The following thank you letter was written by a Young Life leader from Grand Haven Young Life this summer. While it was written to their local supporters, the sentiment holds true and can be shared with everyone who supports and partners with the mission of Young Life. And by everyone we mean YOU!
Dear Young Life Supporters,
About two weeks ago, I arrived home from a week at Castaway Club in Minnesota where I was blown away by God’s goodness. I just want to take a moment to say thank you to those of you who supported the mission of Young Life in Grand Haven through prayer and finances this past year.
I had the privilege of spending a week serving and growing with six incredible young girls from Grand Haven High School and I just want to share with you a little about what Young Life is, what it means to me personally, what we experienced at camp, and how it shaped the lives of both the girls and myself.
A year ago, I was asked to join the mission of Young Life. I didn’t have any prior experience with Young Life, being only familiar with its name, and didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but I am so glad that I said “yes.”
It reminds me of what Paul wrote in Romans 8:26-30 about how the Spirit intercedes for us when we don’t know what to ask for because he knows us better than we know ourselves and God is always working toward the good of those who love him. Young Life has not only made a difference in the lives of students but in my own life as I have sought (imperfectly) to be the hands and feet of Christ in their lives. It has been exactly what I needed this year.
So, what is Young Life?
Young Life was founded in 1941 by a man named Jim Rayburn with the central idea that, “everyone has the right to know the truth about Jesus Christ…They have a right to know who He is. They have a right to know what He’s done for them. They have the right to know how they relate to that. They have a right to know Him personally. Furthermore, they have a right to make their own choice for Him…So, the Big Dream stated another way is this: It is a group of people bound together in the single-minded purpose that there is no price too high to pay to see to it that young people have a chance to know the Savior. That’s not just what Young Life is about, that is all that Young Life is about.”
So, the role of Young Life is to create a space for kids to encounter Christ by going out to them and reaching them where they are at.
Young Life Camp gives students a space to connect with Christ outside of their daily routine. The staff at the camps work hard to make camp “the best week of your life” and eliminate barriers that might keep kids from connecting with the Gospel message that is presented to them through nightly Club meetings after days filled with activities like parasailing, field games, square dancing, zip lining, and swimming.
Everything they do is intentionally thought through so that students have the best possible chance to make a meaningful connection with Christ. While the Gospel message is presented clearly, as one of my girls commented during our cabin time the first night, “they don’t shove Jesus down your throat,” but rather it is presented as a choice.
And, I think that treating the Gospel message in this way—making it a personal choice, rather than force feeding it to an unwilling subject—makes it even more appealing and opens up the floor to more authentic discussion.
Young Life Camp gives students a space to be vulnerable and honest about their lives, faith, and doubts in a capacity that they would not normally have in just their day-to-day conversations.
While Young Life has only been back in Grand Haven for a year, I have already seen God at work in the lives of the kids that I have made contact with and it has already made a tremendous impact on my own faith journey as it continues to pull and stretch me.
Thank you again for your support for this program in Grand Haven! Please continue to pray for the program as we head into our second year and start up small groups with the students.
Whether you’ve given financially, prayed continually, read the stories posted on this blog, shared them on social media, encouraged a Young Life leader or kid close to you, or cheered on the mission from the sidelines—we GIVE THANKS for you!
God is at work around the Western Great Lakes Region—from Grand Haven to Grand Rapids, from Harbor Springs to South Bend and everywhere in between. THANK YOU for being part of what God is doing!