January 2019

In Young Life, leaders go where kids are in the name of Jesus. We call this effort “contact work,” and it is one of the hallmarks of our mission. Sometimes contact work looks like a leader standing on the sidelines of a football game or sitting in the front row of a play at school. It can be so full of excitement and celebration that a leader once said we should call it “contact fun.”

Other times, however, going where kids are means walking into a world of loneliness and pain and requires what you might call “contact courage.” Mark walks into that kind of world regularly to see Calvin.

Calvin is a young man who is dying of a debilitating disease and will spend his remaining months in an acute care facility. While his peers play football or sing a solo on a stage, he lies immobile in a small room, struggling to breathe. His parents abandoned him early in the disease, finding it too difficult to handle, so the best part of his day is when his Young Life leader walks into the room.

Contact work takes on a literal dimension during those visits. “Calvin can’t move his arms or legs, and he can no longer speak,” Mark explained, “so I ask him what I can do for him, and I watch him blink his eyes to answer. Last time I cleaned his ears with cotton swabs and rubbed his feet with lotion.”

Calvin first met Christ through Young Life when he was still a semi-able-bodied teenager who could talk and laugh and go to lunch with Mark at his favorite restaurant. Today Calvin continues to meet Jesus every time Mark walks through the door. The Word becomes flesh in those moments and fluffs Calvin’s pillow, feeds him yogurt and combs his hair.

Thank you for supporting Young Life. Whether we call it contact work or contact fun, it always takes contact courage, and it means kids will come in contact with the Savior. There is no greater gift you could give others than direct access to God’s redeeming love. Thank you for helping us give that gift to more than two million young people with your support.

In Christ for all kids,

Newton F. Crenshaw