​Harry M. MacDonald

March 28, 1​926 — June 25, 2017

Young Life has lost a minister of the gospel, beloved throughout the world for his pioneering work. Harry MacDonald, along with his wife, Hope, served with the mission for nearly four decades, from its very early days through the end of the 1970s.

MacDonald was a man of “firsts.” When he was a 19-year-old student at Western Baptist Seminary, MacDonald attended the first staff conference in Manitou Springs, Colorado, in 1945, and was invited by Jim Rayburn to become one of the first student staff. He soon transferred to Westmont College and started the first Young Life club in Southern California.

After marrying Hope in 1948, he began working with Young Life full time. For the next 14 years, he served as an area director in Southern California, Seattle and Pittsburgh.

By 1962, the mission was continuing to expand internationally, and an advisory committee searched for the right person to begin the work in Brazil.

“We all agreed on Harry,” said Bill Starr, the mission’s president from 1964-1977. “He had pulled off more stuff than anyone in his 17 years on staff with his creativity, his adaptability and hustle. Harry was our man.”

After much prayer, the MacDonalds and their three children boarded the ship for Sao Paulo and started Alvo Da Mocidade (“Target for Youth”) — the Portuguese name for Young Life. The five years spent there led to a rich legacy throughout the country.

His wife of 69 years, Hope, said “His dream was to assure the ministry would be run by the nationals and outlast his presence in Brazil. Thankfully, and with the follow-up help of Hal and Judy Merwald, Alvo is still going strong in Brazil, 55 years later.”

In 1968, Starr asked MacDonald to serve as Young Life’s international director, and for the next 12 years he greatly expanded the mission’s global outreach. Young Life is now in more than 100 countries, aided in no small part by MacDonald’s continued spotlight on the international work.

After 36 years, MacDonald traded Young Life staff for the pastorate in 1980.

“Harry was a dedicated man who deeply loved the Lord Jesus,” Hope said. “He was a man of prayer all these years. I often heard him in his study at home praying out loud for the Young Life kids he had worked with by name.”

Scott Dimock

18-Winter-Passages-Scott-Dimock.jpgSeptember 22, 1941 — July 18, 2017

On July 18, the mission said goodbye to former staff Scott Dimock, who with his wife, Marilyn, by his side, developed a large part of the Northern Virginia ministry in the late ’60s and ’70s.

“Their work expanded as Campaigners kids went off and started Young Life at UVA, Virginia Tech, William and Mary, and more. Frankly, without the Dimocks we wouldn’t have the impact we have today in Washington, D.C., and Virginia,” said Lee Corder, senior vice president of International Initiatives.

In 1970, Dimock also started La Vida, Young Life’s wilderness camping program based outside of Saranac Village. Alongside others in the mission, the first-year staff man began the program which, nearly 50 years later, has changed the lives of thousands of kids.

The Dimocks moved to D.C. in the early ’80s to restart the city’s urban work. One of the many men he mentored there was a young John Wagner, now the senior vice president of the Global Cities Initiative.

“Scott taught me 90 percent of life and ministry is about showing up and showing up consistently,” Wagner said. “He taught me it’s more about who you are than what you say. He taught me it’s so much more about being faithful than being spectacular. And he taught me ministry is a lifestyle — not just something I do when I get to the school or when I show up to club or Campaigners — it’s how I treat the waiter at the restaurant or my daughter who needs help with her homework. That’s what Scott taught me.”

Dimock would serve with Young Life through the mid-’90s when he left staff to help start a mentoring program aimed at helping urban kids excel.

“A favorite memory comes from Scott’s time leading at Annandale High School,” Corder remembered. “The club there was so successful, a number of kids resistant to the message of Jesus started an ‘anti-Young Life’ club. Scott seized the opportunity, met with those young men and women, and following their get-together, they agreed to meet on a regular basis to talk about life, relationships and Jesus in their ‘anti’ club. And the work at the high school grew exponentially.”