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July Newsletter 2019
July 11, 2019
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48
The last week has been incredibly difficult and heartbreaking. On Sunday night I received 2 emails from one of our volunteer/mentors that had just found out the young lady she had mentored was found tortured and murdered and her body dumped behind a gas station. Obviously, our faithful volunteer and her husband are devastated (they had become her grandma and grandpa). The LifeQuest staff are crushed and mourning. And in addition to this young lady, a young man we met in the facility was shot and killed last week. I don’t share this with you for shock effect or to try to emotionally manipulate you. It’s just the truth.
Also, on June 30 the LifeQuest Board Chairman, Chris Youngblood, lost his beloved grandfather, John (Paul) Youngblood Sr. I attended his Celebration of Life service on Monday, July 8. As I sat at this service that was packed with family and friends I marveled at story after story of a life well lived. He was 98 years old when he passed away. Mr. Youngblood, Papa to those who loved him, was a Navy veteran and served in WW2. He was a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a great grandfather. He was described by all who shared at the service as “the kindest man they had ever known.”
I couldn’t help but contrast the two lives and deaths of our young lady and Mr. Youngblood. Both went through difficult times. Obviously, World War 2 was no picnic and I’m sure Mr. Youngblood faced numerous difficulties throughout his life. But he was able to transcend those difficulties. Our young lady, not so much. She was removed from her home at a young age and placed into the foster care system after experiencing atrocities that no little girl should ever experience. She went through numerous foster homes as a child and teen. I’m sure this was a result of her acting out as a result of the pain she had experienced with an inability to process that pain. We met her at Camino a few years ago and she was paired with a mentor that loved her, walked beside her, and pointed her to God. She actually told staff members at Camino that it was “the best place she had ever lived.” And why wouldn’t she? Yes, it was a juvenile institution. But it was safe. She had food and a bed. And through LifeQuest, met someone who loved her in a very real, healthy manner.
So, two lives lived and two deaths. One, a life well lived. The other, a life barely lived. One a story of love and honor and family. The other a life of pain and horror and tragedy. Yet the common factor in both of these lives is a God that loved them both desperately. God didn’t love this young lady or Mr. Youngblood, any differently. The same grace, the same mercy, and the same love were there for both of them. And I believe with all my heart that both now abide with the Lord. Their pain and suffering and struggles are over.
My pledge to you is this: no matter how much it hurts, no matter how frustrated we might get, no matter how much attack comes our way, we will continue to serve until God makes it clear that we’re done. We love because He first loved us. And we serve because we’ve been served.
Thank you for how you serve this ministry.
John D. Jones
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