It’s so great how the ‘lost’ can be ‘found’ – if you wait long enough. 25 years ago, Greg and I were youth pastors in Jeannette, PA. We had a small youth group – but with those eight or ten ‘kids’ we developed deep and lasting relationships – especially with four of the boys. They were and always will be ‘the lost boys’. This was my pet name for them – because each one had their own unique set of circumstances and challenging home lives. We came into their lives in that crucial part of life – when they were teenagers.
You never know how you will affect lives while you are in the middle of your own journey – or what the future impact may be. We were just simply doing our job and it was easy to love these kids. And with no other distractions and no children of our own yet – they became our ‘children’.
After moving away from Jeannette in ’86 – we took a position in New Castle, PA and two of the boys came to visit us. I was pregnant with Ashlee at the time and it was so great to see them! They told us of some trouble that one of the boys had found himself in – and we wanted to reconnect with him – even back then – but it was hard in those days with no internet. Sadly we lost touch with all of them and some time later moved back to the west coast. Because there was no internet yet – or at least very limited – I had no way of finding anyone – but always thought about them and wondered what had happened. The memory of my ‘lost boys’ was always on my mind. When we first had internet, back in the late 90’s I tried once more to locate them. Nothing. Years passed and I got on myspace and looked. Nothing. Then a few years later I got on facebook and tried again. No luck – until….about 6 or 8 months ago. I typed in two of the boys names and FOUND THEM!! It was like a miracle! I contacted them – one now lives back in Jeannette and the other is in the army and stationed in Afghanistan. What a thrill to talk to them and catch up on their lives – there’s a whole lot to catch up – 25 years!
One of the ‘boys’ suggested that we use Skype to talk to each other using a webcam on the computer and seeing a real face in front of you while you’re talking. We had never used it before and after a lot of bugging on his part – Greg finally downloaded Skype. Last week we were able to call him. I can’t tell you how it felt to see him (this was the one that had some trouble in his teens after we left) and to see that he’s all right. During the conversation I said, ‘You know Randy – you were the original ‘lost boys’ – you were like our kids’ and without missing a beat he said, ‘Well in many ways – you were our parents’ That was so nice to hear. That ‘lost boy’ is 40 years old now. And he has never forgotten us.
Two of the other boys were found from this blog. I wrote an article about a year ago – still looking for these ‘boys’ and wrote their names in an article hoping someone would see them. Someone did. One of the boys himself – who was not on facebook – was using ‘google’ to find another one of these boys and my blog popped up! He commented on the article and gave me his email. That was amazing too! He told me news of he and his brother and what a journey their lives had taken. Randy and I pushed and pleaded with him to join facebook – and he finally did!
Here is a video I made for the four ‘lost boys’. This song has much meaning – it was an ’80’s tune that played on the radio ALL THE TIME back then and Bill use to ‘sing’ parts of it and make us all laugh. Good times, good times.
Here’s hoping that whatever you have ‘lost’ – will someday be ‘found’.