Last week we celebrated the lives of two godly men and friends of Youth For Christ – Rusty Karraker and Chuck Mangini. Each was profoundly impacted by Jesus and their faith in Him touched so many others. What I can’t stop thinking about was a unique gift that God gave each of them. God gave Rusty and Chuck an awareness that their new heavenly life was imminent with an urgency to act.
Each had a chance to prepare, to encourage those around them, to write letters and express their love and hope to friends and family. Living with the hope of heaven and an awareness of this life’s frailty was a gift given to these guys and shared with those around them. Do you live with that same awareness and urgency? If I knew this was my last week before heaven, what would I say or share?
Just as I was stewing on all of this I received a praise report from our Campus Life staff member Cam. Five years ago we met Richard as barely a teenager. He had met one of our staff in his group home and had seeds of the gospel planted then. But for years it looked like no growth or imperceptible small growth (I can relate!). Just this year he stumbled into Campus Life at his high school and met Cam. After hitting it off Cam invited Richard to come to YFC camp this summer and Richard came with 7 of his friends.
Richard loved chapel and especially the testimonies around the campfire at camp. “It is my FAVORITE part” he shared. We thought it would be the games! At camp the gospel was shared again but Richard wasn’t ready. After he got back home all he could think about was what everyone was saying during chapel and the testimonies. He started really missing those moments.
Back at Campus Life Club Richard became super engaged. Cam took him out to lunch for an appointment and they started talking about what they’d heard at camp and what kept sticking with Richard. Cam shared about what it means to believe in Jesus and how we are reconciled with God through Christ’s death and resurrection. Cam asked Richard if he wanted to consider giving his life to Jesus. Richard said Yes! They walked through it and prayed together.
God’s been after Richard with his love, life, and purpose in Christ. Richard had multiple touch points with YFC in different ways and different places. Look how God used his people and this organization to plant seeds. Cam shared with me that “the fact we get to be a part of this is crazy” – miraculous I’d add.
Here Richard is at the beginning of his life with Christ with Rusty and Chuck showing me what his future can now hold; resilience in the face of life’s trials, fruit multiplied by God’s power working through him, peace and confidence in the face of sin and death. Rusty and Chuck gave that those around them and those behind them would know Jesus too.
For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. 2 Cor 5:4
That which is mortal, swallowed up by life. Suffering swallowed up by life. My time, treasure, and talent swallowed up by life. My earthly days imbued with life. Teach me to number my days, O Lord, that I may gain a heart of wisdom! That was Rusty and Chuck. That’s you and me. That’s now Richard. What a gift of our Lord and Savior Jesus.
Infants together in eternity,
P.S. Campus ministry is off to a great start! The newest site, Reedley Campus Life, had over 70 kids for its launch. Everywhere we look we see opportunity from God to connect with more Richards. Would you join us in prayer specifically for campus ministry this month?