Interview by Grace Nordquist, Community Engagement Coordinator
Since Siouxland YFC started in 1978, there’s been a lot evolving over the years. One person who has had a front row seat in witnessing the growth of YFC is Phyllis Rehder. Phyllis is a retired school teacher who currently lives in Hawarden and has been involved in YFC since the 1980s. I sat down with Phyllis to see what YFC was like over the years and why she is passionate about supporting our mission.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Humboldt, Iowa. I moved to Hawarden to teach at West Sioux High School in 1966.
When did you first get involved in YFC?
1989 while I was still a substitute teacher. I was first known as the “cookie lady.”
What did the program look like when you were first involved?
Students met in homes with an ice breaker, games, and then a bible study about twice a month. There were around 20-25 kids, all high school aged.
How have you seen YFC evolve throughout the years?
The kids used to just come to us and usually had a basic knowledge of Jesus, today we’re reaching a more diverse audience, some of which don’t know Jesus at all. It seems the students have bigger problems than they used to, so having leaders who are reaching out and becoming more involved, working full time to be available even during the school day makes a big difference. So many of the kids need that one-on-one connection and
someone to believe in them.
How does it make you feel to see what YFC looks like today?
To see past students now involved years later in the organization, some even in full-time ministry- it’s really impactful. At the time you wonder, but you do make a difference in their lives. It’s a part of the reason I still am a part of the organization today by giving financial support. I’m thankful that YFC is available.
How has being involved with YFC given life to your story?
I received way more than I felt I put into it. I was able to relate to the bible stories that I was teaching to the kids and realized that adults can gain strength from those stories as well. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share God’s love, and from that I grew.
What is your hope for YFC’s future?
My hope is that there would be more individuals who would be willing to sacrifice their time to get involved with YFC.
What would you say to someone considering getting involved?
Simply, just try it. I think you’ll find that it is worth it.