Beacon, NY—47 kids. That’s how many kids were at the launch meeting for Young Life in Beacon, NY last week. Over the past year, I have been working with a long-time volunteer named Craig Burgiere, to start ministry in this town that lies along the Hudson River in Southern Dutchess County. Craig has taken busloads of kids to Saranac Village over the years, and last year he and his wife Peggy decided to host campaigner meetings at their house on Sunday evenings. As momentum kept building, the Burgieres felt led to transfer that momentum into a year-round Young Life ministry. Last spring, we recruited a group of local adults to form the Beacon Young Life Committee, of which Peggy is serving as the chair. The Committee’s first task was to plan the launch party. When it finally happened last week, the crowd included kids who went to camp this summer along with their parents and other interested adults. Also in attendance were 17 kids who were completely new to Young Life! Craig and his leaders treated kids and adults alike to the first Young Life club meeting in Beacon. The Committee and other adults, who had never seen Young Life in action, were amazed at all the fun, as well as how quiet the room got when Craig stood up to give an introductory talk about Jesus.
In the coming weeks, the Beacon leadership team will be starting contact work, regular club meetings, and will be attending Leadership Weekend at Saranac. Over the course of this coming school year, I will be working with Peggy to help train the local committee, and will assist Craig in training and supervising the volunteer leaders.
Chittenden County, VT–After a year of meeting local people, praying, learning about the community, and recruiting a team, we had a dinner party to bring together the two groups of people who are crucial to re-starting ministry here: the local committee, and the leaders in training. After dinner, fourteen of us gathered in the living room to get to know one another, look at a the story of Jesus healing the Centurion’s servant, and set some goals for the next year. We laid out the following three goals, and discussed action steps necessary to achieve them:
- Leaders start building relationships with high school kids in January 2015
- Begin a Burlington campaigner group by April 2015
- Take ten kids and three leaders on a Young Life summer camp week in July 2015
I will be on point this fall for providing training for the six young women who have joined the leadership team (as well as recruiting a few young men!) For the fall semester, that will mean traveling to Burlington every other week for leadership meetings. Starting in January, I will travel there less frequently as a local committee couple will take on more responsibility for training and encouraging the leaders.
Praise God for the movement we are seeing in these two areas. He is working steadily through local adults to put caring Young Life leaders in the lives of young people who desperately need to know Jesus Christ.
Let me end with an excerpt from a poem by an 11th grader that appeared in a Burlington newspaper recently:
Sometimes I try to picture heaven, that holy place that many elders have tried to tell me is real.
I try to find comfort in it but I just can’t seem to convince myself.
I want to believe, to have faith in a meaningful place after my death.I can picture it, the beauty and the warmth and the love.
Never being alone.
Though I still can’t believe, no matter how hard I try.
Thanks for being a part of the team that takes hope to kids who are hoping that heaven, and the one who made it, are real.