Here at the end of one semester and the beginning of the next I want to take an opportunity to recognize our Youth For Christ leaders. Fifty paid and volunteer leaders enter area high schools and middle schools to build trusting friendships so teens can explore a relationship with Jesus. Every week, make that every day, they pursue youth with the love of Christ. It’s awesome seeing our team in action.
Each week I have a front-row seat as leaders sit patiently with teens to learn their stories. They listen and present the hope of Christ. Kennedy Grice serves as our Hillcrest Middle School director. Kennedy hails from Meridian, MS, and is a junior at the University. She has been on our team for three years. Kennedy now serves a team of five other leaders at her school. Every Thursday morning, she rises before the break of dawn and meets her team at HMS. They consistently pour into the lives of kids who are desperately seeking truth and hope. Kennedy loves her kids and they love her as well. But what makes her story truly remarkable is that Kennedy was almost not with us this year. I don’t mean not on our team. I mean at one point I thought I would never see her again. Last spring, out of nowhere, Kennedy suffered a cardiac arrest. Family and friends had gathered to offer their support. But her prognosis was grim. We were shocked and devastated. Then amazingly, miraculously, she recovered. I remember asking another leader one day. “Have you heard an update on Kennedy?” She said, “Yeah she is good, she was at Campus Life club this week.” Wow! Her story cannot be fully told here.
As a student at UA, Kennedy has enough opportunities to easily fill three people’s schedules. She has opportunities with UA campus ministries, sororities, study groups, other clubs and organizations and much more. And all of that in addition to classes and studying. Yet Kennedy does something that many people would find amazing. She invests hours every week in the lives of middle schoolers. Why? “Because of what happened last year I take seriously every opportunity I have. I just don’t want to waste a minute of my time. That’s why. What could be more important than sharing the life and the love of Christ to these kids? We don’t always know what is going on in their lives. That we can bring joy and consistency is huge.”
I don’t know how Kennedy’s story strikes you. I am humbled and inspired by it. I am reminded that I don’t want to waste a second of my life either. I am also reminded that God is working through you and me to make Kennedy’s ministry possible. Without Youth For Christ, Kennedy may have never discovered the joy of sharing the Good News with middle school students. And though her story is remarkable 49 other leaders have chosen Youth For Christ out of countless options. Thank you for joining Kennedy. Thank you for choosing to reach students with the Good News of Jesus. Thank you for making this your mission.
Let me remind you of several ways you can help us minister to more students in 2024. If you know a middle school student, please connect them to our Thursday afternoon Hang Outs that will begin January 18. You can connect high schoolers to us on Monday nights from 6:30 to 8:30 beginning January 22. Both of these weekly programs take place at our Clubhouse. We need meals for both of these weekly gatherings. We are always on the lookout for new volunteer leaders who are ready to make a difference in the lives of students. I would love to talk with anyone interested. We need one or more friends who could give a couple of hours in the office each week. Tasks may look like stuffing letters, sorting and organizing supplies or running an errand. We also are looking for an adult Sunday school class or group looking for a one-day service project. (painting, cleaning, organizing)
2023 was a great year. God has invited us into His work in 2024. I am eager to get started.