88 Years Young - Millie Carter

We were blessed with the opportunity to interview Millie Carter and learn more about how God has used her life to bring Him glory.

How did you first become involved in Young Life?
In 1946, I got involved in Young Life at Wheaton College (something similar to what is now Young Life College). Then in 1947, I volunteered in Downers Grove Club with Bob Mitchell. A group from Young Life went to Star Ranch for spring break, and I met Jim Rayburn who took us skiing and shared with us his vision for kids. Jim and I bonded because we both loved to climb mountains, and he invited me back to the camp to be a summer counselor. After the summer I was asked to stay on and work with Jim in field ministry in Colorado Springs and Pueblo. I also worked in a club in Canon City. In my off-hours I worked in the office.

How would you describe Jim Rayburn?
Jim was charismatic and a visionary. His vision was unique and innovative. He grew up in a very legalistic family but then discovered God’s transforming grace. His love for Jesus was so evident and all he did was built on prayer. Jim invested 100 percent in whatever he did, whether it was mountain climbing or serving kids. He passed that vision on to all who met him.

What stood out to you about Young Life versus other opportunities?
Looking back, I did not plan anything in my destiny; the Lord just led me and directed my steps. Young Life was a great opportunity to share the Gospel with young people. I also led a Bible study for 15 years at the Air Force Academy and was involved in other ministries while raising my three kids. I am amazed every day by God’s constant faithfulness and that He is the Author of the book of my life.

How has Young Life changed and shaped your life?
God uses many tools to reach His people, and Young Life was one of the tools that He used in shaping my life, just as the Potter shapes the clay into the image of Christ. I, like Jim, was brought up in a legalistic family and discovered God’s grace and unconditional love for me and kids and the importance of prayer. I also loved the humor and laughter of Young Life staff. For my husband, John Carter, Young Life was God’s will for his life as well, and he served for over 45 years. He and I were able to take many trips together throughout the United States and to multiple other countries while he was vice president of Development for Young Life.

What have been the biggest changes in Young Life over the years?
It is not as simple anymore. Now there is much more information and field staff wear many different  hats. The world has changed so drastically since 1947, but Young Life has adapted well to fit the needs of young people internationally. As long as we remember to keep our focus on Jesus and keep up the fight of faith, Young Life will continue to be a powerful ministry to bring all kinds of kids to Christ.

If people were considering getting involved in the mission, what might you say to them?
Young Life is a very special mission and family to be part of. But we all work for God and His glory. I would encourage them to keep their expectations realistic because even Christian organizations are made up of imperfect people, and we have to remember to trust that God is at work and that He alone is the Answer and in charge of people and Young Life.

What has this mission meant to you?
Young Life is my extended family. The staff at the Service Center give me joy, meaning and fulfillment every day. They are God’s blessing to me and allow me to be a blessing to others.

Do you have any advice for current Young Life leaders?
After years of trying to get more of God, I have recently learned that God wants to get more of me. I have also learned to pray “Thank You” prayers rather than pleading prayers. I don’t have to talk God into doing something, and I don’t have to keep the burden on me; rather, I relinquish it to God and receive His grace for all my needs. He is sovereign and Victor over everything and every situation. I have also learned that I grow most in seasons of suffering. They are precious seasons that shape us and force us to rely on God.