How I Experienced God's Exquisite "Re-gifting"

      In 1969, I left my teaching job in Atlanta, Georgia, to become the "staff woman" in Greenville, South Carolina. My journey with Young Life started two years earlier when my students convinced me to meet their Young Life leader, Skeeter Powell. Not long after that I met Mal McSwain, the area director in Atlanta and later a regional director, who trained me to become a leader. Even after two years of leading with my longtime friend, Skeeter, and after all of Mal’s training, I was still not prepared for the task that was ahead. I spent a semester at the Young Life Institute and then went to new staff training. Pushing my fears aside, I dove into contact work and got to know kids. We did the typical things: played games, had sleepovers after prom, and I even worked in the school cafeteria for a while. As the relationships deepened, Campaigners became my niche and we soon had at least 25 students coming to breakfast and Bible study once a week. A Bible study then began to grow at Furman University — I guess I was doing Young Life College before it was cool! The work was challenging, but also very rewarding. 

      After five years on staff and building many deep friendships, the Lord called me back to teaching. Leaving staff was difficult, but I never forgot my experiences with Young Life and was excited to meet new kids in a new place. I moved on from my time in Greenville with fond memories and became vested in my new role, knowing that in ministry we don’t often get to see how Jesus grows the seeds He asked us to plant. By the sweet grace of God I was able to see some of the ways He used me to impact the girls He placed in my life. One day, almost 35 years later, the husband of one of those girls in my old Campaigners group appeared on my Facebook feed. I soon was back in touch with four of my girls, which grew to reconnecting with even more. Could it be? They were all married and still walking with Jesus with children of their own who were also walking with Jesus. What an amazing gift, or a “re-gift” as I have come to see it. God showed me that my work, my investment in the lives of high school girls, was worth all of the time spent praying, training, fundraising and preparing for clubs. Any doubt about whether I had made a difference disappeared from my mind and heart. 
      My hope is that any staff member or volunteer, young or old, who might be wondering if he or she is making a difference might find encouragement in my story. Without a doubt, you are making a difference! 

Martha is currently on committee in Canton, Georgia, and has been on the Capernaum Board since 2004. She has served Young Life in different roles for over 49 years, and we are grateful to get to share her story with our Alumni and Friends! 

Top Left Photo: The All Staff Conference in Asilomar California (1970). 

Top Right Photo: A group of Martha’s Campaigners girls reunited when Greenville celebrated 60 years of ministry (2015)