God showed up through you

I’d like to share with you a message I recently received from a key 71Five Justice Volunteer. . .
 
Youth 71Five Ministries has been part of my life for 20 years. I was in and out of Juvenile Detention as a teenager and struggled to find my way. At my lowest point in detention, God showed up through the staff and volunteers of 71Five Justice. There, I got to know a man named Matt Sweeney. Fast forward several years and Matt counseled my wife and I and married us at our wedding. Matt has been such a blessing to me and my family. If you are staff, a financial partner, or a volunteer for 71Five, I thank you for all that you do! Your involvement with these youth is LIFE CHANGING! It may have taken me 15 years to fully know Jesus, but it was made possible by the men and women who are serving Him with their time, resources, and finances at 71Five.
 
Things have come full circle for me. God has provided the opportunity to serve on the 71Five Justice team as a volunteer, and I live a life that I never thought was possible.
 
Thank you! – Israel Pogrebinsky, 71Five Justice Volunteer
 
BEAU JESKA,  71Five Justice Coordinator  
(541) 601-9631 | beau@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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a real opportunity

Why did God create me so ugly?” That was one of the questions written by students after a recent middle school club at the 71Five Campus North Medford Youth Center. Another note asked, “What’s the point in life?” Still, another note asked, “Why is God making my life so hard and having me have so much anxiety and crying so much? It’s making it hard for me to go to school or even do anything.” Some of these notes really broke my heart as I read them. These reveal glimpses of what young people are really thinking and going through. We are always seeing glimpses like these at 71Five. During summer camps, we hear kids pour out the burdens and pains in the safe glow of a big campfire. On day trips, we do activities together with the kids and have long conversations during the van ride where kids often open-up about their lives. At club, we see kids week after week and notice when they aren’t doing well. Through trusting relationships we meet kids right where they are and start getting deeper and deeper with them over time. The hurts come to the surface, and we have a real opportunity to minister to kids and share the love of Jesus. A lot of our kids wouldn’t step foot inside a church. But they will go to a Youth Center. So, we have Youth Centers where we can share Jesus with those kids and answer their hard questions.
 
Are you willing to join us? Are you interested in being part of a team of people that have a passion for sharing the Gospel with young people who desperately need Him? Call us at (541) 779-3275 or visit 71Five.org because we would love to get you involved in the life of a young person who is in need today.
 
TIM HARDY,  71Five Campus Ministry Director – North Medford 
(541) 840-0960 | tim@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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Despite their beliefs

Despite what’s happening in the world our mission as people of God hasn’t changed a bit. We still have the same purposes of loving God, loving others, and making disciples. As a leader I often reflect on whether 71Five is doing a good job on our mission. I think this story shared by our Campus Ministry Director sheds light on how we’re doing.
 
“Hi, I’m Joe and I’m an atheist.” That’s how one of my students started his “testimony” of how God had worked in his heart at 71Five Camp. There were a lot of impactful testimonies shared that night. We heard time after time of tragedies that God turned into a redemptive story. But Joe’s story was different. He started with being clear he’s still an atheist. Joe went on to share how, despite his being an atheist, he sees how much love he gets at 71Five from “you Christians and your God.” Even though Joe doesn’t believe in God, he sees a difference in us. He knows we love him unconditionally, even though we don’t agree with him. Wouldn’t it be nice if the rest of society worked like that? Joe found safety and love at Youth 71Five Ministries, like a lot of kids do. Joe hasn’t found Jesus yet, but he’s honest with us about where he is spiritually. 
 
I love this story; it shows how in our love for God we authentically love young people despite what they believe or how they act. Joe knows we disagree with him and his beliefs, but he also knows he is truly loved. Likewise, he knows what it takes to follow Jesus offered through the trust that’s built on real love… (our mission lived out)!
 
Thank you for bringing the trust that leads to hope to any young person!
 
BUD AMUNDSEN,  71Five Executive Director  
(541) 779-3275 | bud@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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Don Hildebrand Legacy

With a mix of sadness and joy I attended the memorial service of Don Hildebrand to honor a life well lived. As part of the service, Don’s daughter Holly read a poem written to celebrate Don. What an amazing poem! The part that struck me personally was a line that referenced Sir Isaac Newton’s quote about how he could ‘see further because he stood on the shoulders of giants.’ That comment really captures how I and Youth 71Five Ministries connect with Don.
 
Don came to Oregon to be the Director of a tiny chapter of Youth for Christ in 1973. Over the next 20 years he turned that tiny organization into a well-known and much respected ministry to kids in the Rogue Valley. By the time Don hired me in 1991, everyone around town seemed to know the “oldest teenager in the Rogue Valley.” Radio shows, haunted houses, Mexico trips and golf tournaments put the name of Rogue Valley Youth for Christ into the headlines but much more importantly; an adventuresome spirit, a love of fun, a caring heart and a passion for Jesus brought hope into the lives of kids.
 
So here I am almost 30 years later sitting in the same seat Don sat in with an active and thriving ministry, but I can tell you this, we’ve reached this height because we stand on the shoulders of a giant. Rogue Valley Youth for Christ and now Youth 71Five Ministries have a tremendous heritage and the trust of our community because of what God did in and through the life of Don Hildebrand. A few things I’ve personally learned from Don and think about almost daily: first, don’t be too busy for those who need you; second, lead with fun: and last, love kids toward Jesus. These qualities of Don’s legacy are still hallmarks of 71Five.
 
I will miss his energy and bounce, his skill in sarcastic repartee, and the best work-related compliments I’ve ever been given. But… I know I’ll see him again, and in the meantime I’ll keep serving God, grateful to be standing on the shoulders of a giant.
 
BUD AMUNDSEN,  71Five Executive Director  
(541) 779-3275 | bud@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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a heartwarming surprise

At the Night of Mystery, I heard my name being shouted. I looked up and saw Christy running to give me a huge hug. She said “I was literally just saying how I really hoped I’d see you tonight.” It was a heartwarming surprise as I wasn’t sure of the last impression I’d made. The last time I saw Christy was when I drove her and 8 other students to the Redding Water Park a few months back. We had a blast talking, listening to music, eating junk food, and laughing the entire time! But there were times when I had to pause the fun and discipline them while driving, particularly Christy… and not just once, or even twice, but multiple times. That’s what made Christy’s hug all the more special! Even though I gave her some tough love that trip, I see she knows deep down I really care about her. Sometimes tough love is really just love.
 
God’s Word reminds us we must let go of our fears and do what is right, trusting He has control of the situation [1 Peter 3:14]. A little bit of tough love for a van full of students made a difference in the life of at least one young person. It created a bond that has now grown into a beautiful friendship. Thanks to you, trusting relationships can be formed between caring adults and young people. Relationships that lead our youth from trust to hope.
 
DARLENE HARPER,  71Five Mentors Coordinator  
(805) 202-9125 | darlene@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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I heard

Lately we’ve noticed something interesting at 71Five VoTech. People show up and start conversations with, “I heard…” Questions like: “I heard I can get air for my bike tire here.” Or, “I heard you can fix my taillights!” More importantly, I had a dad come by and say, “I heard you guys work with youth, do you think you might be able to reach my son?” The dad was at a loss to know what to do and was desperate to not lose his son. Together we are seeing his son thrive, make better life choices, engage in activities, learn new skills and most importantly, hear about the love of Jesus. This same family has now taken in a homeless young man and then said, “I heard you can include a boy like this into your classes. I would love to bring him here.” This second young man is also doing well.
 
People also say, “I heard you can use a new saw or a meal to feed the youth.” Have you ever had a tug on your heart to reach the youth of our valley… to be a person who builds trust that leads to hope? If so, you are just the one we’d love to have join 71Five, as a volunteer, prayer warrior or financial partner.
 
LARRY LICATO,  71Five VoTech Coordinator – Medford 
(541) 890-1819 | larry@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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best foot forward

Lily has been coming to 71Five Campus in Eagle Point since she was in Middle School. Over the past few weeks, she has gone above and beyond in helping out with things at club and has put her best foot forward while doing so. Lily has shown so much growth since I first met her several years ago. As a High Schooler, she recently became a 71Five Campus Student Leader. What a pleasure it is for me to help lead her in the next steps of growth and watch Lily develop where her desire to help out and set an example for other kids is given room to thrive.
 
It is so important to make sure the youth we minister to have opportunities for growth, and I am blessed to be able to offer every kid the privilege to grow in whatever way they can. Thank you for reaching teens like Lily, helping them grow in their gifts as they grow closer to Jesus!
 
PETER KUHL,  71Five Campus – Eagle Point Coordinator  
(541) 630-0648 | peter@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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Teach them well

At 71Five City, amid the fun, games and meals, we strive to faithfully teach and discuss the gospel with our kids. As it says in the Bible, “…on the way and as we do life together. Teach them well to your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and walk along the road. Talk about them when you lie down and when you get up.” [Deuteronomy 11:19]
 
During a recent middle school club we talked about the human condition. I asked, “Are people basically good, or do they need to be saved like the Bible says?” Faith mentioned our self-centered human nature without God saying, “People will do whatever they want to… Whenever they want to!” Mae shared, “The human heart always wants more and more.” These two girls showed such depth of insight about humans and our desperate need to be saved by God. I was so encouraged to hear these answers because it feels like we are in a constant battle to break through distractions and get to these types of conversations. 
 
You are the reason we’re able to create these times to teach our youth! Thank you for battling together, standing shoulder to shoulder in this most important struggle for our kids!
 
SHANE SKIRVIN,  71Five City – Liberty Park Coordinator  
(541) 646-1475 | shane@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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his name is Jeffrey

During the lesson, there’s always one kid who raises his hand. He doesn’t raise his hand because he has a question, he raises it because he wants to share his contradictions. His name is Jeffrey and he’s an agnostic. Jeffrey has been attending club and field trips for over a year now. Even though he doesn’t believe in God, he loves everything about 71Five and always participates in our activities. One day at club I pulled Jeffrey aside. I told him, “Instead of spending all of your time trying to disprove there’s a God, you should shift your focus to trying to prove that there is one.” He just shrugged his head to confirm he heard me. Several weeks later while sharing the lesson, sure enough his hand went up but I didn’t call on him. After I finished he came forward to talk to me. I said “I know, I know… You’re going to try to disprove there’s a God.” He responded, “No, I’m passed that.” I asked him, “Passed what?” He said, “I’m passed trying to disprove there’s a God. I believe there is one now. I actually took your advice and now I want to learn more.” I looked at him in disbelief, told him I was going to cry, gave him a big hug! I invited him to bible study, and he said yes.
 
As 71Five leaders encourage young people, hope is offered through a relationship with God that will make an eternal difference in that young person’s life. Thank you for making this possible!!
 
FARRAH GUTHRIE,  71Five Campus – Grants Pass Coordinator  
(541) 840-6544 | farrah@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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tatts, fun hair, and Jesus

I recently had a conversation with Anie; a young lady who began attending 71Five Parents Night in her first trimester. Anie expressed herself through her appearance in ways that were not openly accepted by the conservative church she grew up knowing. We were talking one day, and she told me that she had never met someone like me; “You have fun hair, tattoos, and really love Jesus.” Anie wanted to be all in with Jesus, but she also wanted the freedom to express her style. We continued to talk about who Jesus is, what He has done, and who we are in Him. It has been a blessing watching God take her through the journey of seeking Him more.
 
“71Five exists to share God’s story with young people through trusting relationships in any relevant way.” Sometimes its “fun hair, and tattoos” that allow us opportunities to share who Jesus is!
 
TERESA TONINI,  71Five Parents Coordinator  
(541) 941-1143 | teresa@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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