I had a much needed conversation today with Donna, an adult leader with M-Fuge. Each summer M-Fuge sends about 30 youth to PTM to help run our summer program and Donna had been at PTM 13 years ago. With her on that trip was Betsy Smith, a high school senior from Mt. Zion, IL. Betsy had been a true leader and a tireless worker the entire week. She remarked often how much work there was to do and she was eager to do it. Donna shared with me how Betsy had journaled about what a meaningful time she had serving God by caring for children from a low income setting. She sensed God’s leadership on that trip and continued to look for ways to serve God. She shared this passion with those in her church. In her senior year of high school year she wrote a mission statement that she followed with remarkable faithfulness.
She looked for every opportunity to serve children. When opportunities weren’t readily available, she made them. As a student at Taylor University, Betsy would take some bubbles and crayons, drive to a low income community, and just find a group of children to love. She became involved in ReaLife Ministries in Marion, IN where she tutored, built friendships, and helped children experience the love of Christ. She was totally hooked on serving God and following out what it means to be a follower of Christ. She had helped build a place at ReaLife that would be a safe house for children—a house she would live in following her graduation from Taylor University.
Tragically, Betsy was killed just weeks before her graduation. The space she helped to build at ReaLife has been named Betsy’s House and her legacy of faith continues to lead others to obedience to Christ. Her story has certainly inspired me reminding me that God’s ways are not our ways and that for every picture of faith we witness there are hundreds of faith expressions that go unnoticed. I am so thankful that Donna shared with me the role PTM played in Betsy’s life. Being at PTM did not change or redirect Betsy’s life—she was raised in a family and a church where faithful expressions come naturally. But, PTM was a part of her journey to serve children. Every summer for the last 14 years, over 200 youth volunteer at PTM. How many of those 2800+ youth have become stronger ministers because of their time at PTM? I would venture to guess more than I realize—because that’s how God works. I love being a part of an organization that recognizes the boomerang principle of those who come to serve being served and returning back as stronger servants.
For more information on Betsy’s inspiring story, please read this article.