—Written by Liza Fongers, Young Life Capernaum leader from Northeast Grand Rapids

Northeast Grand Rapids Capernaum Young Life has changed me.

Two years ago I walked into a room of about 25 students with special needs and was immediately embraced. I found a space that was completely welcoming and loving. I soon realized I needed to be at club much more than my Capernaum friends needed me to be there. I am constantly thinking about Capernaum and how we can keep dreaming and moving within our community.

I have always been a runner, and I had the idea to run a marathon to raise money for our Capernaum group. I sent out a few texts to some friends to see if they would be interested in joining me, and the response was incredible.


Young Life leaders from Northeast Grand Rapids Young Life ran the Grand Rapids Marathon on October 24, 2016.

Within a few weeks, we had about 15 runners signed up to run for Team Capernaum. Each runner had people pledge miles and donate to the cause, we were also able to get the word out about an awesome ministry.

The entire experience fostered genuine community. We gathered at my church the night before to eat some pasta, and the runners were able to meet some Capernaum friends and families.  

At club we have been talking about the Armor of God, and I recently gave a talk on having “feet of readiness.” I talked about how God is always on the move and we need to have a spirit of readiness. Running shoes are not useful if the feet wearing them aren’t moving.

We talked about how whether you are running, or cheering on the runners in a race, you need to show up to let God use you. This is what I love about Capernaum. My Capernaum friends teach me to keep showing up, to keep moving towards God.


Donations are still coming in, and we don’t have a grand total of money raised yet, but we are blown away by the support of the community. The donations mean so much more than a monetary amount. This means that our students will get to have more experiences, more freedom, and more fun!

Last year we were able to have Capernaum friends go to the Dominican Republic, experience our first wilderness trip, and we had a record number of students go to camp! Our hope for our club is to be more than just a set time and place.


Northeast Grand Rapids Capernaum at Timber Wolf Lake | Summer 2016

God is always on the move in the lives of our Capernaum friends and we as leaders are going to continue to be faithful to the work God is already doing. This fundraiser will help us do that, and we are thankful for a community that embraces an event that started as just an idea.

>> Young Life Capernum Ministries is a program of Young Life especially for kids and young adults with disabilities. YL Capernaum recently celebrated 30 years of ministry! To learn more, watch this video.