January 1, 2009
Dear Family and Friends,
One afternoon at World Impact the doorbell rang and Andrew and I saw two unexpected, smiling faces through the glass door. I was so excited to see Amanda and Tonya as I ran out to meet them. These two girls had regularly attended World Impact’s Children’s Program two years ago, then we were told that their family would soon be moving but they did not know when, and then one day they were just gone. No one had heard from them since they left—not an uncommon occurrence with the families we work with.
It can be a grueling aspect of the ministry—building relationships, emotionally investing, and then people are gone. Our neighborhood is filled with the memories of these people, and there are some days that the weight of their lives and the unknown breaks my heart. We pray that the words and love we shared with them will have a lasting impact, even if we do not get to see the results.
It was with these thoughts that I rushed out to meet Amanda and Tonya and hugged them tight. They were back in the neighborhood, and they had run up to the World Impact to see if we were still here. They were so excited to stay for our Jr. High Program that day and they have come regularly ever since.
Tuesdays they come with the other youth for games and a Bible Lesson. We recently finished a series on what it really means to follow Christ. Then on Thursdays, Amanda and Tonya come to join in our tutoring program, where I have created lessons for our youth that encourage learning and expose them to concepts and skills they do not receive in class. You would be shocked by the poor reading comprehension of our Jr. High youth and by their limited knowledge base.
Occasionally we host fun activities for the youth and on a recent Friday night we held a Movie Night. Despite the cold, wet night Amanda and six other youth came for the event (pictured to the right). Afterwards, Andrew and I drove the students home so they would not have to walk home in the dark.
Amanda gave directions to her home and when the van finally reached her house, we were shocked at how far this young girl had walked to participate in the program. Amanda and Tonya’s house stood eight blocks away from the ministry center, through a long stretch of the neighborhood that is mostly abandoned—certainly not a place for two young seventh grade girls to walk alone.
Andrew and I looked at each other as we pulled up to their rundown house feeling at once joy and heartache. They had been so affected by the love and commitment of our staff that they did not think twice about the distance, the rain, or the night. Instead, they come each week to be embraced by us and to hear the never-changing message of the love of Christ. We rejoice that God has given us this second opportunity to build relationships with these youth and we cherish it as a rare and special gift. Please pray for these youth. Jr. High is such a difficult period made even more difficult for our youth because of instability, broken families and inadequate education. We greatly appreciate each one of you and pray that God blesses you richly this year!
For His Kingdom, Andrew & Adria Medlen