A Brief Encounter

Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

By Tim Butler, Director of City Engagement and Juvenile Justice Chaplain

Want to hear something really incredible?  A couple of months ago, the New York Times’s science section ran a story about a mother whose son, at just 24 weeks into her pregnancy, was operated on in September for spinal bifida.  The uterus was temporarily removed from the mother so the surgeons could repair her son’s damaged spine, reduce the fluid buildup in his brain, and improve his odds of walking. The prognosis is good, but the extent of the surgery’s success won’t be known until the baby is born this month in January.


Ministry with at-risk young people is a lot like that surgery – a brief encounter at just the right time that affects and potentially redirects the trajectory of a teen’s life, despite the terrible and seemingly hopeless situations they are in.  


“Levi” told me one night that his older sister rescued him from his parents in Oklahoma because they were doing drugs together.  When he came to Denver, things went well for a while, but then his sister’s husband got mad at him because of his drug habit so he left and was homeless about a week.  Now that his sister has moved to Houston, the state’s going to place him in a group home for at least the next 6 months.


“So, you’ve been rescued three times, Levi!”


“What do you mean?”


“Well, your sister rescued you from your parents. The cops rescued you from being homeless even though you kind of liked the adventure.  And now the system is going to find you a safe place to stay for a while.”


“I guess I never looked at it that way before.  I don’t like being in jail, but at least I’m safe here.”


“Can I tell you about another “rescue” that’s even better?”


Levi’s response to my question gave me the opportunity to tell him about our need of a Savior because of sin, and the “rescue” that Christ offers to us.  Levi didn’t surrender his life to Christ that evening, and he left before we could have another conversation.  But I still pray for him, and ask that you do the same.


The surgery I mentioned earlier required the skilled hands and teamwork of many, many people who will never see their names in print.  But each person played a critical role, and so it is with you and me, and the many volunteers who faithfully serve Christ.  My wife, Joy, and I praise God for you, and thank Him for the opportunity He gives us to do life-saving, “soul-rescuing work” together! 


As you pray for kids like Levi, ask Christ to send more people to join this mission, either through their time, intercession, or financial support!


Thank you for being a part of the ongoing conversation with youth in our city and helping us share God’s story.  It's our honor to be the storytellers on your behalf who meet kids right where they are and give life to their story.


Providing young people in our community with the opportunity to make an informed decision to be a follower of Jesus Christ and become part of a local church.

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