The Trifecta

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YFC Camp is my favorite week of the year, hands down, and I know I’m not alone in that statement. There is nothing like getting a group of teens away from the distractions of their everyday lives and spending intentional time hanging out, adventuring, and sharing Jesus with them. 

This summer we plan on taking 20 Limestone teens and 5 Ministry Leaders to YFC Camp in North Carolina. 3 of the 5 leaders are first time Cabin Leaders! That means we have 3 new adults who get to spend a week with teens doing wild, goofy things (maybe even getting a little messy), as they step into a special place in a student’s life. A place where they get to walk alongside them through their messes and be a loving, caring adult who will show them Jesus.

One of our leaders, Olivia, just graduated from college and is joining us as a Cabin Leader, but this isn’t her first YFC Camp. Olivia has been to Camp 8 times! She went four years as a camper and then invested her summers home from college, serving on the Project Serve Team at multiple camps.  She will be completing what we like to call the TRIFECTA. I know her experience of YFC Camp from different perspectives will make her a great leader for our girls this summer. Olivia said she is most looking forward to ‘getting to know the girls and their hearts and hopefully bring them closer to Jesus.’

Camp isn’t possible without people like YOU. Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Please pray for us, especially the week of August 3rd-8th while we are at the YFC Camp.

Also, please continue or consider starting a monthly financial investment. We need and appreciate YOU!


Quick Stories

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There are many words and emotions that could describe the picture. The one word I would use would be CHANGE.

When we met “B”, he was in a green suicide suit at JDC (a padded suit that cannot be cut or torn). Many people have been praying for “B” and working with “B” to share the love and hope of Jesus. I am pleased to report that “B” is no longer in the green suit but back in his normal clothes and doing well.


“When are we gonna fight?” Is a question I hear often. This is not the fighting you’re thinking … There is a card game called super fight  that our JJM team plays to build relationships with the JDC students. Students pick a few cards and then they are given a few more cards. They have to articulate why their hero would win. At some point we talk about making choices in life, some we can control and others we can’t control. We also talk about the importance of adapting to different situations and making further choices based on the decisions we have already made. In JJM we are very intentional about our programming, including our fun. Every moment can be a teaching moment and for many of them, they don’t have a parent teaching them important life lessons. 

Please pray: We will be doing origami with the residents. This is a first for us and could be a flop or a win. “Attention to details,” “taking your time,” “working on our faith even though it's hard” are some of lessons that go along with this activity.  We have tested it with a small group at our McLean County facility and it was pretty well-received. Please pray that God can be seen through this process. 


Thank you! Ministry cannot happen without prayer, the financial support of the community, and the hard work of ministry leaders.



YOU CAN HELP!

1. Please continue to cover the ministry in prayer.

2. We are in need of Ministry Leaders for the Youth Farm. Interested? Know someone?

3. We are seeking additional donors. If you know someone that could parter with us to help grow the ministry, please introduce us to them. 

…you’ll get run over if you just sit there!

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The full quote from the picture is “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” My tendency is to try and control life by being able to see far enough to make the right decisions.  Trains have the ability to see miles ahead. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that in life and ministry? God has other plans of dependance on Him,  doesn’t He?  He wants us to rely on Him one step at a time……

Psalms 109:105  “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” ESV

One of the points of celebration I shared in my May 2019 letter was that we found a home for Campus Life at Billy & Morgan Seiler’s house.  A LOT happened in the last 6 weeks.  Seiler family of 2 is growing. Little Baby Seiler is due at the end of the year.  We could not be more happy for them!  But they also shared they are moving to Michigan … and it will happen quickly.

Billy and Morgan have been incredible leaders for Campus Life in Chillicothe for many years.  They have hosted small groups, mentored, loved, supported and served faithfully.  They have had a positive impact on countless teens and adults while loving them toward Jesus.  We will miss them within the ministry as leaders and personally as friends. 

We continue to trust in God just as the Seiler’s are trusting in Him with their relocation.  It seems like chaos at times but the tension of change normally brings growth as we pursue God.


So, thank you, Seiler’s, for your time, resources, and love!  We won’t find this couple just sitting on the tracks waiting for God to move.  Will you pray with us for abundance of grace and favor in their life as they faithfully take the mission of the God’s Kingdom to Michigan! 


Billy and Morgan Seiler

Billy and Morgan Seiler

This is not a Farewell

Leading up to my sabbatical last summer, there was a stirring indication that my time as the leader for Pekin Campus Life might be coming to an end. Coupled with a dream Ky and I have had of retreating to the mountains of Colorado when we retire, opportunities began to arise.

I guess our ‘later’ dreams were challenged as we began to investigate whether ‘later’ was actually sooner. And encouragingly enough some pieces began to fit. Since March, Ky has accepted a job in Colorado, we purchased a piece of land there for a fraction of asking price and our home here in Pekin sold without listing. Whew, all of those things were such a relief!

It has been an honor to call Campus Life work and Pekin home for the past 10 years. Along with serving on the team prior to employment, it’s been an incredible 15 years of ministry. It feels almost selfish of me to not pass this on so someone else can share in the joy of how God works through relational ministry in Pekin. The word ‘work’ doesn’t really describe it. Calling Youth for Christ my vocation has allowed me to take my ordinary life and live an everyday mission of helping teens discover a relationship with Jesus. 

But as the title states, this is not a farewell…

Sure, Ky, Norton and I are moving, and won’t be physically here but we’re still ‘here’ because relationships are not tied to proximity. We hope to make a home there soon and we’d love to have you stay over as our guest as soon as possible.

Pekin Campus Life isn’t going anywhere. Your Youth for Christ leadership is still committed to ministry in Pekin. We’re not ready to announce the who, what, or when’s of the transition but a plan is in place. Also, my employment with Youth for Christ is not over. I will transition into a remote role, supporting the Peoria team in marketing, communication and technology.  

So there it is, my attempt to wrap up 15 years of ministry in 400 words or less. Ky and I would covet your prayers in this transition. Lives were and will continue to be changed by God through this ministry!

Body Builders Mission Trip

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Psalm 127:1 says,”Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain.” That’s how our newest City Life adventure (the above group plus two people not pictured) took us to the South Miami community of Homestead,FL. The trip was named for our efforts to serve with our YFC City Life family and The Movement Church. Corey and Robin Sanders have been connected with YFC Camp for more than a decade and planted a church four years ago. Praying and planning, we wanted to expose our teens to travel (a 5 a.m. bus from Bradley to O’Hare, security, boarding, not to mention the flight), as 9 of the 13 had never been on a plane. Experiencing the beauty and culture of places they have only seen on TV, and encouraging our teens to connect with the Body was our goal. This revealed who God created us to be when we are kingdom-minded in our efforts, as well as advancing the Gospel in word and deed by serving other communities and our YFC/Movement family.

Our team took on projects at West Homestead K-8, refreshing their raised planting beds to encourage class projects for their students. At the Police Athletic League  Center, we cleaned storage/laundry areas, rearranged table, chairs, and supplies for their after school program in the main gym, and outside the center we scraped and repainted backboards. We also served at “The Table,” a free meal in the park outside of the PAL center. During the event we watched 12-15 young people shooting baskets at the pole the backboards should have been on, so we knew that project would serve that neighborhood in a mighty way. Touching Miami With Love has an after school program that serves the neighborhood. We painted and created sound reducing panels in their building. At KIX, a YFC teen center, we spent a day promoting and setting up for a free community concert with Pastor Corey, Fro, and local Gospel rappers. The event was packed with different youth organizations and teens from the neighborhood, a powerful night of truth and music.  

After days of projects and events, creating and building relationships, we enjoyed a free day to take in the culture. We started the morning on South Beach, then experienced Cuban food and Caribbean music. We shopped at an outdoor mall in downtown Miami next to where the Miami Heat play, which was an awesome place to get all of that. 

Bodybuilders’ goal of impacting the future leaders of our community and allowing us to share God’s incredible love with everyone involved was a priority for us.

Thank you for your continuous love and support as we journey near or far to the places God shows us. Be assured that discipleship is happening in all we do!

Getting Locked Up AGAIN

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Yes, you read that correctly. I’m getting locked up in the Juvenile Detention Center AGAIN. JJM is hosting its SECOND  lock up fundraiser to raise funds for the mission, and I need your help! I am raising $1,000+ to be locked up for 24 hours in the Juvenile Detention Center. During this time, our team will eat our meals with the residents, perform our regular programming, and experience what the youth experience…even being locked up over night!

Why choose this fundraiser? Besides the fact that I know you’d love a chance to put me “behind bars,” it’s an awesome opportunity to empathize with these teens. We are implementing what God calls us to do in Hebrews 13:3, which says, “Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” “…as if you were there yourself.”

To send me to JDC, please help me reach the goal of raising $1,000+, for the ministry above and beyond regular giving. Out of the $1,000+ our JJM team hopes to receive $200+ in new or increased monthly gifts. You can contribute through any of the following: become a new donor, increase your monthly giving, submit an additional yearly gift or an extra one time gift (NO amount is too small- even $30/month goes a long way in advancing this ministry!). Thank you for being faithful to this ministry.


If you would like to lock me up! 

Please visit www.yfcpeoria.org/give. Select JJM and under the comment section type JJM Lock-Up Fundraiser.  You can also fill out the information below and send in your donation. 

SAVE THE DATE: MAY 4th @ 5pm-8pm so you can come and hear about my experience and tour the Juvenile Detention Center. RSVP is required so please let me know if you plan to attend. Thank you so much for your support of Juvenile Justice Ministry.

A FOUNDATION

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AFTER SEPTEMBER 11TH, the City of New York decided to rebuild the twin towers. Instead of immediately building back up, they initially dug down. They spend three years building below the street level. That’s three years of work before people from the street could even tell a new building was going up. They did this because they wanted this new building, Freedom Tower, to be the strongest building ever built. They knew the importance of having a strong foundation. 

Since October, I feel like we’ve been digging down at Richwoods Campus Life. Five months of laying a foundation - five months of raising funds, five months of putting together a leadership team, five months of building community support, five months of building awareness… 

Now we build up. Now we have a solid base of financial support (a good start anyway.) Now we have a leadership team that is trained and empowered to dive into the messy lives of teenagers at Richwoods High School. Now we have the structure in place that we need to ensure that Campus Life at Richwoods isn’t just a one or two year thing. We want Richwoods Campus Life to leave an impact far beyond the students who are just here now. 

We want years and years worth of Richwoods students to be impacted by the gospel. 

On March 17th, we had our first Richwoods Campus Life event… Richwoods students met their ministry leaders for the first time. The students have no idea now, but the truth is that many of these leaders will have a lasting, eternal impact on those students’ lives. Some of these leaders will be invited to students’ graduation parties. Some of these leaders will be invited to students future weddings. Some will stay in touch decades after high school because of the impact they’ve made. Each one  will love kids where they are at, in the midst of their mess - and in the process, point them to the hope that is found in Jesus.



YFC Camp - Carolina Point

This summer we are taking around 175 students and leaders to YFC Camp in North Carolina. Every year, this is life-changing trip for any kid that comes. I’m hoping to take one cabin of guys and one cabin of girls from Richwoods for our inaugural trip to YFC Camp. We will have fundraisers and scholarships available for students, but even then we often have kids who can’t come to camp because of financial reasons. Would you be willing to sponsor a Richwoods student’s trip to camp for $525? Send me an email if you’d like to help!

Complacency

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We all like our conveniences and comforts. High school students aren’t any different. It’s easy for them to come to the same place every week, hang out with the same people and be generally comfortable. But Campus Life is most successful when people from different backgrounds get together and find community with people they normally wouldn’t spend time with. 

Over this long winter complacency set in. New faces became rarer and it’s something we needed to talk about. We did something we’d hadn’t done before. We pulled back the curtain to share with students the fundamentals of Campus Life. That our hope was to go where students are, build a rapport with them, earn the right to speak into their life, show them The Gospel in a real and tangible way pointing them both to Jesus and the local church. We explained the kind of students we want to see at Campus Life, often don’t quite fit in anywhere else.

The challenge was accepted and there was even more dialogue as the night was ending. 

The next week Evan shows up at the invitation of a fellow student. It didn’t take long to introduce him around. Evan was enthusiastic to make new friends and sit down for a snack. A couple of leaders made a really good connection and he returned the next week!

It’s a big win to have Evan be a part Campus Life with us as well as the others that friends are inviting. It’s also a win for students to hear a message and act on it for the benefit of their friends.

Please take a moment right now and pray for Evan and those like him and the leaders working to bring them a hope and life in Jesus.


Just a few spots left for meals!

Most of our dinners are provided by friends in the community. If you’d like to bring us a meal or send dinner to us, we’d love to eat whatever you send our way. We’re not picky and it would be great if you stayed to eat with us too. To bring us a meal pekincl.com/meal or call Jarrod!