“Miss Bethany, you need to pray for this one boy because I’m going to beat him up. He hurt my little brother,” said East Sider Tevon Smith.
Tevon is 10 and lives on one of Wilmington’s toughest blocks. He frustrates easily, is hostile to instruction and snaps quickly. We know him well because he attends Camp Victory where Bethany Wolstenholme has been Site Director for 6 years.
Bethany visits Tevon’s home (tough block or not). She listens to his father, Mr. Smith, and keeps him posted on how Tevon is doing and how they can partner in his success.
What Bethany does is humble and simple – visiting, listening, caring, sharing. It isn’t a big new government program or crime sweep and won’t appear in a headline. But if we want to change the headlines by changing hearts, this is where it has to start. And this is what makes UrbanPromise so unique and so effective.
Recently Tevon surprised Bethany when he arrived at camp and called out, “Miss Bethany, you need to pray for this one boy because I’m going to beat him up. He hurt my little brother.” This caused nervous giggle from the other kids who wondered how Bethany would respond.
“Don’t laugh,” she said, “that’s a real request. I’ll pray for this kid, but I’m going to pray for you, too, Tevon – that you can forgive him and that you’ll make peace.”
“If you really want to protect your brother you won’t make things worse – you’ll try and end this.” He looked at her skeptically but allowed her to pray.
Long before any youth picked up a gun to shoot someone, he was an angry and hopeless child. And those seeds took root and flourished until one day they were full grown and murderous. Teach kids how to get on a path with a hope and a future and they will not stray from it when they are grown.
About a week later, Tevon again called out to Bethany, this time saying, “Your prayer worked! I forgave that kid. He apologized and we decided to look out for each others’ brothers and not play so rough.”
It may not be peace on earth yet, but peace broke out on one block on the East Side and four boys now had a bigger family. Fist fights avoided now are gun fights pre-empted later.
Bethany grinned from ear to ear. “I told him how proud of him I was. I know that the gospel is powerful and that God is at work in Wilmington because of moment like that. I love that God’s desire for peace and Christ’s forgiveness rubs off on my kids and I love getting to tell about it!”
That’s where UrbanPromise works so uniquely.
I need you to support Bethany and brilliant, committed staff like her. It’s their relationships and love that gives Tevon hope. Make a statement for peace this Christmas with a generous gift.
Each $1000 you give will support Bethany’s monthly salary. $500 meets biweekly payroll for her. $200 is the monthly cost of health benefits for staff, and $100 gives them petty cash to buy special things for their camps.
Peace on earth and good will towards men. Thanks for helping it happen.