By Amy Carlson
“I’m afraid people will hurt me because I’m small,” she confided. We were sitting in the back of the chapel, just the two of us, after the rest of the kids had left. She had hung back, needing to talk, longing for someone who would listen and care about her struggle. My heart broke when she revealed the reason for her fears: “I was abused when I was younger.”
It was hard to hold back the tears as her story unfolded. The bruises have healed, but the emotional pain lingers. Someone she loved and trusted intentionally hurt her. Her own mother doesn’t want her, so her grandmother is raising her. She lives with a feeling of worthlessness. And every day she is afraid. Afraid someone else she loves and trusts will get angry and hit her. Afraid she will be given back to a mother who doesn’t care about her and treats her unkindly. Afraid the pain and fear will never end.
Although I could not take away all of her hurt, I was able to reassure her she is loved and valued – by the people here at Youth Haven, and by the God who has promised He will never leave her or abandon her. We prayed together. We cried together. We read Scripture together. This was not her first visit to Youth Haven. She loves coming to the Ranch because when she is here, she feels safe. People love her and take the time to listen to her. She is reminded of God’s love and care for her. Every visit to Youth Haven gives her renewed hope for the future.
And every week of the year, we welcome a whole campus full of kids with similar stories, similar hurts, and similar fears. These kids need you to care for them and help provide for them. If we don’t love them, meet their needs, and teach them about Jesus, who will?
You are an important part of our ministry team here at Youth Haven. All of the children who attend our programs do so free of charge, and Youth Haven does not receive state or federal support. Quite simply, if you do not give, the children cannot come. They may never know they are loved and cared for. They may never discover hope in Christ.
Your gifts and prayers are the reason lives are being positively influenced and forever changed at Youth Haven. Please continue to give, for the sake of the children. Thank you for caring about children and teens who so desperately need love and hope.