Lisa Crawford, Campus Life volunteer and staff member through 1988 – 2015
For over 25 years, I had the privilege of writing monthly letters to supporters to share what God was doing in the lives of students at Cory-Rawson and Liberty-Benton High Schools. I shared my last stories as the 2015 school year drew to a close and I stepped out of my position as a full-time missionary with Youth For Christ. Little did I know, another story was still being written. I wouldn’t hear of it for another eight years.
In the 80’s, I was a volunteer serving Bluffton, Pandora-Gilboa, Arlington and, for the most part, Allen-East High School students as their Campus Life Director.
Angie was one of those teens.
I remember a fun-loving young lady who liked coming to Campus Life meetings being held in homes around Lafayette, Harrod and Bluffton. Angie had the best smile, and like many others, she was coming out for fun and food!
Angie has said, “My family life was ….well, dysfunctional at best. I had an alcoholic father who was verbally abusive to me and on occasion physically abusive to other family members. I had a mother who suffered from anxiety and depression, she cried a lot. She did teach us about Jesus when we were young and encouraged us to pray but had given us limited knowledge.
I was the “good” kid in the family, which wasn’t hard since my siblings were poor students. They were also abusing alcohol and experimenting with drug use. At the time, I thought I was a Christian because of what I didn’t do (drinking, smoking, drugs or sleeping around).
But, boy did I have a mouth! I was self-righteous, and I was so very lost. I was good in the eyes of the world, but not at all in the eyes of our Heavenly Father.”
I said goodbye to Angie following her 1988 graduation ceremony. I myself, graduated from college, headed to grad school in Columbus, and on to full-time youth ministry work.
There was no such thing as social media, email or texting then, however, this summer a text did arrive!
Angie had been looking for me and she found me through a former LB graduate.
After being sure she had the right Lisa, Angie texted, “I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to reach out. I know that you saw a lot of kids go through your program, so I don’t expect you’ll have a lot of memories of me. I just want you to know that your influence in my life was huge and it meant a lot.
It may have seemed like your lessons and conversation fell on deaf ears, but it didn’t. When I started living my life for Christ in 1997 many of your words came back to me. You led by example, in word and in deed and I thank you. I’ve prayed for you and I’ve looked for you. When I think of you I get teary eyed and can’t speak or I’ll cry. You planted seeds that have grown and are still growing.
I’d love to have tea with you sometime if you don’t mind the tears. Just know that the countless hours you spent investing in the lives of young people meant the world to me and I thank God for your part in my salvation story.”
I said goodbye to Angie following her 1988 graduation ceremony; this summer, I said hello to a grown woman, and mother of 3 grown children herself.
This summer we shared a three hour breakfast. We spent time praising God for both highs and lows of the 35 years now behind us. Angie’s heart for Jesus is so evident and I was humbled to find out there were snippets of God-given insights she gained from Campus Life meetings that have been important during her spiritual journey.
She said that Campus Life made her feel she belonged somewhere, and my school lunch visits had meant so much to her.
Many impact stories are being written in this 2023-2024 school year through time the staff and volunteers of YFCNWOH are spending with students. Some stories may finally be heard in 2058 or 2059. To God’s glory, He is patient with the process.