Illinois youth group chooses charity to receive Bethel convention award
NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – One outcome of the Mennonite Youth Convention last July in Phoenix was a Bethel College drawing of a youth’s name to receive a money award for the charity of her/his choice.
Clark Oswald, associate director of admissions, traveled to Hopedale Mennonite Church in Hopedale, Ill., in September to give a check for $500 to Rachel Walker, whose name came out of the barrel of tickets.
However, the Hopedale youth group wasn’t ready then to say where they would be giving the money. Now they are.
Kim Litwiller, Hopedale’s youth pastor, told Oswald earlier this month they had decided to contribute to a local charity called Anthony’s Promise.
It was established “to help with medical costs for Anthony Durham,” Litwiller said. “Anthony is 21 months old and has suffered from a variety of health issues since birth. To date, doctors are still unable to provide a diagnosis, which is frustrating, as you can imagine.
“Anthony has had more than 12 surgery in his short 21 months of life. He has roughly four doctors’ appointments each week in Peoria, which is 25 miles from his home in Hopedale.
“Due to Anthony's health issues, his mother, Jacqueline, is unable to work, leaving her husband Brad to provide the family’s only source of income. Brad and Jacqueline also have a daughter, Alexis, 4.”
In his Sept. 15 presentation at Hopedale, Oswald talked about “how the ethic of service is incorporated in our mission statement and who we are at Bethel College.
“To that end, we integrate a service component into our youth convention booth – hoping to give youth the opportunity to think of others and make a difference with a call to service.”
The Durham family attended the weekly youth meeting at Hopedale Nov. 13 to share their story with the group.
“They both gave God the credit for Anthony’s survival at birth,” Litwiller said, “and for supplying them the strength they need daily to press on.
“Their message was received well by our high school students, and provided a wonderful illustration of God’s provisions for us when we find ourselves within the valley.”
Bethel College is the only private, liberal arts college in Kansas listed in the 2013-14 Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities in the United States, and is the highest-ranked Kansas college in the Washington Monthly annual college guide for 2013-14. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.