Good News || Bad News

Posted on by Heidi Brunsting

By Gareth Unruh, Assistant Director, Juvenile Justice Ministry, Denver Area YFC

I have good news and I have bad news.

I need to tell you two stories – one of redemption and celebration, and one of pain and perseverance.

First, the BAD NEWS: I absolutely hate it when kids I work with end up in the news, because it's never good. (I often ask God if we can have young people be in the news for good things!) A youth I have been working with for three years and just last month had breakfast with, was in the news and is now back inside. We had been texting each other over Christmas break and I knew something was wrong. Alcoholism is a huge part of his struggle, as well as the need to belong and have significance. It is a matter of him trusting God in his moment-by-moment journey in life. I know this isn’t the end to his story and God will continue to draw him to Himself, so I ask for your prayers as I write him while he serves time in prison.

But there's GOOD NEWS too: When purpose and perspective start to take hold of a young person’s heart, then their choices in life start to change dramatically. I met Jay* six mlnths ago at a detention facility that I work at and got to know him before he transitioned to another treatment program. He asked to continue meeting with me, and I received permission from his Parole Officer to continue to get together weekly. Jay has been transformed from a selfish, arrogant, prideful little boy to a mature, thoughtful, encouraging, young man. Words don't do justice in explaining how the Holy Spirit has brought him out of so much pain and hardship, and helped him have a new understanding of his call and purpose in life.

I am so pleased with his moment-by-moment choices and his care for his peers and the staff that he works with. During these past six months he has lost his grandfather, his parents got divorced, he has been assaulted on the inside and he has been falsely accused of an action he did not do. Don’t get me wrong, Jay has struggled through all of this and it has not been perfect, but he has come out on the other side of this looking and acting more and more like Christ.

And God isn't done with him yet. During our last visit, Jay emotionally shared that he doesn’t know where he’d be if it wasn’t for Christ working through me -- through Youth for Christ -- in his life. 

In ministry there's always good news and bad news. And even in the midst of the hard and the bad, we can know that the story isn't over. God is not finished. And sometimes we get to be part of seeing that story turned for God's best.

Thank you for allowing me and all of YFC to be a part of lives being changed for Christ!

*Name changed to protect his privacy.

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