Greg and I have some very fond memories of a youth group that we were in charge of as youth pastors in Jeannette, PA for one year from 1985- 1986. We had already had a previous youth group in Juneau, Alaska when we were fresh out of Bible School – from 1983-1984. Wow. Was it EVER a learning experience for us – not too many fond memories of that place – but there were a few kids from the youth group that have followed us as we have lived around the country. It was a hard first experience in the ministry and we found ourselves “wanting out” for a season – so we took an entire year off and moved to Fairbanks where Greg is from. When we were settled there and in secular jobs (making really good money) we had an encounter with a pastor from Jeannette, PA and he was looking for a youth pastor. We were pretty sure we didn’t want to do that again – but he was so kind and generous to us – had us flown to PA to look it over and meet the kids – and after praying about it and weighing our options we decided that it was the right thing to do. It is a year that we will never forget – for many reasons – but I would say that working with LaVerne and Beverly Clute (the senior pastor and his wife) was a rich and wonderful experience that we will never forget. They taught us what it was like to really love and care about people. They became like our parents and we had many good times at their house.
The youth group was an amazing group of about a dozen young people and we had so many good times with them! I would LOVE to find them online – but so far have not been successful – but I will keep trying – they are all in their 40’s now! Unbelievable. There are 4 young men in particular that we were especially close to – I called them “my lost boys” and I became their “Mom” – even though I was not much older than some of them. Two of them were brothers being raised by a single Mom. Two of the other boys had interesting home lives – one of those boys lost his Dad while we were there and that was Greg’s very first funeral service. Man – was that HARD. I am listing their names here in my blog in hopes that someone will read this and be able to tell them to get in touch with us. They names are as follows:
Bill and John Hermansen
And for those of you that enjoy classic rock – here’s a song from 1985 “Addicted to Love” that our youth group in PA used to listen to and these lyrics just used to CRACK us up!!! Many good times!
Be kind – this was 1985 and the kids in the youth group loved this stuff!