$31,128 of $40,000
Someone at YFC is Retiring
I have the best job ever!
Each week I hit the open road with City Life leaders and pick up students for a night of laughter and learning about Jesus. I frequently go on trips to all kinds of places with Metamora Campus Life and I usually get to help out taking the Work Crew to YFC Camp every summer. Sometimes I get loaned out to other organizations and churches who need my help for big events. I’ve got a tight schedule but I’d love to be able to do that a little more. Once I took a group of girls from Pekin Campus Life to St Louis for a giant slumber party. They only got me lost once but I promised not to tell anyone. And hey, I even have some seniority around Youth for Christ, as I’ve been around longer than almost all of our staff members. I’ve traveled 200,000+ miles, been to 23 states, and seen practically every road in Central Illinois.
The best part though: I get to play an important role in the ministry with my friends at YFC. Without me, memories wouldn’t be made, relationships couldn’t be solidified over shared experiences, and it would be a whole lot harder for adults to spend time with students pointing them to Jesus.
Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot to introduce myself. Nice to meet you, I’m The Van.
I wish I could remember every prayer that’s been prayed and every story that’s been told in my seats, but there’s just too many to count! I love hauling our students around, but they tell me I’m probably not as safe as I once was. I’ve had over 60 oil changes, 7 sets of new tires, a couple of windshields and had my drive shaft replaced last month. I get used so much that embarrassing as it is to admit, my doors have literally began falling off the hinges. I can’t believe I told you that.
I’m happy to retire, but not until I get my replacements going down the road. My coworkers tell me they need $40,000 to get a couple of newer vans like me. So I'll share a few more stories below. If you are able contribute, just use the form below.
Now buckle up. Let me take you for a ride this time.
"Are we there yet?” “In about an hour…”
Camp. Camp. Camp. Who doesn’t love camp? Even better yet, who doesn’t love YFC Camp? A week away from the distractions of a student’s every day life and each day specifically designed to tell of God’s love for them…Wow!
Missouri, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina…There’s got to be a few more places we’ve been that I’m forgetting…Oh yes, Colorado. How could I forget the trip to Colorado?
It always amazes me to overhear the conversations adults have with students both to and from camp. There’s something about wheels on a highway and the camp experience that helps students open up about the mess in their lives and pulls them a little closer to Jesus in it. And can you believe that some of the students I get to drive to camp have never been outside the Peoria area, much less away from home for more than one night?? Wow!
Nowadays we take over a hundred students to camp each year, so I get to drive the adults and college age students out early who volunteer to get the camp ready. A few years back I was on such an excursion when, in the middle of Nebraska, in the dark of the night, we hit a deer. My headlights were busted and they had to duct tape the front just to get me to safety to wait until dawn. And then as we were traveling to find the nearest mechanic, my engine over heated.
Deer 2. Me 0.
Looking back, God’s traveling mercies were overly apparent. No one was hurt. Work Crew all made it to camp safely and on time. I stayed behind, got some R & R (and repairs) and they picked me up on the way back to Illinois, just bursting at the seams to tell of what God had done that week.
Let’s be honest, though. I will not survive another catastrophic event like that again. I do count it nothing short of a miracle we haven’t been involved in many other breakdowns. And while no one can adequately plan for a deer or other on the road accident, we can help ensure the safety of our students and adults by only having vehicles in good mechanical condition rolling down the road on the longer trips. If you could make a donation below to help us reach our goal, we and the insurance agents would be ever so grateful….
Minnesota Summer > Minnesota Winter
Trips are such a big part of my job. On any given weekend one of our YFC ministries could be loading up and hitting the road for a few days of fun with a purpose.
One of my more memorable trips is when I took a group of Pekin Campus Life guys up north to Minnesota a for a whirlwind weekend getaway. They ate junk food, rode indoor roller coasters, saw an improv theater show and more importantly, got to know each other better as brothers and friends. But on the way back we hit a different kind of whirlwind: a winter storm.
It was the kind of snow that was coming down so fast my wipers couldn’t keep up. Yeah, yeah, I know we should’ve pulled over to stop but one of our YFC board members on the trip agreed; there really was no safe place to do so. So we sent texts back home for prayers for safety and just inched our way through with the only injury being a broken windshield wiper that flew off in the ice. And those guys from Pekin Campus Life went through another solidifying experience they will talk about for years to come.
the windshield wiper flew off...
I don’t know if you know, but some guys are really into the idea of getting back to nature. I myself prefer the smooth pavement of the highway over rough dirt roads and gravel getting stuck in my tires, but hey, anything for the students. One year, a group of guys from IVC Campus Life convinced me to be their mode of transportation for a week long wilderness trip. I stayed tucked away out of sight as the guys hiked, swam, built fires to cook their food, fished and slept in tents, some of them for the very first time. I was quite proud of myself for having a first aid kit on board for when one of the guys hacked into his finger when he should have been hacking into the wood…
Those guys have all grown up now but most would say that wilderness trip brought them closer together and to their God, and they still get together every now and then and retell the wilderness tales that started it all.
And that’s just a few of the stories. I wish I could remember all the overnight and weekend trips I’ve taken through the years. Ice Camp, staff retreats, college visit weekends, service projects, mission trips, the list just goes on and on. But I’m just not sure how many more I’ll be able to do without seriously breaking down. And a weekend trip definitely does not have time in the schedule for me to be hanging out at the shop waiting for parts…So would you consider giving a gift below? We have a whole generation of students waiting to make their own memories and take steps towards Jesus by spending some time away together.
Take me home last, Coach.
While camp is a glamorous task and trips hold their own charm, there’s something wonderfully rewarding about my weekly charge of picking up students for Peoria City Life. Most students who are a part of City Life don’t own cars and getting a ride from their parents is not an option for various reasons. So every Monday night, ministry leaders faithfully send out texts asking to see who needs a ride. Routes are planned and off we go. Sometimes we have to make several trips a night and are often borrowing other vehicles to accommodate all the students. It’d be great if we had two vans to help with this load. And we don’t want to leave any student by the side of the road simply because we don’t have space.
But aside from the practical aspects of offering rides, of course there’s a spiritual element as well. “Take me home last, Coach” is a phrase we often hear when a student has something on their mind they want to talk about. And so routes are changed, and precious minutes are spent talking through whatever is on the student’s mind. And man, over the years, have we heard it all. Broken families, broken lives and broken hearts. But thank God for the chance to meet City Life students right where they are and point them to Jesus, even in the unlikely seat of an old white van.
For those who have contributed to my retirement fund: thank you. Your gift will ensure many other students have the same opportunities. And for those of you who haven’t gotten on board yet, there’s still time! Any amount will help us reach our goal.