This is an amazing story from North Central YL tonight. It truly shows that God is constantly working in this broken world and will always provide comfort, love, and peace even in times of grave tragedy. Jon Whitmer wrote this after Campaigners tonight.
I assume you have heard about the NC sophomore, Leon Baisa, who tragically passed away last Wednesday night in a car accident. Leon has 8 brothers and sisters, including Roman who is a freshman at NC and Falcon who is an 8th grader at Northview. None of the leaders really knew Leon and he didn't come to YL, but we knew who he was, as Doug Barnack, Ryan Johnson and I had just gone to watch Leon play in an intramural basketball game at NC last Monday night after Campaigners, since we knew a lot of Leon's friends on the team, including Jack Cagnassola, the other boy in the car with Leon the night of the accident. Leon's girlfriend, Olivia Trusty, is a freshman and was involved in Eastwood WyldLife and came to Timber Wolf with us last summer. She's been coming to Campaigners and Club every week this year.
Tonight, there was a spaghetti dinner at Moe and Johnny's benefiting Leon's Memorial Fund. Many student's left the dinner early, including Olivia, to come to Campaigners at 7:30. Olivia had asked Caitlin Weber, her leader, if she could share something in front of everyone tonight at Campaigners. Caitlin has talked to Olivia every day since the accident, a comforting friend in the midst of Olivia's pain/brokenness.
There were so many new faces at Campaigners tonight, around 55 kids in total, all crying, emotional and looking for a safe place. Not only that, but Garrett Lee, a senior, knew that Leon's brother, Roman, needed to be at Campaigners tonight, so he went and picked him up and brought him. What an incredible example of the way God pursues us through one another. I'm so thankful and so impressed with Garrett's heart in doing that. With the brother, girlfriend and countless other grieving friends of Leon in our presence tonight, there was much pain, sadness, anger, and questioning, as kids asked "why" and "what now." As Romans 15:5 says, it was a place where, as a family, "we mourned with those mourning."
But tonight was also a sacred moment in the midst of a tragedy. Olivia beautifully shared her feelings for Leon and then went on to share the story of Lazarus for the whole group, a perfect story, where Christ weeps over Lazarus' death, showing that when we hurt, God hurts. But it's also a story where Christ is described as "the resurrection and the life" and the one that has the power to bring us from death to life. God was working tonight, as in the beginning, everyone was so somber and full of tears. Yet, as kids were leaving, there was laughter, smiles and small steps of healing.
Please continue to pray for the Baisa family, for Roman, for Olivia, for the NC students and faculty coming around them and for the YL leaders, as we continue to walk with kids through the peaks and the valleys of life. Praise God for tonight, for a place like YL, a refuge for these lost kids.
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