They Got There First
Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of 30 Stories that appeared in the 100th edition of Youth Leaders Only. Make sure you check out the other great stories from this special edition celebrating 30 years of YLO.
Only a few of those who have given so much to create the resources that make Youth Leaders Only so powerful have gone on to Heaven during this adventure. I wanted you to know about three of them.
Dan Snyder Northwest Youth Leader. YLO Writer. Cindy Engøy Youth Leader. Musician. Missionary. Writer. Team Interlínc WriteGroup Member. Mrs. Kay Weed Retired English teacher. Proofer of YLO resources.
And there are others Rolly Richert, Wayne McAfee, David Busby, Dana Key, Rich Mullins.
Just as we were going to press with YLO68, I received some very sad news. Dan Snyder, a longtime volunteer writer for Youth Leaders Only had passed away. Dan was a youth pastor in the northwest for decades, and was a certified “Old Guy” in youth ministry. The entire interlínc team—along all the youth leaders who write for interlínc—were saddened by this loss.
I’ll let Dan say goodbye in his own words. This is from an email he sent to me:
Ken, interlínc has meant the world to me for over ten years. I will miss you and it more than anything I have done in youth ministry (other than Mexico Mission trips)! I still have every issue, and will save them for my 16-year-old son who wants to be a youth pastor some day. It has been a great ride and I’m thankful (not bitter) that I have been able to stay in youth ministry as long as I have. Thank you again for giving me the great opportunity to write for you, and more importantly, for the way interlínc “kept me going” all these years in youth ministry! I hope that you have many years to go in the most important work on this planet: youth ministry! It has been an honor to ride with you.
Dan, I really eagerly await hanging out with you in Heaven!
Youth Leader. Musician. Missionary. Writer. Team interlínc WriteGroup member. Wife. Mother. Friend. Cindy Engøy was all that. And more. And, for the last year she’s laughing with Jesus and enjoying Paradise. And I’m still grieving.
The cancer in her that was discovered just a few months before she left us finally prevailed over her body, but it couldn’t overcome her spirit. Cindy’s love for others, her willingness to serve, her talent and creativity continue on. interlínc isn’t the only “family” that Cindy left behind.
She was heavily involved in multi-cultural ministry from her home base in Long Beach, California. She helped to plant Light & Life Church, and then served with the Seventh Street Church. She and her husband formed YesWeServe, a mission organization that works with kids in Ghana, India, and Mexico. (She wrote an article called “My Ghana Girls” just over a year ago in YLO94.) And, Cindy was an accomplished musician who sang jazz vocals and praise music with various bands in southern California. Her musical sensibilities shone through the many music-based Bible studies she wrote for Youth Leaders Only over the years.
Cindy, I can hardly wait to play guitar in your band when we’re in Heaven!
Mrs. Kay Weed
You know how you get to know some people very well over the phone and internet, but never really meet them in person? That’s how it was with Mrs. Weed and I. She was a retired high school English teacher who volunteered to proof the Bible studies and articles for YLO once I had edited them. We spent hours and hours talking on the phone together—and she never stopped being the English tutor for me.
You need to understand something, Mrs. Weed was one of the “Greatest Generation”—a “Rosie the Riveter” type during World War II—who did something very unusual for a woman in her time: she went to college and got her degree. She was a tough teacher who garnered praise from all who knew her despite her rigid insistence on writing correctly. (See? I almost typed “doing it right” but her voice rang out in my mind, “Doing WHAT right, Ken? Define the ‘it’ in that sentence!”) Mrs. Weed took our “B” work and turned it into “A” quality. Her focus on details turned the YLO magazines from merely energetic and creative to all that and professional too.
Over the course of our many conversations and years of working together, I grew to really like this tiny old woman from the panhandle of Florida. I helped her with her computer problems, and worked with her to figure out her new digital camera. (She’d send me photos of the prize Amaryllis flowers that she was so fond of growing.) We’d talk and talk and talk about the youth ministry at her church, the mistakes I’d make in editing, and our common love for God. (By the way, she’s Allen Weed’s mom. If you know Allen, then you know what I mean when I say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!”)
I’m sure she’s found a place in Heaven for her tremendous energy and attention to detail to be used to honor our Lord. I look forward to finally wrapping my arms around her in a big hug when I get to Heaven!
My grief about these three people reminds me of something very important about this Youth Leaders Only thing that I’ve been a part of for so many years: this isn’t a job, or a program, or a product—this is a “family” of likeminded people who care for each other, who celebrates in our creativity together, and who are elbows-deep in youth ministry together. Many of my closest friends have come from my involvement with interlínc and Youth Leaders Only. I’m actually pretty glad that I haven’t had to say goodbye to more than three of them!