Like most of you I will never forget where I was the morning of September 11, 2001. Unlike you I remember because Kids for Christ USA was practically brand new and I woke up sick as a dog with no one to cover my club for me. I woke with the flu and instead of my wife saying "stay home" she told me "You need to get soneone who could fill in on a moments notice". Like a good solider I puked my guts out and drove to my club. Where I proceeded to repeat that process and set up to minister to a group of Kids at a local elementary school. (FYI: I would not repeat that today, nor would I expect a team member do it.)
After 9/11 we grew exponentially from four schools to 18 over the course of the year and added many volunteers. I forged a relationship with a local mission sending organization that had an intern program and was blessed to be assigned two young ladies who I am proud to say are still a part of my life and KFCUSA today as friends and donors. (A transition I never saw coming.)
Back in December 2011, there was a significant funding issue I/KFCUSA was facing and I "felt led" to reach out and ask Liz to stand in agreement with me concerning that situation. To my surprise she texted me that she and her husband wanted to give to help with that need. I sat in the parking lot of a local gas station on the verge of tears as I read the text. When Liz called me she informed me that she and her husband were going to start giving a significant amount monthly as well my shock turned to tears.
I never had a clue that KFCUSA meant that much to Liz, so I asked her to share "her story" of what KFCUSA meant and means to her. The following few paragraphs are her words:
"I moved to Tulsa the fall of 2001. I was headed there to intern for a missions organization and had no idea what the next year of my life would hold in store. All I knew was that I would be spending the next year focusing on serving the Lord and others! I was 19. This would be my first time living away from home, and I was a mixture of excitement and fear.
The Lord placed upon my heart the desire to do this internship after having been on my first mission trip that summer. It was going to be a year of selflessness and sacrifice. Well, I didn't exactly do things the traditional way. The internship started in September; I didn't go until November. Coming into it almost 3 months late, I already had that feeling of, "is this the right thing for my life right now"? "Maybe I should have waited until next year to start"."Is God really going to be able to use me in such a short amount of time"??? Regardless of my insecurities and doubts in the back of my mind, I was excited for what was ahead.
I first found out about Kids for Christ USA when I was given the names of the ministries that myself, and my fellow interns, would be serving with. I didn't really know what to expect. I heard that through this organization we would be going into the public school system and sharing the love of Jesus with kids of all ages! I remember thinking to myself, "what an amazing opportunity this is"! It wasn't until I walked into my first KFC site that I suddenly thought, "Maybe this is why God allowed you to come to Tulsa"!
Seeing the excitement on all the kids faces each morning we would show up was priceless. This was the "coolest" kids program that I had ever worked with. I wasn't really sure of my place though, and how God was going to use me. I wasn't able to play the guitar and lead worship, and I didn't really have an amazing apt for telling stories. So what was I going to do? Well, I've always felt at ease talking to people of all ages, especially kids. Its always come easy for me to engage with them on their level and be someone they can laugh with and talk too with no hesitation. So, of course it made sense to put me in charge of the games. This to me was the best job ever. I got to come up with the most bizarre, messiest, disgusting, craziest, unheard of games, EVER! I didn't realize at that time though that just because I wasn't leading worship or telling stories that God wasn't using me.
I remember my second week working with KFC, it was right after we finished up with the kids in the morning and it was almost time for them to go to the classes. We were standing around talking to the kids and this one little girl came up to me (to this day, I can still picture her), and asked me if I would help her invite Jesus into her heart. I was somewhat shocked. Not because I hadn't led someone to the Lord before. But, how was it possible that God could have used me in such a short amount of time, and why did this little girl come to me?!
I'm all about relationships. Ever since I was a kid, I've always been about building friendships and staying in touch with people. While this was a great thing, it was also hard. I didn't understand as a kid why people moved away or why one day you would hang out with great people, and then next thing you knew, they were gone. I'm reminded of that quote, ""Some people come into our lives, for a season or a lifetime". I didn't really understand the true meaning of this until I was an adult, and after I left Tulsa. As a kid I didn't really think about that certain people are in your life forever, and some are there for a brief period of time. Sometimes those brief encounters can make the biggest difference, often we don't know how until years after.
Going to Tulsa, still a teenager, my eyes were wide open and so was my heart. I went into each morning of working with KFCUSA with excitement and a feeling of, "how can I make a difference in these kids lives"? I know that by just showing up, talking to the kids and participating with them, that God was able to use me to make a difference. Even if I touched just one child's life for the kingdom of heaven, then it was worth it!
Well that little girl made my entire experience with KFCUSA. I had so many amazing moments throughout the 6 months that I worked with KFCUSA and I never look back and wonder if I was where God wanted me, because I know the answer. As the Lord commands us in Matthew 18:19-20, to go out and make disciples in his name, I believe KFCUSA is the perfect place to do this. These kids are the future generation of Christ's disciples and I know that God will use each and every person that gives of themselves to this organization. I will always look back on my time with KFC as one of the most beneficial and rewarding times in my life. I truly do believe that the Lord blesses his disciples who serve Him and I know without a doubt that my life has been blessed through my involvement with this ministry!"--Liz S.
Liz and Mark are one of the 5 biggest monthly donors we have and they are also considering ways to help launch KFCUSA in their California community. This year like every year brings a new list of opportunities for KFCUSA. As doors open to us I want to be able to walk through those doors, so if God is speaking to you about doing something or doing something monthly to support us please click the following link because we truly need you as this school year kicks off. Thank you for your support.
Together we're reaching a new generation of Kids for Christ.
In His Service,