Let’s just get real for a moment.
Setbacks suck and victories are hard-won.
2023 was a year of both.
- After collaborating for more than two years, we finally secured and staffed a youth ministry contract at Aviano AB, Italy only to have the Air Force terminate without warning.
- After more than two decades of award-winning ministry, we had to sundown our program at RAF Lakenheath Mildenhall. Despite several promising leads, we were not able to secure the staff to continue impacting military-connected youth.
- Our Executive Director, Kurt Anderson, was diagnosed with cancer and underwent 7 months of chemo and one complication after another.
Many of you stood by our side through these challenging times, for which we are grateful.
Now it may seem odd to lead the year-end report with our “failures.” It takes courage to acknowledge the unflattering realities of life and ministry. It’s more normal to boast about our accomplishments. We want to project success and confidence, a polished presentation of wins.
This is what makes Paul’s conclusion in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 difficult to accept. He makes a conscious choice to “boast all the more gladly about [his] weaknesses.” What’s the value in bragging about weakness, insults, hardships, persecution, and difficulties? Because Christ’s power is demonstrated best not in our natural strengths and talents, but in our broken limitations.
Broken limitations. How inadequate we are to the task before us!
Check out what our team achieved through the power of Christ in us:
- Tracy and Karna were able to impact 50 middle and high school youth at Aviano Air Base, Italy. Five of them made first-time decisions to follow Jesus.
- Josiah in Alconbury, England is the presence of Jesus to the teens there. He’s seeing all-time highs in the number of students and 5 new volunteer leaders are joining him.
- Kristi at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, FL is relentless in giving her faith away to the military teens on base. She’s crushing it!
- I wish you could meet Samantha at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. She is caring for two girls whose parents are going through a rough divorce. It breaks my heart, but Samantha and her team of leaders are walking alongside these sisters during a rocky transition season.
- Michelle at Fort Belvoir, Virginia is knocking it out of the park. Despite juggling another full-time job, 50 kids are coming every week to Club!
- Tina Flannery and Andrew Henness are another “third-line crossing” team at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. They are being Jesus with skin on to the military teens there.
- Chase McAllister at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii is seeing 30+ high school kids each week at Club.
- Amy Kersey at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska is stepping across district lines to find and reach military-connected teens scattered all over the city. Not to mention her volunteer team has nearly doubled in recent weeks.
Thank you for being the hero of a military teen somewhere in the world. Your willingness to partner with us in both the good and tough times provides much needed stability. May you experience God’s strength in both the good and challenging times of 2024!
Article by Brian Hershey, YFC Military Development Director