“Here I am, send me!”

“Here I am, send me!”

Carol Sherwood

“Here I am, send me!”

We all know that passage from Isaiah and have answered the call if we are in ministry, but when Dane Tornell (Umpqua Valley YFC’s Executive Director) spoke at my church, I could hear it as clearly as if it were spoken just to me.

Two and a half years ago I really had no idea what I was getting into, but God has been faithful to guide me through the process of beginning a Parent Life ministry in Douglas County, Oregon. The most amazing process has taken place in me! Feeling very unqualified for this ministry, I have watched as God has taken broken pieces of my own life and put them to good use working with teen parents.

As He has grown our ministry here, I have grown even more! I spent the first year learning about Parent Life and YFC and researching resources in our area while still working full time as a teacher. Initially it was just me, and I worked with four teen moms at our high school. God has grown this ministry to include contact with more than 20 teen moms and several teen dads as well as 13 volunteers, including our first male volunteer to come alongside the dads. I know there are many more teen parents in our county and finding them is the hardest part. If they are in school, we have contacts who let us know, and we can begin building relationships with the teens.

The community relationships we are building have given us a greater ability to connect with teen parents, but there are so many more we haven’t “found” yet. God has opened doors to many in the medical and social services areas who share our information with parents. I’ve even had the opportunity to share what we can do for teens at a few agencies’ staff meetings.

One young mom and her daughter were referred to us by a local alternative school. Her mother lives in another state, and the school felt she could use someone to come alongside the two of them. As this relationship has grown, trust built and friendships blossomed. She started coming to church with me, and although she was raised in a church, she never understood what a relationship with Jesus really was. Now, she has accepted Jesus as her Savior and is willing to share this with others. She is very shy but really wants to get out of her comfort zone. Because of this, she is going to share her journey and the impact YFC has had on her life in front of several hundred people during a Christian concert in August. What a joy it is to see the growth in this young woman! She too, answered the call, “send me.”

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