Young Life Lite

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Mitchel and his Bible.

Bigger or Better

What’s a paper clip worth? That depends. If you’re a club kid at Skyview High School in Billings, Montana, one measly paper clip can get you a box fan or even a small sofa. For one Skyview freshman, a paper clip unlocked the words of eternal life.

Themed clubs are the norm in Billings. Leaders there have planned and promoted an Awesome ’80s Club, a Breakfast Club, an Ice Blocking Club and even an All-City Jello Wrestling Club. So a St. Patrick’s Day club themed “Bigger or Better” should not have caused leader Thomas Staffileno any stress. But it did. 

The club was going to feature a scavenger hunt game in which teams scatter, going door-to-door to trade an insignificant item, like a paper clip, for something bigger or better or both. The team that manages to parlay the insignificant item to something of greatest value, size or weight, wins. Despite the enthusiasm of his three fellow leaders who are also his roommates, Staffileno was apprehensive. “I couldn’t picture kids, in the dark and cold — on St. Patrick’s Day — knocking on doors and asking for stuff going very well.” The game went far better (and bigger) than Staffileno expected. His group scored a loveseat, while another traded up for a dishwasher. The winning team of guys, including a freshman named Mitchel, managed to trade up for the unknown miscellany in three, 30-gallon garbage bags — the unsold remnants from a garage sale. When the team dumped out their loot in the club room, Staffileno said, “It covered the floor. Stuff went everywhere.”  Retro clothes, VHS movies, a toy train, a Marine’s uniform and a guitar. All of it was shared among the group.

That night, everyone went home a winner. Especially Mitchel. Unbeknownst to any of the leaders, Mitchel had spotted a black leather Bible in the pile of discards. This Bible, given to “Susan” by her grandparents in 1959, Mitchel claimed for himself. A few weeks later Mitchel told Staffileno he’d been learning more about God and spending more time with Him. “Why is that?” Staffileno asked. “Well, I’ve never really had a Bible of my own before, and I took a Bible home from Bigger or Better and it’s been really special to me. I’ve been reading it every morning. Having a special Bible has helped me develop a relationship with God because it’s fun to read and I’m understanding
it more.” 

Mitchel continued, “I’ve been praying and reading and it’s made me more excited about Young Life!”

Young Life leaders employ all kinds of gimmicks, games and tools to get kids’ attention and focus it — if just for a lingering moment — on something bigger and better than they can imagine. 

Bigger than a loveseat. 

More valuable than a dishwasher. 

For the price of a paper clip, bartered for a leprechaun’s hat, traded for three garbage bags, Mitchel pulled a forgotten Bible from someone else’s trash and discovered for himself an everlasting treasure.​​​​