Tag Archives: #InspireEquipEncourage

Investing in Youth for a Better Future

By Charlotte “Spider” (Keenon) Fish

My name is Spider Fish and I run a gap year program at the YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, Colorado for youth that are between the ages of 18 and 24. People frequently ask me, “Why do you do what you do?”

I cannot answer this question without giving credit to the fact that back when I was just a young, punk of a kid, people stepped into my life to support, encourage, and invest in me.

They opened their homes to me, shared a meal around a table, came to my soccer games, took me with them on errands, gave me responsibilities, asked me hard questions, held me accountable, inspired me to dream bigger, introduced me to Jesus, showed up, and were present in the moment.

They shared life with me and taught me that life is not always perfect. In fact, life can be ugly and messy and sometimes hurts, but they showed me that, in those difficult moments, I didn’t have to go it alone.

They believed in and saw something of value in me, and that made the difference for this misfit that was trying to find my place in the world. And now, because of the blessing those adults were to me, I can be a blessing to the youth that God brings into my life.

With all that we are seeing in the media these days, I am inclined to believe that perhaps now, more than any other time, adults need to be pouring into the lives of youth by coming alongside them, asking those hard questions, holding them accountable, and loving them where they are in the moment.

Even though I grew up in Texas, many of the adults that poured into and encouraged me were people I met through Christian Endeavor in Pennsylvania. I spent 14 summers traveling to PA to attend Summer Assembly and many of these adults invited me into their homes before or after the conference. I have no doubt they had their own busy lives to live, yet they still made time for me.

Words are not enough to express my gratitude to: Jeff and Geralyn Peiffer, Bob and Barb Wurgley, Dave and Janet Wenker, Charlie and Esther Popjoy, Greg and Jan Trievel, Bruce and Cheryl McMordie, and so many others.

My question to you would be: Why do you do what you do? Are you living a life of purpose that has a lasting impact? If not, what are you waiting for?!!!

Opportunity Beyond My Ability

By Pete Grimm, Leesburg Presbyterian Church, Volant PA

My story starts off like this. My name is Pete Grimm and I thought I was just an ordinary teenage boy. Key word being thought. My testimony starts off from when I was going into the sixth grade, the day of open house where I could meet my new teachers and get a feel for my classes. It was this morning that my grandmother died. My grandmother was my life, she was the person who cared for me the most. My Mom and Dad were the best parents I could ever ask for; they worked as hard as they could to provide for me and my three brothers. Even with all of that hard work, they had to rely on Grandma Nana. During my young childhood I was extremely reliant on her. She did everything for me from order food for me when we went out to eat, to fighting my battles with other people. So when she passed away I was devastated. I couldn’t grasp why she was taken from me.

Fast forwarding a few years and I am sixteen at the time. I was riding a four-wheeler through the woods and it was dark out on a trail I didn’t know so well, going way too fast. Then bang. I hit a tree. I felt my head touch the tree lightly. If I would have hit it harder it would have killed me. I don’t know how or why I walked away from the accident without a scratch. I asked God why. There are thousands of people in this world that made dumb mistakes like I did and they didn’t walk away, thousands of people that I thought are both better than me and deserve life more than I did. I kept asking God why, I kept praying for an answer.

It was a few months later at the World C.E. convention in San Diego California that I found my answer. I was approached by an individual and was told I was volunteered to be a small group leader. What is a small group leader? A small group leader was a leader of Devotionals. Now how does this all tie together? The first day of small group session I had a list of eighteen people who should have been there. Six showed up. These were the key to my testimony. So I went on with my lesson and we started to go off course from the questions. We started to talk more about everyone’s life and how God works through their lives. The next day I noticed that a few new people showed up and then the next a few more, and the second to last day it was only the original six. Then at the end of the devotional I turned around and saw about twelve more people sitting in the pew behind me just listening. I was obviously making an impact.

And that is when my life puzzle fell into place. The reason my grandma died and the reason I didn’t die that day was because God had His plan for me from the start and He was going to make sure I filled it. My Grandma Nana died when she did so I could build my confidence in myself and to make me able to stand in front of a group and talk to others and not be scared about it. God took her to build my self-esteem and become an independent person. The reason I didn’t die that day in the accident is because God had already begun to make me the person I needed to be to stand in front of people from other countries and who know the Bible more than and better than I do. Standing in front of that group, I was the least qualified to be doing what I was doing. But, with God’s help He made me the person I was that day and gave me the opportunities I had to spread His word to people I didn’t even know. God works in mysterious ways and as humans we might not realize that. I didn’t. But that day I was there for one reason and one reason only, and that was God’s plan for me.