Now that the busiest weekend in our 20-year CPYU history is over, I want to offer up some "thanks" as I continue to wipe the sleepiness from my eyes. Yes, it was a marathon that required lots of physical and emotional energy.
The weekend kicked off with our 20th Anniversary Banquet, hosted well by the good folks at The Shady Maple Banquet Center. Almost 300 of our friends and family gathered to celebrate 20 years of God's faithfulness and blessing on CPYU. The evening not only included a great meal, but a silent auction (I won nothing), a very lively live auction, a great video on CPYU, a testimony from our dear friend Rich Van Pelt, and some remarks from me.
Bright and early the next morning, our staff hoofed it down to The Family Center in Gap for our Hope and Healing for Broken Kids day-long seminar. Over 500 youth workers, parents, and counselors filled the meeting room to capacity in order to absorb 6 and-a-half hours of amazing, timely, and intense training from Marv Penner and Rich Van Pelt. People drove to be with us from as far away as Michigan, New Hampshire, and Florida! The conversations during the breaks and that continue even this morning have been intense, heart-breaking, and hopeful. Our kids are truly hurting.
This morning, our mighty staff of 5 returned to the office to start another week. I, for one, am still excited and energized by not only everything that happened over the weekend, but from the opportunity to reflect on the last 20 years of God's faithful provision in all things. It's been awesome.
As I look back and as I look ahead, I want to say "thanks" to all those whose fingerprint was on the weekend. Behind the scenes, our staff has labored hard. . . so hard, that some people think we're ten times the size that we really are. Just last night I received a Facebook message from someone who said, "I know you have a whole organization of researchers. . . " Actually, we don't. We have a very small organization made up of literally a handful of people who do so much that it looks like "a whole organization."! My wife Lisa is my living and breathing rock. She assisted our VP of Administration, Cliff Frick, together doing a great job of organizing and shuffling the massive amount of details that went into making the weekend work. They've been doing that for a long, long time. Chris Wagner burned the midnight and early-morning oil (while expending blood, sweat, and tears) to prepare a video that did the best job I've ever heard or seen of explaining the mission and ministry of CPYU. Not only that, but he put up with me standing over his shoulder far too often during the process. Chris keeps our public digital "face" refreshed and looking good. Derek Melleby, the Director of our College Transition Initiative, plugged in to fill holes and assist where plugged holes and assistance were needed. As always, he also provided some light-hearted entertainment.
I also want to thank our Board members, past and present, for all their hard work over the years. When I established CPYU 20 years ago, I was committed to establishing a board-run non-profit. I needed guidance, direction, and accountability. I didn't want to have a vote. From day one, our board established policy. Over the years they've done a stellar job of being a sounding board, working hard to move us forward, and dealing with some at-times very difficult policy decisions. They have been a great encouragement to me and our staff.
Then, there's our army of faithful supporters. Our prayer supporters are our lifeline. Our financial supporters fuel our tanks each and every day. I can't say enough about those who have entered into this "holy partnership" with us. I am humbled.
Finally, I want to say something about Saturday. The Hope and Healing for Broken Kids seminar stands as a momentary monument to what we've been doing here for 20 years. It is ultimately all about spreading the good news about Jesus Christ and redemption through his death on the cross. It's about communicating the message of God's unfolding drama of redemption that is being revealed around us and within us. It's about embracing the undeserved gift of wholeness in the midst of life in a world that's not the way it's supposed to be. That's why we do what we do.
And so I say "thanks" to the God who has made this and all things possible, and "thanks" to all those (far too numerous to mention here) who have been used as His instruments to push us - and sometimes pull us - forward. And if you would, please commit to praying for us as we move forward for what I hope is the next 20 years!