Because God loves you

We had the best week of our lives traveling to Florida with our mamas and their children.  15 girls, 14 children, 7 leaders and 7 child care workers were along for the ride. 

All year we've focused on making our girls feel seen and loved.  Our camp trip is the epitome of this.  Southwest Airlines graciously helped us roll out the red carpet for our friends by chartering a plane just for our group and our travel companions of 3 other YoungLives areas from the DFW area.  They helped us with excellent service from the moment we arrived at Love Field.  After check in, we announced to the girls that we would be heading to Disney World before camp.  They couldn't believe it.

We arrived in Orlando and headed to Disney's All Star Movie Resort.  Night one kicked off with a pizza party by the pool.  The next day, we headed to Magic Kingdom.  I loved watching the girls be kids themselves, loving rides and excited to meet their favorite characters.  At the same time, I saw them be incredible mothers as they cared for children, endured the heat, patiently waited in lines, and engaged with their children.  We set them up to give their kids an incredible day at the "Happiest Place on Earth."  Our girls went to the max.  I watched the firework show that night with two of our girls and their toddlers.  Tears flowed down my cheeks as I watched their looks of awe and wonder.  It was truly a gift.


The next morning we loaded up buses and headed to Young Life's Southwind where we spent the next 5 days proclaiming the Gospel to these girls and continuing to awe them with love, service, and excellence.  They were told that we love them because God loves them.  They heard that He has a plan for them and for their children. 

We told our girls that they "mommed hard" all week. Traveling with small children and parenting in a different environment is no small feat.  One of our mamas came on the trip with a 5/6 week old and dominated it!  One highlight of the week was hearing the girls talk about how empowered they felt as moms because they were able to do it all and care for their children.  They had a lot of time to bond with their children during the time at Disney World, participating in swim lessons from Linda DeSanders of Dolfin Swim School who traveled with us at camp, and time at camp like the kiddie carnival.  It is beautiful to see these young women love and adore their children.  We want them to be excellent mothers regardless of their past experiences.

Many of our friends responded to the message of Christ's sacrifice by choosing to walk in relationship with God.  At the end of the week we celebrated 6 of our girls choosing to begin a relationship with Jesus.  We were overjoyed.

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After leaving camp, we surprised the girls one last time by taking them to the beach for two hours.  None of our girls had ever seen the ocean before and two of them cried when they saw it's beauty.  They soaked up the beauty of creation after spending a week learning more about the Creator.

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Our leaders are continuing to walk with these girls back home.  They've all received bibles and some bible studies to begin learning more about God on their own.  Some leaders are doing the study alongside the girls.  We continue to gather them together and they've started to gather themselves.  A few of our girls have started looking for churches to attend (Would love any recommendations for Spanish speaking options with good theology!).  Our prayer now is that these girls would be "good soil" and that we would be able to fight back against the sun scorching their faith or the weeds choking it out.

Thank you for the opportunity to give these girls the best week of their lives!

A New Season for the Rodriguez's

After serving on Young Life staff for the past three years, Luis and I have decided this summer is the time for me to step away from staff and pursue the next calling in my life. Through many prayers and conversations with mentors and staff, it has been affirmed that raising Nora and managing our household is a desire the Lord is allowing me to pursue wholeheartedly in this next season.

I never expected to come on staff with Young Life when I first started volunteering five years ago, but it was exactly what the Lord had in mind for me at the time. From the staff transition that happened in year one to knowing over 200 kids and constantly meeting new ones in year two, we have witnessed that God is on the move through WyldLife and Young Life at Greenhill.

Before my third year began, Luis and I welcomed our first daughter, Nora, into the world. I felt confident to continue working after having her and to finish out my three-year commitment. It was during this year that I realized just how challenging it would be to balance staff and motherhood, though I loved both. This season has caused me to lean on grace and experience it in a way I’ve never had to before. I’ve seen the depth of Jesus’ grace when I felt like I couldn’t measure up or that I wasn’t doing enough. His grace has allowed me to freely do the best I can. It has been a reminder that Christ’s love is simply for me, not for Courtney “the staffer” or Courtney “the mom,” but simply – for Courtney. This year of ministry has been a lesson of self-care and the continual strengthening of faith.

We have decided that June will be my last month on staff, and then I will be staying home, full-time, with Nora. It has been a bittersweet decision to make. These last 3 months of the Spring semester have been so fun, and we’ve gained so much momentum with kids. But I am truly excited to think about what the Lord is going to do next in the Greenhill community. Luis and I will continue to volunteer with Young Life, walking alongside our high school friends and pointing them to Jesus.

During my final month on staff, I will be working at a Young Life camp property called Sharp Top Cove in Jasper, Georgia. Young Life camps across the country serve as a time and place that is sacred, where many kids begin a relationship with Christ with the help of their leaders. I am excited to spend some of my last days on staff with this ministry witnessing the life change that I have also seen in the past three years serving at Greenhill. Isaiah 55 promises us that the Word of the Lord does not return void. I am confident that the Word of the Lord will continue to move and grow in these hearts. I have hope that the best days are to come and that the Holy Spirit is on a move in the middle school and high school halls of Greenhill.

I want to thank each of you for your constant support and prayers over the past three years. I am grateful for your generosity, encouragement, and the many ways you have directly been a part of impacting kids’ lives with the Gospel. I am grateful for your investment in me and my family as we have learned to depend on the Lord more fully. It has been an incredible privilege and honor to serve as the Young Life and WyldLife coordinator for the Greenhill community these past three years. You have made that possible for me, and I am forever grateful for you! I have no doubt the best years of ministry are ahead of us and pray the Lord continues moving in mighty ways on Greenhill’s campus and through the community. 

As we step into this next season filled with unknowns, I ask for your prayers:

·      For someone to take my place as a staff person and ministry coordinator.

·      For the Greenhill YL community to grow wide and deep.

·      For Greenhill teachers and staff to be supported and involved on campus.

·      For my family and me as I transition back to volunteering and into being a full-time mom.

Thank you for caring for me as I transition into a new season.

In Christ,


Pictures above - Nora came to freshmen girls Bible study every Thursday morning; My first time to take girls to WyldLife camp; Some of my 8th grade girls enjoying club at camp; WyldLife crud wars this spring; Young Life paint war last spring; Young Life girls at club on a Sunday night; Our family. 

All about the one

Our best way to meet new pregnant and parenting girls is through on-campus activities at school.  This school year, we have the incredible opportunity to teach a parenting class once a month at both WT White and Thomas Jefferson High School.  This time gives our leaders the opportunity to begin building relationships with the girls and we are able to provide them with meaningful conversation and information about being a mother.

At our first lunch at WT White, one girl stood out to me.  She was barely through her first trimester, but was super engaged in the discussion.  Our first lesson was on having hopes and dreams for your child and helping them achieve them.  She had a lot of dreams already for the little life growing inside of her.  She shared that she wanted this baby to have a better life than she had. 

As I walked out of the room, a school employee shared her thoughts on that particularly troubled girl.  I would have never guessed how rough her past was from her participation in our parenting class.  It was actually her second day at school after being at a juvenile detention center.  I've heard a lot of painful stories from girls involved in YoungLives, but this girl's past and present are particularly painful. 

At the first campaigners meeting, she shared that the best thing in her life right now is the way her leader texts her and encourages her.  She said she is looking forward to camp with that leader this summer. 

There is so much going "wrong" in her life right now.  While I'm so thankful that we've been able to bring YoungLives to all the girls at WT White, in some ways it feels like we were supposed to bring it this year just for this one girl.  When everything else in her life points to pain and brokenness, her leader is being able to communicate something different. 

She is just a few weeks away from her due date and we are thankful for the opportunity to cheer her on as she becomes a mother.  We believe the dreams she shared for her child in that first meaning are attainable.  We know that God has a purpose and a plan for this beautiful teenager and that beautiful baby growing inside her.


YoungLives at WT White

Last fall we began to dream and pray about starting a YoungLives group for WT White High School.  In the spring, Grace Bible Church stepped forward and offered to host the group and expressed interest in having many members of their congregation serve.  At our fundraising tea in February, we raised a record $60,000 for YoungLives in this community.  This provided the financial resources we needed to move forward.

Over the summer, we worked to set up infrastructure and recruit new committee members and leaders.  Women easily stepped up to coordinate meals and the children's program.  Five volunteer leaders committed to pursuing pregnant and parenting girls at WT White High School.  We even had the opportunity to bring one WT White student to camp with us this summer.  She and her daughter had an amazing time.  She couldn't wait for the fall to start and for YoungLives to be at her school year.  Grace Bible Church has been an incredibly generous host to us.  Their congregation has welcomed our girls with open arms and has made them feel special.


God truly orchestrated every detail in the perfect way only He can.  The girl who came to camp with us this summer has done an incredible job of encouraging other girls to attend.  We were given access to all the parent and pregnant girls at the school and teach them a parenting class during the school day once a month.  This time allows for our leaders to meet girls on their turf and to begin building relationships with them.

Our WT White Club has had three events this school year with about five girls attending each event.  They will have their first actual club tomorrow night and will have a BIG celebratory Christmas Club on December 12.  Please continue to pray for girls at WT White and for the start of this ministry.


The Gift of a Week at Camp

Our team believes that YoungLives camp offers one of the best proclamations of the Gospel available to teenagers.  For this reason, we work HARD to get girls to camp. 

One of our girls, Denice, originally told us she was going to be unable to attend camp because she would not be able to get time off work.  She worked at Lark on the Park near Klyde Warren Park.  Via some internet research, we were able to find contact information for the head chef at the restaurant and the General Manager.  We told both of them about the situation and why we desired for Denice to join us at camp.  Denice had been told no by her direct supervisor, which is totally understandable.  We asked these men for a generous and gracious gift to a low-level employee.

The head chef was particularly sympathetic to the situation and had been unaware that Denice was also a mother.  As he heard about the opportunity, he promised to do whatever it took to let Denice get to camp.  Two days later, he was able to tell her to take the week off.  After he told her he texted me saying, "I wish you could have seen the way her face just lit up."  Denice could not believe that the head chef had heard about this opportunity for her and that he cared enough to make it possible for her and her daughter. 

We are so thankful for the generosity of the staff at this restaurant and their level of care for one of our girls (Next time you go there, please let them know you are a fan of YoungLives.)  Denice is one of our girls who primarily communicates in Spanish.  We brought her to camp knowing that everything at camp communicates the Gospel, even if she is unable to understand parts of the verbal proclamation. 

One of the most beautiful parts about camp this year was holding cabin time in both English and Spanish.  Two of our girls prefered to communicate in Spanish and understand minimal English.  Half of our cabin could speak both English and Spanish.  One of our leaders could speak Spanish.  The girls translated questions and answers into both languages so that everyone was able to participate.  Truly, nothing will separate us from the love of Christ.

A few of our girls accepted Christ for the first time at camp and all of our girls left interested in learning more.  With their difficult pasts, it is difficult to reconcile a God who is good with what they have experienced.  We respect their decision to learn more and are eager to spend more time with them studying the bible in campaigners and in one-on-one time with a leader.  Our girls were blown away by the way they were loved and served at camp.  Thank you for helping to make this week possible for our girls.


A Shirt to Share the Gospel

There is something special about walking up and down the hallways of a high school and seeing kids wear a special Young Life t-shirt they helped create. At the start of each school year, kids who are excited for their friends to hear about the Gospel of Christ, flood their leaders’ living rooms to come up with a new and exciting design for the annual Young Life t-shirt. At W.T. White High School, our kids love t-shirts. Often the buzz for a new design is enough to get new kids to Young Life Club on Monday night. Sometimes it can even convince a kid to come to camp

A few weeks ago, North Dallas Public Schools organized a College Road Trip to all public school kids in North Dallas. Julio didn't want to go on the trip initially, but we pulled him in with the prospect of a new t-shirt.

"Is it long sleeve?!" 


"Oh! So Awesome! I'm so there!"

Julio came with us as we traveled down to Baylor and the University of Texas, and he sat incredibly still while listening to our Associate Area Director, Clark, proclaim the Gospel during club. I’ve seen first-hand God use seemingly insignificant details for His very significant will. I believe God used a simple t-shirt to help Julio hear how Jesus Christ loves him enough to die for him.

Julio loved our camp-like Road Trip. He loves his Young Life, navy blue, Gildan long-sleeve road trip t-shirt. His enthusiasm and understanding of God’s love for him is evident every Monday night at Club. These t-shirts are a gift for our public school kids.  They put in so much effort and enthusiasm to design a shirt in hopes that their friends will ask about it and come to Young Life.  It’s a small gift that makes a huge impact in the lives of kids, not because they get a free t-shirt but because it opens doors for kids to hear the good news of Jesus and start a relationship with Him. You can support Young Life in North Dallas by helping to provide for the cost of t-shirts - a gift that keeps on giving! Kids wear them everywhere they go. Imagine the joy you’ll feel if you happen on one of our kids wearing one. It is one more reminder that North Dallas kids are hearing about the saving grace of Jesus at Young Life club on Monday nights at 7:27 pm. 

W.T. White Young Life in their new shirts at club. 

W.T. White Young Life in their new shirts at club. 

What Makes Sense

Three years ago I had just returned home from three months in Africa, jobless yet hopeful. I found myself sitting in a movie with friends when North Dallas Young Life’s Area Director leaned over and asked, “Have you ever considered working for Young Life?”  I had not but was certainly open to the prospect as my job and life goals are education and ministry. He told me he had a full-time position available for me at a new school, and so the story begins. 

A few months went by and the full-time position was no longer available.  However, in that time I met with the Area Director again and he offered me a part-time position to help start Young Life & WyldLife at ESD. I sat there and thought about how little sense it would make to accept a part-time ministry job with bills and plenty of school debt to pay.  But God (because God is never too worried about what makes sense), spoke as clear as day to my heart.  He said, “There are kids who are going to be worth all of this.” I believed Him.  

So, here I am - two and a half years on staff with Young Life with yet another story of the faithfulness of God.  The faithfulness of God, the worthiness of Jesus to be followed here to Dallas, has been one of the sweetest chapters in the story of my life because Jesus is worth all my time and all of my heart. God has given me everything it takes to love and show up for the kids, week by week, year by year. I cannot measure the value of these relationships against my part-time finances or time.  These kids are the greatest gift, the greatest compensation, I could receive despite the lack of worldly sense it made to accept a part-time position in Young Life to reach them for Jesus. And for the love of Jesus and the love of all my young friends, I would accept this gifted position again. 

And again. 

And again. 

Daily Discipleship Grows Relationships

This is one of our volunteers, Cara, and her Young Life girl, Emily. Cara and Emily's bond seems hand crafted by God. Cara went to a football game to spend time with her high school friends when she met Emily. Our leaders spend countless hours sitting in bleachers, stands, and auditoriums cheering on kids. It was at this particular football game where God introduced Emily to her Young Life leader.

Cara encouraged Emily to come to Young Life club and she did. Eventually, Emily heard a leader talk about sin. She heard about the brokenness that is in all of us that forever separates us from God. She heard about how her sin is something she cannot fix on her own and how she needed some help. Unfortunately, life got in the way, and Emily missed the next club where the Good News of the cross was shared. She missed hearing that the answer to our sin problem was Jesus, taking our punishment by laying down His life. However, God had a plan for Emily. Cara had grown close in her relationship with Emily and was now taking her to school in the mornings. One beautiful day, Cara shared with Emily the story of the cross and how loved and cherished she is by God. Emily heard that God sent His Son to die just for her. This is the day Emily prayed to accept Christ as her Savior on the commute to school.

Ever since that day, Emily has been eager to grow and learn more about her God, and Cara has walked with her every step of the way. They meet on a weekly basis over coffee or a quick meal to study scripture together. It's the generous donations of fellow believers who help allow these meetings to happen. Praise God for faithful volunteers spending time on a weekly basis meeting kids where they are, opening the Word, and sharing the best news ever told! Praise God for using early morning conversations in the passenger seat to call kids home

The Cost of Club

With a bad case of the Monday blues and the prospect of four long days to complete the week, most kids cannot wait to get to Young Life club on Monday night. Club is a safe place where Young Life leaders and High School kids sing at the top of their lungs, play silly games and laugh together until it hurts. At the end of each club, a volunteer leader proclaims the Gospel in a way kids relate to.

Our favorite club at W.T. White Young Life this semester was the night we talked about the cross. Specifically, we shared how Jesus Christ volunteered to take our sin on the cross and die because of His great love for us. After, kids got to write down the things in their life that they felt separated them from Jesus and were given the opportunity to nail their 'sins' to a cross built by some friends of Young Life. That night our friends experienced taking their sin to the cross and found freedom in Christ. It was a beautiful thing to be a part of. 

Young Life club is so much fun for everyone involved but takes a lot of planning and resources. Often, teams spend the whole week gathering supplies, practicing skits and studying the Word of God to prepare for the weekly club talk. In North Dallas, we can always use prayer but would ask you to consider giving to help with the cost of Young Life club.

We have an amazing core of leaders that span almost ten different programs. Each ministry is different and requires different materials to set up. Whether it is costumes for a skit, supplies for a game or a handmade wooden cross, these materials have a cost. All of these items add value to club and the experience kids have to hear the good news of Jesus.


Whatever it Takes

In North Dallas public schools, many of our kids live in a world of total uncertainty. Each semester I think, "I’ve heard it all" until another kid tells me a story so heartbreaking that I simply do not know what to say.

“Hey, sorry I can’t come to church this week. My dad called and wanted to get lunch.” A text from an 18-year-old girl who had never met or even talked to her father before.

“Hey, sorry I’m not going to college anymore because I don’t have a ride.”  We've heard stories that break our hearts continually.  However, one of the hardest stories came from my friend, James, who texted me asking if I could speak to his mom.

James’ dad had recently been sent to prison. His brother and main caretaker just left for college. He was living with his mom and the two were struggling to just get by. I stopped by to see what was going on and that’s when he told me they had been evicted. My heart broke. I could not imagine the weight a 16-year-old on the verge of being homeless must feel. At that time, we did not know how to best serve and care for his family but knew we still wanted James to have the opportunity to experience camp, the greatest week of a kids life (guaranteed).  After meeting with Young Life Committee, we decided we were going to be able to help he and his mom by doing whatever it takes to get him on the bus to camp.

Camp was “the greatest week of James’ life”. I had never seen him genuinely smile. I had definitely never seen him laugh like a child. It was unbelievable.  At camp, James confessed that while he had already given his life to Christ, he had no idea what it meant to really follow Jesus.  We were able to talk about casting our fears and burdens on the Lord, turning to Him daily, and leaning on Christian community for help. We also prayed about his unknown living situation that was waiting for him when he returned to Dallas. During that time, I told him, “Don’t worry. We’re going to pray about this and when we get back, God is going to take care of you.”   

When he got home, we were able to help raise enough money to get their rent extended for two months. James was able to find a permanent place to live and has been coming to Young Life every week since camp. Camp was a life-changing experience for James. Would you consider helping us do “whatever it takes” to get the next kid on the bus for the greatest week of their life?

The Hands and Feet of Young Life

Volunteer leaders are the hands and feet of this ministry.  In addition to their family life, 40 hours of work or college classes, tests, and social organizations, they spend their time with middle school and high school students.  Why would they take time from their already busy schedules to befriend and mentor students? They do this because their lives have been changed by the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Once a month we gather with all of our volunteer leaders to break bread, fellowship, and train on the basics of Young Life. This time together allows us to encourage our leaders and plan for the coming months of ministry. 

Typically, the night starts with dinner and fellowship.  Everyone gets to catch up with one another and hear stories about what the Lord is doing in their personal lives as well as in their friendships with kids. Then, we gather for a quick devotional or time of worship.  In Young Life we want to first encourage our leaders in their relationship with Christ and point them to Christ for their rest, strength, and wisdom. Time to speak truth into their lives as they speak truth to students. Next, a Young Life staff associate comes in to train us on Campaigners, club, or contact work.  Each month we focus on a different topic. We talk through strategies and goals for reaching more kids with the good news of the gospel and showing them what life with Christ looks like. After that, we split into our respective schools and ministries to discuss and plan upcoming events and put into action what we just learned. 

It is always a blessing to gather together with others in the mission, hear the stories of how God is working, and equip young professionals to reach the youths of North Dallas. We are thankful for each of our volunteer leaders and the time they take outside of work to care about middle school and high school students, mentor them, introduce them to Christ, and help them grow in their faith. 

"And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Romans 10:15

The Love of Christ - Story of Richard Davis

Richard at the University of Texas at Austin leading on our first ever YL College Tour

Richard at the University of Texas at Austin leading on our first ever YL College Tour

Thomas Jefferson is not your normal everyday high school. To give you some perspective, the school is roughly 95% Latino and 5% Black. Roughly 60% of the students do not have legal documentation. It is the highest LEP (Limited English Proficiency) school in Texas. It is not uncommon for me to drop off a kid who lives in a 1-bedroom apartment with 6 or 7 other people. I feel like I learn something new and heartbreaking every other week so that now, almost nothing surprises me anymore.

Back when I was applying for the job, people would ask, "Why TJ? You’re white.” After thanking them for their very astute observation, my response was always quite simple - I believe kids are drawn to adults who love them. At the end of the day, not much else matters - race, background, age, you name it. So 2 years ago when Richard Davis showed up as a successful, 64-year-old, white man, I wasn’t worried that he was just about as opposite from the kids as someone could be. I was hopeful and expectant. 

Richard leading the "Roller Coaster Skit" at club

Richard leading the "Roller Coaster Skit" at club

Over the past 2 years, Richard has done one thing and he has done it well - he has been faithful. He simply shows up. He shows up to club, he shows up to campaigners, he shows up to games. He is present and the kids love it. Who knew that in a world which values drugs, sex, fame, money and youth, that kids would be drawn to this man from the other side of the tracks? It’s all because kids are dying for love and affection and it turns out that the love of Christ as shown through Richard is not only what they need, it’s what they truly desire.

A few weeks ago, Richard’s father passed away and I had the honor to hear Richard speak at the memorial service. The coolest part of all this was to hear what God has been doing in Richard’s life. His message was simple: He has been able to cope with the loss of his earthly father because the emptiness in his life had already been filled by the only one who is able to fill us up - Jesus. And while that has been his message to the kids, it has also been God’s loving and gentle reminder to Richard in the midst of serving others.  

Richard sharing his "Cardboard Testimony" at our final club this fall semester 

Richard sharing his "Cardboard Testimony" at our final club this fall semester 

Captivated by Jesus

Every Thursday, girls from Ursuline Academy muster up the energy to get out of bed early and gather for Young Life Campaigners, a small-group Bible study. In the beginning, I was convinced these fifteen girls just started coming for the pancakes at the Original Pancake House. However, over the past four months, they have decided that our time together is worth waking up early even if there aren’t pancakes involved. We now meet on living room floors to talk about real life and how Jesus fits into it. 

Ursuline Young Life staffer Brooke, far left, with her Campaigners girls at club. 

Ursuline Young Life staffer Brooke, far left, with her Campaigners girls at club. 

Each week the girls and I walk through a few verses in the Bible, and I challenge them to read throughout the week to be prepared for that conversation. In October, we were journeying through the book of Mark together when my friend, Sarah*, showed up. I knew she had been following along with the daily readings, and I was excited to hear what she thought about the stories we had read. When we sat down to chat, Sarah excitedly blurted out that she had read the entire book of Mark. We all laughed together, thinking Sarah had simply made a mistake. Instead, what she said next took my breath away: 

 “I always felt like I knew a lot about Jesus, but I realized while reading this week, that I didn’t really know Jesus. I just couldn’t stop reading after I realized who Jesus really was. I have never really read my Bible outside of church or theology class. Now, I feel like I can’t put it down. Like…this guy is someone actually worth following.”

It was the look on Sarah's face that convinced me Jesus had really been moving in her heart. She was truly captivated by “this guy” we had been reading about. It is stories like this that make early morning Campaigners so worthwhile. We sit on living room floors, munch on some breakfast food, and learn more about who Jesus really isThese mornings are made possible by the incredible generosity of people like you who host us, purchase food for us, and create environments for Jesus to be known. 

*Name changed for confidentiality. 

Pizza and Jesus

What better combination can there be?  We have been blessed this year at Cary Wyldlife to have a flourishing ministry of middle school friends who consistently come every Thursday after school. They love to invite friends, brothers, sisters and cousins on the adventure. We have seen God work in amazing ways with kids this semester and are excited and expectant to see what God will do with these young hearts.

Every Thursday is a pizza party at Cary Wyldlife. We have been blessed this semester to provide kids with pizza to fill empty tummies thanks to our generous donors. Our club is held right after school and kids stay until 6pm. Having a room full of middle school kids is hard enough, but students with empty stomachs are even more difficult to manage. Similar to the early church in Acts 2, we break bread together with glad and sincere hearts.  Every Thursday after we eat and play games, we discuss God's great love for each individual.  

Rumor has it that most of the kids only come originally for the the pizza.  However, we continue to believe God's promise that His "word does not return void" (Isaiah 55:11).  We have seen this promise come life as many students continue coming to hear more about the God who loves them.  We know that God has a special plan for every single kid that has come to Wyldlife Thursdays with open ears and full tummies. 

God Uses One Campaigners Group to Bless Another

Campaigners is our bible study which allows leaders and students to explore God's Word together. At Hillcrest High School, a lot of our students don't own Bibles outside of their grandma's King James Version, if that. Sadly, that's the only perception of God’s Word that a lot of our students have - a language that is unapproachable and inapplicable to them.

It can be difficult to have a Bible study when no one owns a personal Bible besides the leaders. This was a growing problem that our girl leaders were facing and wanting to fix.  They came to me asking if there was any way we could get our campaigner girls Bibles of their own. Without hesitation, I called our committee chair, David Stringfield. If I'm being honest here, I was hoping that he would personally write a check to purchase Bibles or that he would point me in the direction of someone that would. However, God had something much bigger planned! The next day after contacting David, he informed me that his daughter's middle school campaigners group with girls from Hockaday wanted to use their own money to purchase the Bibles. At first I couldn't believe that a group of middle school students would want to do that; but sure enough, they contacted me saying "pick whatever Bibles the girls want and we'll take care of the rest". A week later, I was picking up boxes of high quality Bibles to surprise our high school girls with at campaigners.

These Hillcrest girls now have the opportunity to really dig into God's Word together. Sadly, there are still a large number of students in North Dallas who don't own Bibles. God used a group of middle school girls to make a life long impact on our students. The Hillcrest girls saw other young girls being the hands and feet of Christ and witnessed how God will come and meet them where they have need. Would you consider letting Him use you to do the same?

A Challenging Week at Camp Transformed a Boy's Life

This article was writen by Lucas Benavides, our staff associate at Hillcrest High School.

This is my friend Austin! Austin had a very hard week physically being in the high altitude of Colorado and it took a toll on him mentally as well. Being unable to keep pace with the other guys in our cabin was a challenge that stretched both of us throughout our trip. However, even when I thought Austin was having the worst week possible and that I was an awful person for bringing him to camp, God was subtly working in his heart the whole time!

During our debrief conversation near the end of our time at camp, I asked Austin if he learned anything new about himself this week. He answered by saying, "I learned that most of my anger and sadness comes from not having my real dad in my life". It's hard for me to hold back tears when I hear vulnerable answers like this because my dad has been so present in my own life. Many of the kids at Hillcrest High grow up with absent fathers, a fact that leaves me angered and brokenhearted on their behalf. Our conversation went on with me asking him if his views on Jesus had changed at all this week. He replied, "Before this week I thought I knew about Jesus, but I didn't really know who He was". Austin continued to tell me that he assumed he had a relationship with Jesus, but after being at Frontier he realized that he wasn’t walking with Christ. Austin made a decision at camp to start following Jesus after fully realizing what He did for him on the cross and the personal impact of that sacrifice.

I absolutely love the look of joy on Austin's face in this picture, because this is what it looks like when someone's life has been changed by the Gospel. Austin’s story is only one of many that has taken place because of the opportunity to attend camp. For many of our students in the North Dallas community the opportunity to attend camp has been made possible by generous donors who pay for camp scholarships.

Opening doors

In our work with teen moms at Thomas Jefferson, we have seen many girls battle the same challenges.  Last year, several of our girls had problems attending school due to inconsistent child care.  Grandparents and baby daddies would cancel last minute.  Affordable day cares felt unsafe.  Daycare through DISD has a wait list of six months to a year.  Our leaders kept encouraging girls to do what they could in order to attend school.  We prayed with girls.  Our team even stepped in on a few occasions to watch a child for a day or two.  However, we knew we were not equipped to meet this need ourselves.

We presented the need to the Village Church at a prayer gathering.  A few days later, I (Ali Smith) received a phone call from a woman who felt like God was asking her to step in to this place of need.  Becky, a mother of four with two in college and two still at home, found a new rental home in the neighborhood by Thomas Jefferson and committed to use it to help some of our teen moms.

Beginning this school year, Becky began watching two toddler boys.  Zae's mother, Imani, dropped out of school as a Senior last year two weeks into the school year.  She didn't have consistent child care for Zae and needed to work.  She kept this a secret from us for nearly 5 months because she struggled with her decision.  When we found out, we told her that we would walk beside her as she finished school and help her figure out a way to make it possible.  Imani had a scholarship to Baylor for track before getting pregnant.  She is now back at TJ and motivated to graduate.  Aiden's mother, Emily, has attended a few different high schools to try to graduate.  She is also back at TJ this year as a Senior and is looking forward to finishing.

While their mothers are working hard at school, the boys are receiving incredible care from Becky.  She plays with them, interacts with them and teaches them about the Lord.  By opening her door to these families, she is ministering to both the children and the teen mothers.  Becky has a huge passion to teach littles about Jesus.  Zae and Aiden are "God's future ambassadors" according to Becky.  She will be working in child care for us at club and campaigners this school year and helping to develop curriculum to present the Gospel to even our youngest children.  We will be adapting BSF child care curriculum to instruct our little ones.

I love thinking about the impact this year is having on these families.  Volunteer leaders cared enough about teen moms to spend time with them and pursue relationships.  Through these relationships, we learned about a huge need for reliable, safe, loving child care for some of these small children.  God connected us to someone who could meet this need.  These little boys are being loved in an incredible way and these young mothers are being empowered to finish their education.  Most importantly, they are all daily being reminded of the love, faithfulness and power of our God by a woman who loves Jesus with her whole heart, mind, soul and strength.

If you'd like to learn more about what Becky is doing and contribute in some way to her needs for these children, please email her at



Growing deep roots

Last month, we came home from camp after a great week with twelve of our Thomas Jefferson teen moms.  Eight of them made decisions to accept Christ for the first time while at camp.  The remaining four had accepted Christ prior to that week.  For all of our campers, the week together encouraged them to pursue a relationship with Jesus.

However, as they returned home, the girls were thrown into different difficult situations.  For some of them, their families have very different beliefs when it comes to faith.  For others, they have relationships that beat them down.  Most of them struggle with how they will provide for their children, who will help them with their children and how to have a healthy relationship with their parents.  Their realities at home challenge their new-found faith. 

While thinking about our girls this summer, my thoughts have often turned to Jesus's parable of the sower in Matthew 13.  Some seeds are snatched by birds before they can sprout.  Some seeds are on rocky ground and do not have the opportunity to grow roots.  Some seeds are choked by the thorns.  Some of our girls face family members who challenge their faith.  Some face situations that make them doubt God loves them or cares about their provision.   Some will face a harder situation than they have ever faced before which will feel like an attack against them.  However, we are praying that the faith of these girls will be like seed planted on the good soil.  During the course of this summer, we want them to develop roots that are deep and strong.  We want them to receive all the nourishment they can from the Lord so that in the coming days, months and years they will bear fruit.

In order to accomplish that goal, we are focused on spending time with the girls this summer.  Our leaders are hanging out with their girls one-on-one.  We are organizing play groups at different places to give leaders, teen moms and lots of children time to spend together.  We are meeting every other week for campaigners where we are diving into scripture together.

Will you join us in praying that our girls will grow deep roots of faith?  May this generation and the next bear much fruit.