Nazareth School, Hunter and Lauri stand in the middle of a throng of students, who are laughing at the couple’s Arabic and asking when club starts. The bell rings, and the students follow the Lambeths upstairs to an assembly hall where Hunter puts a picture on the screen. “What do you see?” he asks. There are whispers. Finger points. Then, ahs. More ahs as ninth- and tenthgraders notice not one face, but two — one young, one old. “So often we can look at the same picture but see entirely different things,” says Lambeth, putting another picture on the screen. A cross. “We see this picture and depending on our eyes, we can also see very different things. But Yasua [Jesus in Arabic] came so we could see things the way they really are.” The students lean forward. They want to hear the rest of the story. A story that began in this very place, a story that continues to be written.

To learn more about Young Life Middle East, Developing Global Leaders or how you can get involved, contact Hunter Lambeth at Hunter@intl.younglife.org.

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Lauri, Hunter and Haley in front of the Separation Wall in Bethlehem.


missionnews In the Winter 2013 edition of Relationships, we shared a story (“A Match Made in Heaven”) about how Jackie Tyner (far right)of Lake George, N.Y., gave her kidney to her former Young Life leader, Dawn Chase (right). Last year, Tyner learned she is also struggling with health issues. She was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia. Meanwhile, her husband, Randy, has been battling T-cell large granular lymphocytic leukemia for ten years and was laid off this past year. Needless to say, the financial strain has been immense. To learn more on how you can help, please check out Jackie’s Caring Bridge site: caringbridge.org/visit/jackietyner

Looking to see Young Life in action?

Check out the Young Life Vimeo page (vimeo.com/younglife) which features our latest visual gem, “The Big Dream.”

Planning a trip to Colorado Springs? If you are planning a trip to Colorado Springs, consider​the accommodations at the Young Life Park View house OR the St. Vrain Bungalow.

park view Rates are extremely reasonable and both houses are conveniently located across the street from the Service Center and are completely furnished. The Park View house is a family-friendly option as well! Single room or entire house rates are available.

Contact us for more information!

For questions, availability or to reserve a room, please call 719-381-1775 OR email stvrainbungalow@sc.younglife.org and parkview@sc.younglife.org!

the bungalow

younglife.org

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Alumni Young Life

Awards

Alec and Mary Hill

Janet and David Phillips

The Young Life Office of Alumni and Friends presents two awards annually to deserving alumni. The Young Life Distinguished Alumni Award goes to Alec and Mary Hill, while the recipients of The Alumni Service to Young Life Award are David and Janet Phillips. Each of these four individuals has exemplified the ideals of dedication to the mission. Jonathan Schultz, Alumni and Friends director, shares more about each of our worthy recipients. YOUNG LIFE DISTINGUISHED ALUMNI AWARD — ALEC AND MARY HILL As a teenager, Mary Hill attended Ingraham High School in Seattle. It was through the Young Life ministry there that she began a relationship with Jesus. A few years later, in another Seattle high school, her future husband, Alec, would serve as a volunteer Young Life leader. About his three years as a volunteer leader at Chief Sealth High School, Alec would later write, “Those years changed the trajectory of my life.” That trajectory would eventually lead Alec to the position he serves in today: President of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA®. Alec became president of InterVarsity in 2001. InterVarsity is a nondenominational ministry serving nearly 40,000 core students and faculty via 900 chapters on college campuses nationwide. He also serves on the board of Christianity Today International. Prior to joining InterVarsity, Alec served as dean of the School of Business and Economics and professor of Law and Ethics at Seattle Pacific University (SPU). In the early 1980s, he was a regional director with World Relief, resettling refugees from around the world. He has a J.D. from the University of Washington as well as a B.A. (history) and M.A. (theology) from SPU. Mary is certainly accomplished in her own right, as a signature member of the prestigious National Watercolor Society, with a B.A. (business) from Western Washington University and an MBA from SPU. Today, Alec and Mary live in Madison, Wisc. They are the proud parents of two adult daughters, Laura and Carolyn. Nearly four decades since he was a leader at Chief Sealth, Alec is still in contact with his Campaigner guys — enjoying a reunion just a few months ago. The Hills remain huge fans of the Young Life mission. We are grateful for Alec and Mary and their constant support of Young Life. ALUMNI SERVICE TO YOUNG LIFE AWARD — DAVID AND JANET PHILLIPS “What will Young Life be like in Virginia Beach in 1980? What about 1990? What are you going to do to make sure that teenagers in this town have the same opportunity to hear about Jesus that you did?” According to Virginia Beach

o to Life friends, g To visit the Alumn i and Friends website, join, update your information and reconnect with your Young

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Young Life Area Director Mike Terranova, these are the words Greg Kinberg (former Young Life COO and Virginia Beach founding area director) spoke to David Phillips. The year was 1973 and David was, according to Terranova, “a high school surfer kid from First Colonial High School.” More than four decades have passed since that challenge was issued, and David took them to heart. After coming to Christ in high school and later interning with Young Life in North Carolina, David found his calling was to business and the “supply side” of Young Life. In fact, for more than 40 years, David has continuously served Young Life in various roles including committee member, committee chair, golf tournament chair and “Taking Donors Seriously” committee member. David has also been a consistent golf sponsor, a faithful financial supporter and an incredible Young Life advocate to the Virginia Beach community. David and Janet met while in Campaigners in high school. Like David, Janet has also given

sacrificially to Young Life, first as a volunteer leader and then as a committee member the entire time David has been involved. Today, David and Janet have been married for 34 years and have three adult children, and two grandchildren. Not limited to committee roles, David recently offered his help at a local all-night Young Life event at a bowling alley; he covered the 1 a.m. shift as an adult supervisor! In the words of Mike Terranova, David “is simply joyful to see the work go forward and kids meet Christ. He has been such an encouragement to the staff and committee.” We all agree David and Janet have done quite well in living up to the challenge that Greg Kinberg gave David 42 years ago. Our thanks for being such faithful servants and partners in the mission.

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Joni and Ken


Joni Eareckson Tada has been a quadriplegic for 46 years, left paralyzed by a diving accident when she was 17. But her story of God’s sovereignty in suffering has become her hands and feet, reaching across the world and changing hearts and lives for Christ from the coast of California to the Gulf of Guinea in Africa. From the confines of her wheelchair, Joni has expanded God’s kingdom in ways she never dreamed possible. Over the last four decades, the Lord has used Joni as an international speaker, bestselling author, recording artist, painter, Christian ministry leader and tireless servant. This year, the ministry she founded — Joni and Friends — celebrates 35 years of sharing the hope and love of Christ with people all over the world who are affected by disability. While her arms and legs have limits, Joni’s vision is clear: bring Jesus up close and personal to those the world too often overlooks. And her heart’s course for the furthest-out ones was set long ago, through the pain of her own struggles and the power of the ministry of Young Life.

theology books and makes Him somebody you want to follow. Young Life showed me what a captivating person Jesus really is. Young Life shattered that stained glass.” Two years later, when tragedy shattered her world, it would be Joni’s relationship with Christ and her Young Life friends that helped her pick up the pieces.

THE END AND THE BEGINNING It was a hot July day in 1967, the summer after Joni’s high school graduation. The setting sun reflected off the Chesapeake Bay where Joni and her sister, Kathy, were swimming. Joni noticed a raft anchored a little ways offshore, and decided to swim out and dive off of it. Joni misjudged the depth of the water; her head hit bottom, and the impact fractured her spinal cord. She was paralyzed instantly. In a moment, Joni went from packing her SHATTERING THE STAINED GLASS bags for college and planning for her future to Joni was an active, typical teenager growing up in Baltimore, Md., being trapped in a hospital bed, waiting, hoping in the 1960s. She spent much of her time outdoors and with her and praying for physical healing that would family — horseback riding, backpacking, playing tennis, swimming never come. — and was captain of her lacrosse team at Woodlawn High School. She was in the hospital nearly two years, And she loved Young Life. during a time when many quadriplegics did not Her older sister, Kathy, attended Young Life with her friends, survive their injuries. Joni said when her life and Joni remembers longing to be old enough to go to club felt like chaos, her Young Life friends were a with her. constant support. “I was a spiritually aware kid, but not a believer,” Joni recalled. “It was my Young Life friends who came “I was so happy when I became a sophomore and got to join to the hospital. They were my most faithful Young Life. I understood it to be a great place to make friends. I visitors,” Joni said. “They brought their guitars, was so surprised to see many of my field hockey buddies there Seventeen magazines and Bingo, and didn’t my first night of club. We sat together, laughed, and had fun. treat me like an invalid or a cripple or sick. They She heard about an upcoming Young Life trip to Natural treated me like Joni. They related to me as Bridge, Va., and begged her mom to let her go. It was a turning though I were still whole and complete. I didn’t point in Joni’s faith. sense an ounce of pity from my Young Life “Carl Nelson was speaking,” Joni said. “I remember sitting friends, and I loved that.” there, hugging my knees on the hardwood floor, and listening Joni wrestled for years with questions to Carl tell us we needed to measure our lives against [the about God’s sovereignty in her suffering. She impossibly high bar of] the Ten Commandments. And I thought, remembers lying in her hospital bed, unable ‘I’m not going to make it.’ to move on her own or do anything to care for “Later, my counselor in cabin time explained that’s why Jesus herself, and battling thoughts of suicide. came, and it was like a giant light bulb came on. That’s what my One memory in particular brought her both parents were hinting around about all those years? That’s what pain and promise as she walked through the all those years of going to church meant? It struck me afresh darkest moments: and anew. I happily and readily embraced Him. I felt a change “I went to Star Ranch [Young Life’s first immediately. camp] as a junior, and Chuck Reinhold was the “I remember singing, ‘And Can It Be That I Should Gain?’ club leader. We spent the day hiking to the top in club that weekend. When we got to the line ‘My chains fell of Cheyenne Mountain. I remember my muscles off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee,’ I were aching and I was tired. At the top, the view remember literally feeling my chains fall off. There wasn’t any was stunning. It was breathtakingly beautiful. major sin in my life, but I knew I was free.” “As Chuck started talking to us, he singled From there, Joni attended club and Campaigners every me out and said, ‘You’re going to go places, Joni. week, immersing herself in the ministry and relationships that God is going to do great things with you.’ That introduced her to life and joy. was such a big deal. My heart was bursting with “Before Young Life, I thought of Jesus as a stiff, religious, joy! It was one of those inhalation moments — I arcane figure,” Joni said. “I related to Him more as stained glass was on cloud nine! than a real person. But Jesus is personal. He wants to relate to me “When I broke my neck the following year, I and me to Him. Following Him is not following a list of dos and quickly recalled that moment. Chuck came often don’ts. It’s being led by a real person. to the hospital to visit me, but we never talked “Young Life takes Him off the shelf and out of the dusty about it. I was just afraid he’d have to recant Continued on page 13

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what he said, and I didn’t want to embarrass him. I grieved over it. I felt cheated. I didn’t feel that way about my circumstances at all — in fact, I wanted to die! “Later in my life, I finally looked back on that and could say, ‘Yes, Jesus, your hand was on me all the way.’ It was a beautiful moment.”

just communication; it became her creative expression. Soon, her drawings and paintings were on exhibit professionally. And her connection to the world began. Barbara Walters heard about Joni and interviewed her on the Today show in 1974. After the interview, Walters encouraged Joni to write down her story; Joni’s autobiography was published in 1976. Soon after, a movie about her life was made. As her story became known across the world, Joni found the MOVING FORWARD outpouring of need and support overwhelming. She wanted to In 1969, Joni was finally released from the hospital respond and help those who, like her, needed hope in the midst of to resume her “new normal” life. Answers to some suffering. In 1979, Joni and Friends was born. of the hard questions she had about her faith Wheels for the World, Cause4Life global internships, were coming to light, and her Christian life, she TeamMED, the Christian Institute on Disability, Church Relations, says, was getting back on track. and Family Retreats — each of these ministries makes up and Joni became a junior counselor to a group of expands the Joni and Friends mission: to communicate the Gospel sophomore girls from Randallstown High School and equip Christ-honoring churches worldwide to evangelize and and went with them to Frontier Ranch in her disciple people affected by disabilities. wheelchair. To this day, Joni and her “girls” still As Joni’s ministry grew, a high school history teacher and keep in touch, and many of them serve now as football coach named Ken Tada stepped into the picture. volunteers for Joni and Friends’ Family Retreats. Ken had known Joni and her story from a distance for years. Joni is grateful her Young Life leaders pointed His first introduction was impersonal — she was a face on a poster her to Jesus before her accident, so that when in the window of a Christian bookstore he drove past every day tragedy cast deep shadows over her faith, she on his way to work at John Burroughs High School. In 1979, he saw knew where to find the Light. her introduce her film at a Young Life banquet and was impressed “What we win kids with is what we win them by her spirit and message. to,” Joni said. “If we win them to games and fun, Ken had also become a Christian through Young Life, but in a to being cool and cool leaders, then when they way less typical. break their neck at 17, it’s not fun anymore. It’s not His senior year in college, two of his good friends, Nobie Hill, cool anymore. who was on Young Life staff, and his brother Eddie, a Young Life “The context is important, but I’m so grateful volunteer leader, invited Ken to help out on a Young Life weekend my leader didn’t win me with just games and fun. retreat. Ken wasn’t familiar at all with the ministry, and the My leader won me with the Gospel. She won me weekend opened his eyes in more ways than one. with Jesus. It was so helpful to me that my leader “I had a biology midterm that Monday but since they said it made Christ central. When you win people to was a “retreat,” I thought I’d have a chance to study,” Ken Jesus, they are drawn to Jesus when tragedy and recalled. “Turns out, I didn’t pick up a book the whole weekend. suffering hit.” The excitement, the energy level, kids piling on top of us — it And that’s been Joni’s mission ever since — was nonstop! to win people to Jesus. During her rehabilitation “That Saturday night after listening to Randy Giusta give the after her accident, one of the skills Joni learned message, we had quiet time. I remember going outside, sitting on was writing with a pen between her teeth. She a rock — I know exactly where I was — and seeing a shooting star. began using this newfound ability for more than It was at that moment I accepted Christ as my Savior. I failed my

Joni on horseback in high school

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Painting in the ’80s


midterm, but got something much better in return.” Ken said Young Life’s clarity of message pulled together his head and heart at just the right time. “Many of us are introduced to church and religious things early in life, and they don’t click. Young Life is where it clicked for me,” Ken said. “This was the first time I understood the Gospel. I knew this was very real. The message was real. It spoke directly to me. I knew I could have a personal relationship with the God of the universe through Jesus Christ.” Ken became a Young Life volunteer leader at his high school, where he taught for 32 years. Ken and Joni finally met officially at a surprise birthday party thrown for Joni by some mutual friends. They connected, began a friendship that blossomed into love and married in 1982.

This spring Joni and Ken joined the Young Life Capernaum Board, and Ken believes the connection between their ministry and the mission of Young Life is invaluable to those they serve. “I think there is a wonderful relationship between the two,” Ken said. “We follow the mandate of Luke 14 [inviting everyone into the “great banquet”], and we feel our responsibility is going out and equipping folks to do the same. If we can help folks doing Capernaum and make their job easier, we will lend a hand. “And we know it works both ways. They are speaking to a group of young people we might not have access to. A young person finishes a Family Retreat with us, and when they go back home, we COMING FULL CIRCLE send them to Capernaum. What a great way for Now 64 and 67, the Tadas have been married 31 years. Ken serves them to plug in.” as director of Ministry Development for Joni and Friends alongside Joni and Ken find humble satisfaction in seeing his wife, and they are thrilled Young Life shares their passion the Lord continue to allow them to proclaim His through its Capernaum ministry. name in unexpected places. Most recently, the “In the early ’80s, I was in San Jose with Nick Palermo Oscar-nominated (then rescinded) song “Alone Yet (founder of Capernaum, Young Life’s ministry with teens with Not Alone” sung by Joni, for the film of the same disabilities),” Joni said. “He was picking up his kids in a big, old name, introduced her to a whole new generation of van for club, and I was so impressed. I knew what Young Life had people who’d never heard her story before. meant to me, and I never dreamed Young Life and this vision While hers is a sacred platform, it isn’t new. could connect. To see it in action, I was over the moon. I had no For most of her life, Joni has been watching God idea he’d take Capernaum so far.” work through her suffering. And even though her Joni remembers coming full circle with Young Life when she front-row seat is a wheelchair, the view spoke at the all-staff conference in 2004. She was thrilled to be is eternal. able to “make a big deal” about Capernaum from the platform. “My friend Steve Estes coined a phrase 40 Last October, the Young Life Capernaum staff took a course years ago and I’ve been saying it ever since: ‘God from Joni and Friends’ Christian Institute on Disability titled, permits what He hates, to accomplish that which “Beyond Suffering.” Now Joni and Friends and Young Life are He loves.’ That’s my mantra. If I were to sum up my strategizing ways for club kids who graduate from Capernaum to life, that would be it. assimilate into their Family Retreat program. “I’m so honored God has given me this platform “So that’s really the cherry on top,” Joni said of the from my wheelchair. It’s odd that it’s a wheelchair; collaboration. “I love the way Young Life wants to include every it’s odd that it’s suffering. It’s not what I thought kid — not just the athletic or cliques at high school who are easy it would’ve been. But that’s the point of God doing to reach, but the unreachable, the unlovely, the isolated, the something beyond what we can ask or imagine. He disabled. Young Life exists to make Jesus personal to every kid. sees the greater, grander mosaic.” That’s the power of Young Life.” If you would like to know more about the ministry of Joni and Friends, please visit their website at joniandfriends.org. Speaking at the 2004 Young Life All Staff Conference

The Tadas in El Salvador, pray over a young friend in his new wheelchair

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WHAT I BRING AS A TRIP LEADER TO CAMP

BY SEAN MCGEVER

Editor’s Note: This summer, leaders all over the world will take thousands of kids to Young Life camp. Before they step foot on the bus, they think through every aspect of camp and plot out what they’ll bring to help make it the best week of kids’ lives. Sean McGever, Young Life area director in Phoenix, Ariz., shares his list below from his many years of wisdom making the annual trek with campers. The article originally appeared on his blog, YLHelp. Tomorrow we leave for our summer Young Life trip, including the 15-hour (hopefully, not longer!) bus ride. Here are a couple of things (in addition to the normal stuff) I bring as a leader: For the Bus Ride • All of the camp health / insurance forms (of course) • Blank camp forms (just in case) • Pens for camp forms • An “inverter” for the bus (plug it in a car socket and then you can plug a normal 120V plug into it) • Bags, tape, markers, etc., to collect electronics (Kids’ electronics are collected and stored upon arrival at camp, so as not to distract kids from the program) • A head lamp for late-night spot checking for various things on the bus • DVDs of fun animated movies While at Camp • Pocket spiral notebooks for all of our leaders to take notes in leader meetings • More pens for the notebooks • Extras of everything campers need, since the leaders will end up giving their stuff to the kids • If possible, money for a tab at the snack bar so leaders can do one on ones there (Leaders meet with kids during the week to see how they are processing the message. The tab would help leaders buy kids a milkshake, etc., while they’re meeting.) • Video camera (my phone) to video individual kids after Say-So for a 30- to 60-second clip to show committee and donors P.S. Two-sentence soapbox moment? If you lead in a club and are coming to camp, please do not come just to be the video/camera person. You need to LEAD while at camp … be involved in the middle of every activity Sean (right) and kids at Woodleaf and lead by example.

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IN THIS TOGETHER BY MELANIE HARRAH

I am a wife, a mom of three, and a YoungLives leader. I had a particularly bad day at work today. See, I am also a funeral director. Today I helped one of our girls bury her baby. I walked her into the chapel and held her tight as she wept at the sight of her son in his little white casket. Tomorrow, I will lead her family in procession to the cemetery where she will say goodbye. Right now she is asleep on my couch because she can’t bear to go home. This is the second time we have been through this with one of our YoungLives girls. I was struck by an epiphany as I watched Mandy today; her knees knocking and body shaking, trying to simply have the power to stand up. Blue Converse don’t match caskets. Rite Aid pink hair dye doesn’t match a cemetery. Low-slung jeans don’t match an arrangement office. These girls don’t belong in my office and I’m mad they’ve been there! I’M SO MAD. I want to scream, and maybe did a little ... “This isn’t what I signed up for!” I signed up for park dates and club. I signed up for ice cream runs and camp. I signed up for play dates and earning the right to tell Mandy about Jesus. Not this. Never this. Her family thinks I’m just so wonderful for loving on her and taking care of her and inside I am screaming and clawing and wanting to run away. This is too real. This is too ugly and raw. I am not equipped to be all she needs me to be. And then when my tantrum is over, in the quiet I hear, “Yes, you did


A MEETING OF THE HEARTS

BY CHRIS LASSITER

Mark Thannisch had never seen such a little bit of money go such a long way. A businessman from Austin, Texas, Thannisch likes to see the difference his charitable giving makes firsthand. Even if it means hopping on a plane to Nicaragua. And that’s where Hermes — the student Thannisch sponsors through Young Life’s Developing Global Leaders initiative (DGL) — is pursuing a business administration degree. The DGL program helps students involved in Young Life in developing countries receive a college education that would otherwise be Hermes unaffordable. Each year, 100 students from around the globe are chosen for DGL based on leadership, academic ability, involvement in Young Life, spiritual maturity and financial need. Hermes is one of six children in Matagalpa, Nicaragua. He met Christ at a Young Life camp in 2007 and has been involved with the ministry, known locally as Vida Joven, for the past six years. Hermes said, “DGL was the biggest opportunity of my life.” Although Thannisch’s Spanish was as limited as Hermes’ English, their first face-to-face encounter was a conversation Thannisch will never forget. “I asked him what he was up to,” Thannisch said. “You would expect answers like, ‘I’m studying hard’ and all that kind of stuff. He said, ‘What’s going on with me is that I’m trying to put together a Christmas party for the kids in the barrio.’” Hermes explained that for $150 he could feed the 300 kids in his barrio, and he already had $20 toward that goal. Although Thannisch had already helped sponsor Hermes, he felt compelled to reach into his pocket again. “I had some cash on me. I said, ‘Go have your party,’” said Thannisch, who watched Hermes’ eyes well up with tears in response to his generosity. “He was able to take care of all those kids. He sent me pictures after. With the extra money, he said he was able to buy them all presents. This was the first time many of them had gotten a present in their lives.” Thannisch is involved in lots of charitable youth work in Texas, but he gets most passionate about ministries he can see. That’s why he accepted Curtis Olson’s offer to fly to Nicaragua and check out Young Life’s work in Latin America. “Once I got down there, I started looking for ways I could get involved,” Thannisch said. “And Curtis put me on to the DGL program. You’ve got to be passionate about what you support, and this is a real passion I have.” Having been to Nicaragua, Thannisch wanted to pick someone in a place he had visited personally. And, as a businessman, Thannisch also wanted to support a student who was interested in business. Hermes, who is in contact with Thannisch several times a month, was the perfect fit. The interaction is important to Thannisch as a donor, because his charitable giving tends to follow his own heart. “The [charities] you really get passionate about are the ones you get to see run on the ground level,” Thannisch said. “Quite frankly I get irritated when charities say, ‘Give me your money and trust me.’” That wasn’t the case with Young Life. “They opened up everything and let me go down and see,” Thannisch said. And what he witnessed changed him forever. “Seeing what Hermes did was the greatest Christmas present I could have had,” Thannisch said. “I think I get more out of this than he does if you want to know the truth.” sign up for this.” Really, as unbearable as it is, who would run away from this? Haven’t we all been forced into the uncomfortable places in life just to find God more present there than anywhere? Of course He is here. As surely as He knit Mason together in Mandy’s womb, He also planned his homecoming. I know there is peace and rest in the understanding that God’s will is perfect and there are no accidents. I did sign up for this. I know, just as surely as I know my heart is beating, that God knit me together in my mother’s womb to be here, today, tucking Mandy in tonight,

guiding her tomorrow, and showing her Jesus every moment I can. Yes, I signed up for this. I was made for this. Our team here in Henderson, Ky., is amazing. They led the girls in a time of counseling. The girls have been rocked to the core and needed a time of sharing memories, talking and just being together. They all wrote encouraging letters to Mandy and then participated in a balloon release. The girls rallied around her today, forming a literal hedge of protection around her. This is bitter and we are all undone, but we are together.

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Nik Wright

FOLLOWING

HIS OWN

“I had an awareness there was a God, but I wasn’t sure He took too much interest in my life.” This was the mindset of 16-year-old Nik Wright, and little wonder, too, considering what life had shown him thus far. At 14, Wright had been kicked out of his house by parents who were struggling with substance abuse issues. He soon found himself living with an “uncle,” who was fresh out of prison and bouncing around from hotel room to hotel room. Out of necessity, he quickly learned his uncle’s trade — selling drugs to afford a place to stay each night. Not surprisingly, Wright became chemically dependent and dropped out of high school. “I was a pretty good student for a period of time. I had a 3.9 GPA, but after my sophomore year I dropped out completely in the heat of this different world I was learning about.” The situation went from bad to worse, Wright said, as those who were “taking care” of him returned to prison. “I ended up alone in some pretty vulnerable types of situations.” The lifestyle took its toll. After two years, he weighed 105 lbs. Hungry, angry, scared and completely alone, Wright showed up in Colorado Springs, Colo., at the doorstep of his grandfather, who immediately understood the seriousness of the situation. THERE BEGAN THE ROAD Wright’s grandfather brought him to the Dale House, a residential facility in town aimed at helping hurting kids and equipping them with the skills necessary for independent living. “That experience was my yellow brick road in this roundabout kind of way. The people at the Dale House welcomed me with open arms. There began the road … ” The path didn’t start out smoothly, however. Wright was, admittedly, not thrilled to be there. “I was a pretty angry and broken kid, and for the first few months, defiant and rebellious. I had a hard time with trust. But the leaders there were really persistent with me. They didn’t force anything on me, but they also didn’t waver.” One of those unwavering leaders was Drew Hill, currently a communications specialist and volunteer leader with Young Life. As Wright’s primary care counselor, Hill broke down walls with his younger friend through the power of laughter and music. “Drew would sit on the foot of my bed every morning and wake me up by singing country songs,” Wright recalled, “and I was not listening to country music at that point in my life!”

YELLOW BRICK ROAD

OVER THE COURSE OF A DECADE, A YOUNG MAN SEES A “HOUSE” BECOME A HOME. BY JEFF CHESEMORE


Wright often woke up to Hill’s reworked version of a popular country song: Good morning, beautiful / How was your night? / Mine was wonderful / Good morning, Mr. Wright! Unbeknownst to Wright, Hill was not only inviting him into the day, but into a life of hope. “Nik didn’t have a lot of people in his life telling him he’s worth something,” Hill said, “but inside he knew it. I was able to speak into that and tell him what I saw and tell him he was valuable because he was God’s child.” “I was confused by why these people who seemed very different from me cared about me and loved on me for no reason,” Wright said. “In my mind, my value was pretty low — I had been involved in all these bad things. It was confusing, but also really attractive.” “Nik wanted relationships and he was well liked by both the staff and other kids,” said Kevin Comiskey, program director at the Dale House, and Wright’s good friend. “And the routine of the Dale House was soothing to him.” That routine is an important part of the rehabilitation process for kids like Wright. “I learned how to eat at a dinner table,” he said. “I learned how to work and save money; and I learned how to have real relationships.” These lessons were preparing Wright for the greatest truth of all. COMING HOME Every summer, kids from the Dale House spend a week at Frontier Ranch, experiencing Young Life camp like thousands of other adolescents. When his week came, Wright was blown away. “Nik had never been any place like Frontier,” said Comiskey. “At meals they tell kids ‘it’s all you can eat.’ The night of the steak dinner — after all the other campers left and the work crew was clearing tables — Nik and the guys at our table just stayed and said ‘keep bringing us that steak!’ They could not believe it was all you can eat. Kids go to camp and they see the kingdom of God. They see there’s

another way — a whole other world they knew nothing about. From there they can choose: do I want to move into that world or not?” “I remember the sin talk,” Wright said. “I could get on board with that — I had this separation from God. I realized I have this choice. After the cross talk, I sat on this flatbed wagon in the infield, in those beautiful mountains, and had this visualization of God being this Father. I met Jesus there at Frontier Ranch and I could see — again on this yellow brick road — that God really had a hold on me.” The road allowed Wright to obtain his GED, enroll in community college, and pursue career opportunities. Throughout these post-Dale House years, Wright’s thoughts never strayed too far from the place where so many had poured into him. He longed to do the same for others. “Just like kids dream of being an astronaut, my dream was to come back and work at the Dale House ... and I got my dream!” In September of 2010, Wright returned and for the next two years, invested directly in kids the way Comiskey and Hill had invested in him. In 2012, he was promoted to residential team leader, a position which not only includes caring for the kids, but also leading the other leaders. “The exciting part is I have a purpose today. When I wake up in the morning, I know what I’m doing is kingdom work. It has eternal weight. Jesus had a special place in His heart for the widow and the orphan and marginalized people. The greatest commandments are to love Jesus and love people, and I’m trying to do that to the best of my ability. I believe I was made to do this.” “I have tangibly seen and experienced what this dark, broken world has to offer. I’ve also tangibly seen and experienced what an abundant life with Christ offers.” Armed with this knowledge, today Wright lovingly walks beside kids and leaders who are following their own yellow brick roads. Wright smiles as he lives out the truth he himself learned firsthand: “You can only love on somebody so long before they have to respond.”

In 1971, under the direction of longtime staff George and Martie Sheffer, and their son, George Sheffer III, Young Life launched the Dale House Project. Sheffer III, who oversaw the work for more than four decades, began the ministry as a response to the large amount of disaffected teenagers who, because they were runaways, not attending school, or even in and out of jail, were outside the scope of the traditional ministry. Comprised of three houses (on Dale Street), the ministry provides “a home away from home” for hurting kids, while training young leaders in residential and community ministry. The Dale House has a capacity for 18 residents at a time and hosts about 60 to 100 kids annually. The time spent there prepares kids for life awaiting them. Nik Wright and Kevin Comiskey “We are hard on them,” Comiskey said, “but not nearly as hard as the world is. They have a lot to learn in a short time, because they’re usually here six to nine months, then they’re emancipated. Work ethic is a huge struggle for kids. Many live on the edge of poverty, and if they don’t work, they don’t make it. It’s not all about work, but work gives you freedom of choices. “We have these kids and they’re each God’s kids. He wants His kids treated a certain way. We celebrate birthdays with kids who’ve never had a birthday cake. What a great deal! That’s what we get to do with these kids!” For the staff, the experience consists of a one-year training program, where they are immersed in the fields of psychology, counseling, family systems, Bible, theology, and relational ministry while walking alongside the kids. While the Dale House is independent from Young Life, Comiskey said, about half the staff still come from Young Life. “They know how to be relational with kids,” he smiled.

THE DALE HOUSE

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BY A YOUNG LIFE LEADER

It’s About Far More than the Shirt A chance encounter and a T-shirt lead to intentional inclusion.

In Louisiana there’s a young girl walking the halls of her high school, wearing a Young Life T-shirt — nothing unusual except for the fact she’s never attended Young Life. Annie is from the wrong side of the tracks. She is repeating her sophomore year in high school. She’s short, shy, unassuming, would never be voted most fashionable, and works because she needs the money. Annie is someone the world walks past without noticing. Sadly, if I’m honest, I’d probably do the same thing. On a Monday night in October, we showed up at the local mini golf course for our Young Life fundraiser. Amid the hustle and bustle of lining up teams, sponsors, food, program characters, volunteers and inviting my high school friends to play, my eyes were on the details of the tournament. But they had lost sight of our mission — that we’re about Christ and kids — until I met Annie. She was working at the golf course that night. As the first flight of teams left the clubhouse and started to play, Annie and I started talking. She wanted to know about Young Life and I wanted to know about her. I discovered she was someone who loves her job at the course — carefully lining up the remaining putters for the golfers, inspecting the various colored golf balls, and cleaning the ones that didn’t meet her standards. Though she’s worked at the mini golf course for six months, she’s never played a round of mini golf. My guess is she has never had someone who would play with her. Eventually all of the adults were on the course, and I started to get ready for the high school students coming to play. Due to a shipping snafu, the promised Young Life T-shirts would be arriving the next day, and I made a sheet for golfers to fill in their name, phone number and shirt size so we could get them their shirts. The clubhouse was soon filled with the excited conversations of high school kids ready to play, and they all made sure to leave their information for the treasured Young Life shirt. Once they exited and started playing, a small and now familiar voice asked, “If I put my information on the sheet, could I get a Young Life shirt?” It was a simple question with an easy answer, but also a deep question with layers of answers. Excited to get a free shirt, Annie scribbled her

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information down, but I believe she was more excited to belong, to be a part of something, and to be worth a $7.45 shirt. My wife, Liz, teaches at Annie’s school. That Friday morning Annie stopped by Liz’s classroom to get her shirt. She entered a room full of girls who hang out there every morning and lunch. Girls who are college-bound athletes, cheerleaders, honor students and homecoming court members. Their laughter became eerily silent as this shy girl with a funny walk entered and asked Liz if she had her shirt. Liz told her the printer had screwed up the colors, but a new one, printed properly, would be coming next week — and she would have one for her. Annie shuffled out, and once out of earshot one of the girls asked incredulously to Liz, “How do you know her?” Liz explained about the mini-golf tournament, and the girl replied, “You shouldn’t talk to her!” In her patiently sweet way, Liz answered, “I think she is nice, and I am still going to talk to her. She’ll be back next week to get the T-shirt we promised her.” End of discussion. Annie is one of the many kids at her school nobody gives two cents about and she reminds me why Young Life is desperately needed at her school. Annie’s story is repeated too many times. Young Life leaders are trusted adult friends who listen to kids’ stories, share their own and tell kids the Great Love Story in a way most have never heard before. I pray we’ll let kids know that not only are they worth a $7.45 shirt, but they are worth the death of God’s own Son. Christ died for the Annies of this world, and we should not rest until they’ve heard His story. Names have been changed

y


younglifespokenhere Right: Carolina Pi, Argentina area director

YOUNG LIFE’S MISSION IN

ARGENTINA

Young Life has been in Argentina, the eighth largest country in the world, since 2001. Of the 23 provinces in Argentina, Young Life has ministry in three: Buenos Aires, Chaco and Corrientes. Three staff, two Developing Global Leader students and 35 volunteers are working with kids in the cities of Buenos Aires, Corrientes, Curuzú Cuatiá and Villa Ángela.

Villa Ángela Corrientes Curuzú Cuatiá Buenos Aires

Argentina CLUBS

KIDS IN CLUB

KIDS IMPACTED KIDS @ CAMP

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partingshots Union County (North Carolina) campers brighten up the scene at Young Life’s Crooked Creek Ranch.

1.

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2.


3.

1. Corpus Christi, Texas, Young Life College staff, Kim, enjoying the Snow Cone Bash with Mia, who recently moved from Vietnam, where she was a Young Lifer! 2. Happy campers are warmly greeted upon their arrival. 3. Mason, Ohio kids, enjoying Young Life camp at Frontier Ranch.

rnet, Texas ner week 1 – Bu rnet, Texas ck Bu p m Ca : June 7-13 eek 2 – Bu mp Buckner w June 14-20: Ca nyon – Williams, Ariz. Ca ich. July 13-19: Lost r Wolf Lake – Lake City, M be m Ti . 6: re O -2 e, 20 op ly el Ju -Canyon – Ant shen, Va. July 25-31: WFR ockbridge Alum Springs – Go R July 29-Aug. 4: ampion – Glen Spey, N.Y. Ch d experience a Aug. 2-8: Lake this summer an care volunteer ... nd out more at Join us as a child e none other! Fi tri mission p lik

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NONPROFIT ORG

US POSTAGE

PAID

YOUNG LIFE

P.O. Box 520 Colorado Springs, CO 80901 ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED

SHOW YOUR AREA DIRECTOR YOU CARE!

Trail West Family camp is one of the most restorative experiences area directors can have with their families. This summer, for the first time, Trail West is offering 20% off our rates to anyone who wants to give the gift of Family Camp to their area director. Plus, if they attend Family Camp the week of June 1 – 7, 2014, we’ll apply a $300 per family member travel credit toward their cost! But, don’t wait too long. Trail West is more than 80% full, so there aren’t many spots left!

Call us at 719-395-2477.

TRAIL WEST LODGE

50YEARS You should see us now.

THE PERFECT GIFT!

TRA I

Now you can, in a very special way!

EST FAMILY W C L

P AM

Young Life area directors work long hours to make sure kids know they’re loved by God. They often spend hours, days and even weeks at a time away from their own families. Maybe you’ve wondered how you could show them your appreciation.


Relationships Spring 2014