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By Randy Church

Randy is the Marketing/Court Liaison at Youth Town. He has served in this ministry over 20 years as a house parent, direct care worker, aftercare officer and camp director. He raised his children the better part of their childhood on our campus and his lovely bride, Lisa, supervises our food service. His servant’s heart bleeds through in the following words.

As a child, I was fortunate, no wait, blessed. Yeah that’s a better word. As a child I was blessed to be raised in a tiny agriculture-based town. The community was really small. Small enough that simple things still meant a lot. The county fair was still our “big deal” every year. It was popular not for the midway games and shows. The carnival rides weren’t the big draw either. It was, in fact, the handmade quilts and preserves. The homegrown fare was such as corn, pumpkins, tomatoes and beans. The craftsmen showing their best in hopes of the coveted blue ribbon and bragging rights for the next year. Another of the competitions that people looked forward to and prepared for was the animal showings. A pig farmer would take his prize hog, clean him, train him how to stand and show him. When the fair ended the farmer would take his prize animal back to the barnyard. What do you think that pig did when he got home? Yep, went right back to the mud. If nothing had changed in the barnyard, he went back to the same muck and mire.

At Youth Town, we see young men, on a regular basis, come from that muck and mire. The majority of these young men make life changing decisions and do all the “right stuff.” We witness awesome young men of God grow in their relationship with a Creator. In this relationship they learn they don’t have to continue to live in the trap of addiction. They can be set free! They see, many times for the first time in their young lives, there is a better way of living. We are blessed with watching these once broken and muddy young men walk out with their heads held high. They leave with good intentions.

What happens to these young men when they return to the same environment? Sadly, some go right back to the same old way of life without the family making any changes while others are staying clean and sober. The difference is change of environment. Many of the staff continue to pray for the guys and their families even after they have gone home.

You can join with us by giving and in praying for the families that need to make changes. Having been at Youth Town for more than 20 years, I have seen my share of well intending young men go home to the same turmoil from which they were delivered. I have also witnessed a greater number go back to the barnyard and not end up in the mud hole. Those are what keeps us going.

One of my least favorite things to hear a believer say is “All I can do is pray.” When we say that we send a message that the enemy hears. That message is that we don’t believe prayer is the most important thing we can do. What we should say is, “I can pray!”

Guess what? We can pray! Partner with us and lift up the families of these great guys. Oh yeah and give! God bless.