Life Change Kid Story Blog:

 

leader of her peers

We first met Kelsie when she was 16, pregnant, living at home, and still in high school. She has been coming to our group for 2 years now and she just graduated last May. We are so proud of her and the young woman and mom she is. Kelsie has grown over the last couple years in her relationship with the Lord and is feeling the call to be a leader and work with youth. This year we have started a weekly discipleship class for our young moms who are now out of high school, and Kelsie is a part of that group. We have been praying that these young moms would mature and grow in their relationship with the Lord and in the ways that they are called to be discipled and also to go and make disciples. We have been praying specifically that as we transition these young moms from our high school group to this new discipleship class, that one of them would take on the roll of being a leader with their peers. And in doing that would step up to organizing and initiating group play dates and times of fellowship. Just recently Kelsie expressed a desire to do this and has organized her first group gathering for other young moms to come and find community and support. It is exciting to see the Lord answering our prayers and to watch Kelsie be a leader with her peers and grow as a disciple of Christ.
 

Thank you for your support of 71Five Parents. The Lord has called us all to “go and make disciples” and because of your support and generosity we are seeing new disciples rise up, and we are seeing them go and make more disciples! – APRIL BARSALOU 71Five Parents Assistant Director (541) 779-3275 april@71Five.org

“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB


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Does it take a village?

When I thanked my cousin for picking my daughter from school she told me, “It takes a village to raise a kid.” Is that ever true! It got me thinking about all of the people involved in the life-changing work the Lord does through Youth 71Five Ministries. Take Chris and Drew for example, two kids running hard in local gangs before they were apprehended by law enforcement and lodged at Juvenile Detention. While in detention, 71Five Justice engaged them with Thursday Night Groups, Chapel Services, lunch appointments, and many one-to-one visits. When Chris and Drew were transferred to the “Barriers to Bridges” (or B2B) residential program, we continue building trusting relationships. They are now picked up for church services and were recently baptized. Every Monday they’re discipled by a volunteer husband and wife team. They also participate in the 71Five Justice “Break the Cycle” program and love it so much they plan to join the high school mountain biking team. We also plan to plug them into the 71Five VoTech Training Program. They’re both running hard for Jesus now thanks to all of the wonderful people who have answered His call to action. Does it take a village to change lives? You bet! I love my 71Five village and thank you for making all of this possible.
 
Would you be willing to plug into my “village” deeper? Please reach out so I can tell you more and see if one of our ministry areas is a fit for you. There are diverse ways our youth are engaged by competent and compassionate adults, building trusting relationships that are essential in giving kids hope—the kind of hope that is life-changing. BEAU JESKA 71Five Justice Director (541) 779.3275 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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reaching the young

Back in November, Rogue Valley Youth for Christ became Youth 71 Five Ministries, an independent organization after 54 years with Youth for Christ. It wasn’t an easy decision, but one reason for the change was we felt we could reach more youth by continuing to reach elementary age kids. This has been shown true in a family that lives in my North Medford neighborhood. It started with an eight-year-old named Selina offering to do some yard work for me. I invited her to a 71Five event, and she brought her ten-year-old sister. As they continued to get involved, I learned they had a pregnant 16-year-old sister, a 14-year-old autistic brother and are good friends with many other kids in my neighborhood. Through the relationships I forged with the younger girls, we were able to get help for their pregnant sister through our 71Five Parents ministry. Now, the two young girls are involved in my church’s AWANA program where they’re learning the Bible every week and the teen mom has been overwhelmingly thankful for all the help we are giving her family.
 
I rarely know the rippling impacts of reaching out to a particular kid; but reaching out to Selina, my eight-year-old neighbor, has had a huge impact already. I’m thankful with Youth 71Five, I still have the opportunity to reach these kids. Would you like to see ripples grow in your community? It doesn’t take much. At 71Five, we have many ways for you to have an eternal impact in the lives of kids and your community. Are you willing to get involved? Give us a call at (541) 779-3275. TIM HARDY 71Five Campus Area Director – North Medford  (541) 779-3275 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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past the facade

Each week, dozens of ‘kid stories’ pass my desk. I’m often stunned by how wounded many of our young people are. One adopted boy has been in trouble and his adoptive family has abandoned him. A young girl who’s pregnant is so unable to trust caring adults, she’s living on the streets. Working with these kids is incredibly difficult because in their deep pain they often lash out at the folks who are trying to care for them. I’m proud Youth 71Five staff both paid and volunteer, seek to look past the facade of anger, bravado and disrespect to see each young person as they truly are— A child who’s been hurt, abandoned and afraid to trust.
 
You provide the adult who graciously absorbs the insults and continues to get close to show the young person there is a thing called trust and that trust leads to hope. Every week, kids don’t just hear about Jesus— they see Jesus! Thank you!! 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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pursue trust

Jenna was only eleven when her mother passed away. A cyclone of pain, decimating the foundation of her world, left Jenna with confusion and brokenness. From a referral at school, she was connected with Youth 71Five Mentors and received her own mentor at the age of twelve. By her own admission, Jenna was distant and unable to trust. However, that didn’t stop Denise from pursuing her to build a friendship and to help rebuild from the destruction left by the storm. Jenna said that it was Denise’s consistency that allowed her to open up and trust an adult, saying herself “Denise was really there for me the whole time I struggled, in life, with high school drama, with boys, with getting a driver’s license… I knew she would be there and be someone I could count on to talk about anything.”
 
Jenna recently graduated from high school and is now headed off to college to be a cardio-thoracic surgeon! Denise, who works at a hospital, was able to bring Jenna in to show her around. She also, connect her with a physician’s assistant to be able to watch an actual surgery performed! Jenna didn’t need her mentor to solve all of her problems and life’s pain, she needed a caring person to walk alongside her through it all, to show up, to listen, and to encourage. That is exactly what Denise did for five years… Their relationship will continue on at college! MISTY DUKE 71Five Mentors Director (541) 779.3275 misty@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB

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Bitter to Sweet

In anticipation of becoming the new 71Five VoTech Director, I did some traveling this summer to renew and acquire some certifications to pass on to our students. Before I left I ran into one of the young men who graduated from our program. He related to me how grateful he was for the training and is now employed at an automotive company here in the Valley. I was encouraged to hear his story and asked him, “So where are you living”? He said, with no remorse, “I’m living in my car”. Wow, really, I thought! When I asked why he said, “I’m saving money to move into my own place with a friend”. This young man is working hard but it’s tough!

It just so happens our new VoTech Center will have transitional housing for situations like this. But more importantly— beyond learning tech skills, students will also learn about life in Christ. This comes as they hear God’s message, moving them into a trust that leads to Hope in Jesus. This young man is trying hard and moving forward, with your continued involvement we’ll see his and many more lives move from bitter to sweet. Thank you! LARRY LICATO 71Five VoTech Director (541) 779-3275 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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all you can eat!

Camp is an amazing opportunity to love on the kids God has connected us with throughout the year. One important part of 71Five Camp is to give the young people who show up our very best. We want to love them the same way Jesus loves us! So… we feed them amazingly good food (Thanks to Rosie our cook and her team of helpers). Some of the kids eat better at camp than they ever have! We always do a steak night where the favorites are ribeye and tri-tip and if you can believe it— it’s all you can eat! In fact, this year I had three different kids come up to me during camp telling me “I’ve never eaten this good in my life” and they meant it!
 
By putting our love for these kids into action, they believe us when we tell them Jesus loves them and has proven it through His actions… dying on the Cross for our sins. 37 out of 59 Middle School kids who came to Camp gave their lives to Jesus this summer. It all started with some really great food followed up by the best News you’ll ever hear. Thank you for providing trust that leads to hope! ROBERT MILTON 71Five Campus Area Director & Ministry Coordinator (541) 779-3275 robert@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 ICB
 

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Sitting at the gate

It was Sunday morning, and I was sitting in the airport missing my wife as we had barely an hour together from the time I returned home from High School camp until I had to be at the airport. I was flying to New York for a class needed for our new vocational training program: 71Five VoTech. Sitting at the gate, I prayed for an opportunity to share about Jesus with someone. At the gate in Chicago, it happened… A young lady walked by and exclaimed, “I’m missing my Sunday School class.” I looked up at her and said: “So am I!” The ladies with her mentioned she was the teacher. “So am I!” I said. With the biggest smile, she shared about her middle school class. I shared about a topic from camp, how Jesus said in the garden; “Father, not my will but yours be done.” The ladies with her said how good that passage is because it reminds how real Jesus is and him going to the cross is not to be taken lightly. Then the lady exclaimed. “Oh my, we just held Sunday School!”
 
I think many others around us attended Sunday School as well, clearly hearing about the trust that leads to hope in Jesus. LARRY LICATO 71Five City Director (541) 779-3275 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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these things take time

The final night of middle school camp, the young girl stepped forward to confess a nicotine addiction and to share her story. . . Angela had been placed in several different abusive foster homes. A couple weeks prior, she was transitioned into a good foster home but treated them badly. During the week of camp, she reflected on her negative behavior towards the new family and couldn’t wait to return home with a new attitude and to thank them for being so great. Angela’s testimony was followed by many others who told of positive changes and how camp had shifted their perspective.
 
Deep-rooted pain rose to the surface, was released through confession, and replaced with hope in Jesus. I thought, if only we could have talked about these things the first day we arrived. Truth is— these things take time. Their pain was not revealed the first night because trusting relationships had to be built. Your involvement with Youth 71Five brings trust that leads to hope for young people. – FARRAH GUTHRIE 71Five Campus Area Director – Grants Pass (541) 779-3275 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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Immeasurable Joy!

I had just placed an order, handed the menus back to our waiter and settled in for some quiet conversation with my best friend. . . Across the table was my wife and we were in the Mexican restaurant just down from our home. Almost like a scene from a movie, a head suddenly popped out from the side of the booth behind Jan and the 20-something young lady asked; “Are you Matt Sweeney? My name is Cheryl and I was in juvenile detention some years ago.” Jan has serve with me in the detention center and we both immediately responded, “Wow! Yes, I do remember you.” Cheryl was having dinner with her husband and their 2-year-old son. Rubbing her swelling tummy, she declared; “This is our daughter. She’ll be born in November.” It had been a few years since we last crossed paths and it was a great blessing to see Cheryl along with her growing family. She was quick to let us know she still attends church and the joy in her eyes reflected the joy in her heart.
 
God blesses us from time to time when we learn that some of the seeds planted over many years in detention has landed on good soil. Here before us we saw evidence of God growing a crop of faith in Cheryl and her family through Youth 71Five Ministries. The joy this gives cannot be measured. Thank you for scattering seeds for the Kingdom of God— we see trust that leads to hope. MATT SWEENEY 71Five Connect Director & Ministry Coordinator (541) 779-3275 matt@71Five.org
 
“Lord God, you are my hope. I have trusted you since I was young.” Psalm 71:5 icb
 

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