June 15th // Amanda Parker

Posted on by SpokaneYFC

Part of my role at Spokane Youth for Christ is to tell the story of who we are as a ministry and what the heart of our mission is. Last week our Executive Director and I shared a conversation about the powerful and important role that storytelling plays in our lives. Throughout the entirety of human history storytelling has been central to the way that we seek truth and knowledge about ourselves and the world we live in. Only fairly recently have we begun to rely more on a “don’t just tell me a story; show me the numbers” mindset. These days we’re advised to provide statistics, numbers, and graphs to prove a point. In some ways I completely understand this shift. We live in a culture where it’s almost impossible to not feel oversaturated by the sheer amount of commercials, news, social media, and opinion articles vying for our attention. How in the world could we navigate our way through all of this, and form our own understanding of the world without some hard facts to back up our conclusions?

 

With this in mind, I try each week to think of new ways to tell the story of YFC. I could share with you that there are over 10,000 kids in Spokane whose fathers are not present in their lives; and how fatherlessness is statistically linked directly to a heightened likelihood of experiencing poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, and damage to one’s physical and emotional health. I could let you know that at this very moment there are more than 2,000 minors living on our city streets; and that those homeless youth (especially young girls) face a high risk of finding themselves caught in human trafficking. I could cite all kinds of sources to let you know that our city is desperate for wise and loving adults to consistently enter the lives of the kids that live in it. And perhaps for some that’s all it would take to jump on board.

 

However, with every newsletter, video series, event program, or social media post that we share with you, I do my best to remember that at the end of the day I’m telling the stories of real live, amazing, resilient, hurting, learning, and growing future leaders of Spokane. I’m attempting each day to put into words and pictures just how incredibly important every single young person that we work with is. And while it’s true that many of the youth that we work with do live in households that fall under various negative statistics, I can’t help but reflect on the ways that captivating and thoughtful storytelling was central to Jesus’ ministry. All throughout scripture we read about how Jesus called the broken and hurting, the “statistics” of his day you could say, and breathed life and encouragement into their individual stories. It was through the testimonies of these individuals that Jesus’ name became known around the world. Their lives were forever changed because Jesus stopped to notice them, learn their name, and hear their story.

 

The desire to be known, seen and remembered is a deep and essential part of human nature. We crave to feel like our lives matter, no matter where we come from. And so, although I will continue to try and think of a variety of new and creative ways to share YFC’s mission with you, I want to invite you to get to know the stories of the youth that Spokane Youth for Christ works with. Their stories are powerful, challenging, heartbreaking, full of redemption, and marked with God’s grace. Every kid we encounter is a living and breathing example of the radical and unique ways that God can meet us wherever we’re at in our story. This work reminds me each day of a note from a social worker that Mr. Rogers carried in his wallet that read, “Frankly, there isn’t anyone you couldn’t learn to love once you’ve heard their story.”

Amanda Muchmore Parker

Director of Marketing & Events
[email protected]

READ MORE ABOUT AMANDA AND HER WORK AT YFC HERE.
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