The last couple of days driving the kids to school has been pretty profound for me.
One of the days I saw a young man that we have known for a long time he was walking to the middle school. I know this kid, I held him when he was two and crying. I have had the chance to be a part of his life since he was little. Now he is in middle school and looks “Rough” and the guttural response is to call that kid “trouble”.
I was moved with compassion for this young man, because I know that he is now a product of divorce and experienced a lot of things in his home that I haven’t and won’t ever have to see. I did not think “That kid is broken” I thought, “That kid is special”. As our kids get older and start to dress “funny” and act out, in a lot of cases it is the only control that they have as they have. The reality is that they still need to be loved regardless of their look, their talk, their demeanor, we ALL have the need to connect.
The next day I was on the phone with a “friend” of Young Life and the topic of depravity came up and from there we landed on teenagers and death:
Our Young Life area has dealt with Suicide far too many times, both attempted and followed through, and I am sorry to bring it up here, but we have to talk about it. It is heart breaking for me and sad.
We, Young Life get to stand in the gap for teenagers, stand with them in the midst of their pain, grief and fear, and we get to point them toward hope and purpose. Yes, we talk about Jesus, but that isn’t the ticket to the show. The ticket to the show is “Being real and honest.” It is from this place of honesty where real life happens and we believe where a “Goth-ed” out skater-punk kid who gets kicked out of school can find hope and purpose. I believe that in this transparency about our own lives is where God meets these kids and he uses plain people like you and me to do it.
If you think about Jesus in the Bible, he wasn’t looking for the perfect ones, the ones that always put money into their 401K, had their lawn neatly trimmed and were serving on the PTA. He was looking for the sick, the tax collector, the adulterer, the thief and the murder. The kid dressing a little more “promiscuous” than you would like, the smoker, the drinker, the troblemaker that is who Jesus would have found, not the ASB President. There is nothing wrong with being an overachiever, God loves you, but the model we see in the Bible is that Jesus didn’t come for the health but for the sick.
For every kid that commits suicide there are 10 more that don’t but thought about it which means that there is a spectrum and it means we live in a broken, fallen world. This brings me back to the young man that I held and comforted as a two year old. When you know their story, the “Look” doesn’t seems so scary. If you assume that we are all human, that we all breathe the same air and that we are all children of the most high, then there is a bridge that we can walk across to spend time together.
For me this is a situation that demands a response. This is why our family moved to Port Townsend 9 years ago. This is why our family goes without the things that our peers are enjoying. This is why we go without sleep, fancy cars. This is why we bake bread instead of buying it. This is why we wear used clothes when we can. This is why we give our time, money and family to young people. So that young people can get a glimpse into eternity through our family that loves them!
It feels like the time to give a “Baked” ask for how you can help, but it feels like it cheapens the whole thing. The reality is that in your heart, you know you are being called to more and this is just a quick reminder that the Lord has plans for your life to improve the lives of others. Please respond.
Tags: Being found · Family · generational impact · hope · surprises · Teens
Hey, I wanted to take a moment and share what is going on in Young Life to the East of us as I am finding myself blessed to know about it.
As far as I am concerned it is one of the classic “Feel Good” tales that needs to be promoted, because it is difficult to self promote.
Whidbey Island, the longest island in the United States, a great claim to fame, but please don’t mention Australia which is both an island and a continent. Just saying!
The majority of the population and income lives on the North part of the island up and around Oak Harbor, where the South and Middle part of the island have less. There are two Young Life areas that exist on Whidbey, North Islands which includes Oak Harbor and the San Juans and Whidbey Island Young Life which is from Coupeville South.
The sothern Area, Whidbey Island Young Life has had a lot of people attempt to be the leader, all to varying degrees of success, some extremely successful, some less so. The reality is that there has been turnover and that makes things harder.
THE CURRENT REGIME:
Ernie Merino, was working a great job in Mill Creek where he was volunteering with Young Life. He and his wife were feeling called specifically in the Mission of Young Life. So after some prayer and review they interviewed with WI YL and were offered the position of Area Director. Now in general Young Life only likes to hire Bachelors degrees and higher into the Area Director role and will deviate from that when the person in the right person. In this case, Ernie and his family are the right people. BUT…. There is a catch. Compensation follows education, so the more educated that you are the more that you qualify to make. So, Ernie sold both of his cars, gave away his business and moved his family to Whidbey Island for close to the minimum that you can make in Young Life.
Now Whidbey Island is beautiful and off the beaten path and people want to live there, but cost of living is higher because it is an island, so even the cost of housing is higher, so for the first 4 months, Ernie commuted every day to the island to do Young Life coming home late to his young family.
Finally some housing opened up and his family was able to move to Whidbey Island so that he could spend a little time with his family.
These are the stories of sacrifice that make are worth telling. Why did Ernie and his family move to Whidbey forgoing earthly riches and wisdom. Because they LOVE Jesus and they believe that sharing it with teenagers makes a difference. They also believe that the ministry of Young Life is an incredible vehicle to make that happen.
All in the midst of an economic downturn! Who does this? Inspirational people! People called to more.
Join the narrative! This story is going to be incredible 10 years from now in the history of lives of teenagers. With the economic downturn and the demographics of the Area, it has been challenging for the “New” guy to raise his budget. Are you from Whidbey Island originally? Do you know people who are who you could connect in. God called Ernie and his family there to “DO” the ministry. Is he calling you to help him. He needs everything: Leaders, money, committee members, housing.
If you have a desk laying around that needs a home, call Ernie. If you have a bunch of junk that you don’t care about anymore throw a yardsale and donate the proceeds to Whidbey Island Young Life. Do you have a family cabin he and his family could use or that he could give as a way to thank donors. This is one of those places where every little bit counts.
Or just call and encourage Ernie: 425-387-8290
Tags: other-areas · staff · Teens
Just wanted to give you all a quick note on ALL of the incredible things taking place in Young Life right now on the Olympic Peninsula. Beginning on September 30th, 2012, which is the end of the fiscal year, we have added a club in Forks, revitalized a club in Port Angeles and grown a club in Port Townsend communities 2.5 hours apart from each other.
Nicole Rasmussen called me last summer and we started praying about a club in Forks. Through faithful prayer and a lot of hard work, we have a club in forks that is drawing 15% of the High School and 5 volunteer leaders. God is Good!
Chris Cummings ended up being our last Young Life leader in Port Angeles. There were still kids interested in coming, but to say that the club was unhealthy is an understatement. Since September 30, 5 people have stepped up to join Chris, and I am interviewing a new leader next week. God is Good!
In Port Townsend, the news is that our club is growing, more kids are coming and volunteer leaders are learning how to better volunteer. There are currently six volunteers and 1 staff person targeting Port Townsend High School. God is Good!
We have a lot of momentum on committee as well. There are some families that have stepped up and said, WE BELIEVE YOUNG LIFE NEEDS TO BE ON THE OLYMPIC PENINSULA and they have put they time, energy and money behind it.
We had out auction in March and it raised about the same amount of money that it raises every year on the night of the event. The real news is that Monthly giving went up by $550. That number is incredible. It makes up 10% of our annual budget. This increase in giving will help OPYL make our annual budget which is ALWAYS a struggle. The number of volunteers serving on committee is 7.
Paul has had the opportunity to speak, give the sermon at 7 different churches and more for a moment on missions. A sweet Land Assualt Suburban to pick up kids for club and as reminder to kids to come to club. ‘
I wanted to share a study, not for horn tooting, but instead to have you share in the excitement of what the Lord is doing on the Peninsula.
From an Oxford Study:
The most significant factor impacting Young Life’s direct ministry is the volunteer leader per staff ratio. These results operate across every division as well as urban, suburban, and small town ministries. The more leaders an area has per paid staff, the stronger their ministry is. The one factor for reaching more kids wasn’t kids to camp, more Campaigners, better or more staff, etc.; it was having more leaders.
As you can seem, there are things to be excited about. Here is the thing, as inbdividuals, we aren’t doing anything differently then before. We are faithful to kids, we pray a lot, we give our money and our time out of our need and not out of our abundance. We take every opportunity to share the mission of Young Life with Teens, churches, friends and strangers. That said, the Lord is blessing our Area and that is EXCITING.
To put things into perspective, we have seen an increase of volunteer leadership by 257% and increase in committee by 225%. I guess when the numbers start small, the percentage increase seems dramatic, but this is our praise. God is Good! And this doesn’t even touch the qualitative stories of kids lives being change. That would be a post much, much longer than this.
What is God calling you too? We know that you can pray and we are actively seeking that.
Can you volunteer as a leader, as a person on committee? Can you step as a donor so we can start meeting our budget. Maybe there are other ways you can serve give me a call or email and lets talk.. Because just maybe the Lord is calling you off the “bench” and ready to put you in the game!
Tags: Club · Forks · Port Angeles · Port Townsend · Schools
Tags: Camp · Port Angeles · Port Townsend · WFR 2012
8800 miles in two days to get to camp! I can confidently say that this year, we have come the longest distance to get to camp as we were in Ethiopia two days ago passing court for the adoption of our 10 month old daughter. We had 4 stops and all we could talk about on the way through Cartoum, Frankfurt, London and Chicago, other than how special it was to be with out little girl was how excited we were to be with these teenagers, at this camp.
There is a clear sense this year that the Lord has put this group together. A group out of Port Angeles assembled for camp two weeks before we left and we had a kid join on the last day.
There is still a financial need, and you can still help participate in helping the kids get to camp. Send a check to 811 Pierce.
Additionally please pray for this group, the leaders are exhausted coming in, with Jessica and I running on now sleep. Chris our leader from Port Angeles with us was a church camp with kids last week. Another of our leaders got a new job this week. The greater that the obstacle feels to overcome, it seems the more that God does in our faithfulness to serve.
Pray for the kids we are bringing that they would be receptive the message of the gospel. That the message of grace and forgiveness would penetrate deep into their hearts and they would know the love of the creator in a way they have never experienced.
Friends, we just received great news! We received a court date for the adoption of the little girl from Ethiopia that we have been waiting on almost two years. We were paired with her in February, but have been praying for here for two years. This is such great news for us and we thank the Lord for his provision of such a sweet little thing.
There are logistical challenges!
Our court date is in Ethiopia on July 20th, we leave for camp on the 22nd from Port Townsend. It is a two day flight… Because of the time change we are able to gain 10 hours, which puts us into SeaTac on the 21st at 9:30 at night. Where we will drive to Port Townsend, wash two loads of clothes, sleep for two hours and then leave for Washington Family Ranch, a Young Life camp in Oregon, with 30 young people. It is amazing that if everything works out correctly, we are going to have an amazing couple of weeks where we get to meet our daughter for the first time and then we get to Love teenagers the way that Jesus loves us for a week.
As I sit here typing, I am overwhelmed with emotion, this is something we have been praying about for two years and it is finally coming to fruition and that is exciting to get to see things finally moving after we have been waiting for so VERY LONG.
The big challenge weighing on me is money for High School kids for camp. The Olympic Peninsula is an Area without great financial means and so 90% of our kids need some sort of financial help. For example there was a kid in Port Angeles yesterday that said he wanted to go to camp, and he could contribute… $21 toward camp. We usually have kids work it off, and will this year as well. In some cases the “work” is just community service that we pay for kids to do, because we want kids to feel like they earned their way to camp.
Here is the formula that I use to pay for camp.
AMOUNT_OF_CAMP = CAMP SCHOLARSHIP + KIDS_WORKING + KID_CONTRIBUTION
This year, Kid Contribution is lower than it ever has been before AND with us leaving, we won’t be able to oversee KIDS_WORKING like we have in the past. This leaves a pretty sizable gap. A gap of about $5,000. Normally I would have the time to share that need gracefully and one at a time over coffee and friendship. This year with the adoption, everything needs to be accelerated and I won’t be able to participate in making the need aware, So… I am calling on the Internets to help out. Can you contribute to helping need kids on the Olympic Peninsula get to camp?
Send checks made out to Young Life to
Port Townsend, WA
You can make a donation online:
Tags: Camp · Family · hope · WFR 2012
Hey Forks, we have a meeting day set!!!!
Do you have a heart for the Youth of Forks?
Are you interested in seeing a change in our Youth?
Have a passion for seeing Youth come to know Jesus Christ?
Please join us for the…
YoungLife Information Night
Thursday, July 19th at 6:00 PM
Tillicum Dept. of Natural Resources Meeting Hall
Come learn about the ministry of YoungLife and see if this is exactly what Forks Youth need.
Everyone is welcome!!
Youth, Young Adults, Parents, Elderly…
What is YoungLife? Young Life is a Christian faith-based non-profit organization that reaches out to adolescents from all walks of life wherever they are to introduce and spread the message of God’s love. Young Life reaches out to middle school, high school and college-aged kids in all 50 of the United States as well as more than 70 countries around the world.
*For more information call Nicole Rasmussen at 640-8042 or email nrasmussen24[at]hotmail.com
*Visit www.FutureForksYoungLife.blogspot.com & www.younglife.org
Losing weight for teenagers?
So, the last time that I weighed 190 lbs was pre-marriage, probably freshman year of college. Let me save you some time on the math… That was 18 years ago. In August I topped the scale at 218. In December my back went out on me. Something needed to change. I decided to try and get down to 190 lbs by the time that Young Life summer camp rolled around. Why 190 lbs. Because I wanted to pick a number that felt unreachable for me.
Also, there is no dieting allowed. Only exercise!
I also wanted to create a situation where there would be consequences if I missed it. So far $300 has been pledged to help teenagers from the Olympic Peninsula get to camp this summer. I would like to see that number grow, so that the consequences are even greater for me to miss.
Please consider pledging to the weight loss goal and together lets get some more kids to camp from the Olympic Peninsula.
First is first. God is good!
We have Young Life leadership tonight for the Port Townsend team and it will be good to be together and my prayer is the same prayer Jim Rayburn said 50 years ago…
“Good Lord, give us the teenagers that we may lead them to Thee. Our hearts ache for the nine million young people who remain untouched by Thy Gospel, and for the tragically large proportion of those who, having once been led to attend Sunday School, have dropped by the wayside and now find themselves without spiritual guidance. Help us give them a chance, O Father, a chance to become aware of Thy Son’s beauty and healing power in the might of the Holy Spirit. O Lord Jesus, give us the teenagers, each one at least long enough for a meaningful confrontation with Thee. We are at best unprofitable servants, but Thy grace is sufficient. O Thou, Holy Spirit, give us the teenagers, for we love them and know them to be awfully lonely…Good Lord, give us the teenagers!”
-Jim Rayburn, founder of Young Life, praying before a national group of Young Life committee members at Frontier Ranch, July 1962
It doesn’t take much to remember that THAT is still our prayer today! So thank you to all those that have gone before us to give us a clear picture of where we are going…. After the teenagers. Please pray for our peninsula, The Lord cares for these kids far more than any of us EVER could and it would be our humblest reward to get to be a part of bring hope to the hopeless, sight to the blind and water to the thirsty.
I always love these stories.
We left Port Townsend at 11:45 PM, we are leaving Tacoma at 2:48 by way of tour bus with our friends from University Place. We were just finalizing our plans when we got a call from our friends to the North, Puyallup Young Life. The worst thing that could happen to a Young Life Area ready to go to camp happened. The 57 passenger bus didn’t show up. SO… a lot of tired, excited for camp kids shuffled around so every kid in Puyallup could get a ride to camp.
Pretty amazing, pretty cool to see kids being willing to put their peers above their own comfort so that everyone can make it to camp.
These are the moments that we look back at and say, The LORD was present in that situation.
We have people coming to Malibu from Port Townsend. 4 leaders and 20 students. This is an incredible year, but it has stretched us. In the past I was able to post stories from camp while camp is taking place. I don’t know how easy it will be this year, but we’ll try.
Here is how you can pray:
- That students would come face to face with their creator
- Strength for the leaders to make it through an exhausting week of camp together.
- Patience from students who are working very hard to accommodate the needs of other students.
Some specifics about our students, generally. We have a lot of non-christian kids. We have a lot of kids excited about having the best week of their life.
As a side note, we are still looking for 2 full scholarship to cover the cost of camp. If you feel like God is leading you to help with that. Please let me know. Thanks to everyone who has already helped our kids get to camp this summer.
This will help the 45 people from the Olympic Peninsula make it to camp this summer. This is our most ambitious summer yet!