Northport Campus Life, '81-'84
My name is Jody-Lynne Suda, and I am an alumni of the LI YFC program from 1981-1984. They were instrumental in bringing the word of God into my life so I could be brought into a real relationship with Jesus. I am still hanging out with Him today because of that foundation, and I cannot ever express how grateful I am that they were there.
I grew up in Northport, NY and attended Northport High School. While I had many influences in my life for Christ during that time, my foundation was always there with YFC. I learned the Word, the Will and the Gospel and how to walk it all out right there in the middle of learning to be social. Having just turned 44, I am still a bit on the introverted side at heart, or maybe socially awkward on the inside, I learned the importance of sharing our gifts to bring Jesus into the lives of others right there in YFC, Campus Life.
I live in Goldsboro, NC today and work at the Air Force Base here as a Social Worker. My official title is Deployment Specialist and I get to be involved with Military members and their families that are serving our country. I am involved in their adjustment back from deployment and with their building their families and healing from hurt. The Lord works with me daily to live out my faith and serve from that foundation even while I don’t always talk about Him. The Lord speaks through our actions more than our words most of the time and I am praying daily for the opportunities to share, and there have been many, to keep coming so others will always know how very much Jesus loves them and continues to hold them.
I have a daughter that I got when she was 17 years old, and she is 25 now. I have not been married, but having been single, have made myself available for whatever the Lord called me to, and she was it. She needed to really see Jesus step up and in when her mother stepped out. So, in spite of my knowing my peaceful self centered life would end, I invited her to live with me. So, I get to be a mom and realized that my being available to Jesus, changed her life. While I am totally not perfect and have been a horrible example sometimes, (ok, more often than that probably), she knows that Jesus comes through by being her home because He moved in me to obey and be her home. We learn together now. Though imperfectly, we walk with Jesus and His Spirit moves to guide us to become more of what God wants us to be.
I attend a church called Whitley Church and I landed there as a regular attender because they teach the Word. Just the Word and I am challenged to keep the Word of God in my life daily. Be in the Word always. The more I am in there, the more I carry it and shine it through my life and it comes up and out in my conversation. It is not preaching for me. It is just what is in there that comes out. That is what made a difference for me. People living the Word and sharing it through their lives so naturally that it was real and applicable. It changed my life and it changes others lives every day. AND it will change lives through you as God uses you to speak to others with your life, actions and your words. It is the knowledge of all God has to say to us that moves us more towards his Will for our lives.
Jack Crabtree is a man I will never forget. He was my YFC leader. Charlene was right there with him and I remember her music and her commitment to Jesus in the now. I think we even had Margaret Becker in there at the very start of my YFC involvement, when she and Charlene were singing with Scott Roley. That is the concert I gave my life to Christ as a result of. While Scott remembers me, because I have had contact with him over the years...I am not sure who else might from Youth For Christ...but I will always remember them and be grateful that they cared enough to be an anchor of faith for me to have my identity hidden in Christ while I walked through high school.
Most of my Social Work career has been working with at risk teens and families because of their influence in my life. I have my daughter because of the same reason really. The teens and families need to know Jesus is real and I am a person who is called to make Him real in the lives of others around me by living the Word I started to learn right there in Campus Life. Availability to serve even when uncomfortable is an act of obedience and God has changed me through it for HIS definition of bettering me.
Thank you, Jack, Charlene and all of the others who continue to make Campus Life and Youth For Christ a reality that moves Jesus into the lives of kids when they most need to know He is there. I am a result of that faithful obedience. I am humbly thankful and think of you every time I reach out to the kids who most need to see Jesus be real in life, not just a sermon. You allowed Him to be real to me through you and as I grow up, I hope to be more like you.