Dear EAPE Partner,
I thought you would like to know about Terrance. In 1990 he was a poor little kid living in government housing in West Philadelphia. He had an older brother nicknamed Moneyhead who was (and still is) a drug dealer. His mother was an alcoholic dying of AIDS and there was no way for him to know who his father might have been. His future looked bleak.
However, Lauren, a volunteer counselor in one of our EAPE summer programs took a special interest in Terrance and the two of them became great friends. It was not unusual for him to visit her and her roommates in the early hours of the morning to talk about his troubles. After all, his mother didn't care where he was or what he did. In a matter of weeks, our team saw Terrance change from mean and nasty into friendly and fun.
At the end of the summer, when almost all of the summer staff left to go back to college, Lauren just couldn't leave Terrance. It had become obvious to her that this child would be broken-hearted if she walked away from what had become his first real friend – so Lauren stayed on as an EAPE intern.
Terrance became Lauren's shadow. He came to her afterschool tutoring program. She took him to church. When she went home for visits to her family in western Pennsylvania, he was invited to tag along. What was especially wonderful was the way that, little by little, Jesus became real to Terrance through Lauren's year-long friendship.
Two decades later, Lauren revisited Philadelphia and had a chance to get together with her little buddy Terrance. Of course, he isn't so little anymore. He's 28 years old now, married with two young boys. He's a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker and a proud homeowner himself. When Lauren met up with him the first thing he said was, It's all because of you, and your investment in me, that I am who I am today.
This is just one of a thousand and one great stories of how God has worked in and through the lives of our young workers. Stories like this one are the best evidence we have that you are doing something really wonderful when you give sacrificially to support the work of EAPE. As you carry out your ministry of giving - and it is a ministry - you need to know that it's bearing fruit. Please, keep up the good work.
P.S. My two newest books are especially relevant to all of this. Red Letter Christians (Regal Press) deals with the social issues that are hot these days, and The God of Intimacy and Action (Jossey-Bass), co-authored with Mary Darling, deals with the contemporary emphasis on spirituality. I'd love for you to read them.
ABOUT TONY + MARCH 2008