Each day, employees of our family of ministries aim to uphold our three core values: relentless commitment, selflessness and kindness. We believe our interactions with the children, adults and families we serve throughout our three ministries, as well as our interactions with fellow employees, should be infused with these values.
Of course, living out these values day-by-day can be challenging. That’s why we love to celebrate moments when employees show relentless commitment, selflessness and kindness with our quarterly COMPEL Awards. Inspired by 2 Corinthians 5:14 (“For the love of Christ compels us…”), COMPEL is an acrostic for:
Each quarter, employees send in their COMPEL Award nominations by sharing short stories about ways they’ve witnessed fellow staff members show the love of Christ to others. We typically receive upwards of 50 nominations each quarter from all corners of our agency, and every nomination is read aloud and celebrated at our All Staff luncheons.
We will be including other COMPEL nominations in our “50 Stories for 50 Years” series, but today, we wanted to share one of the most powerful nominations ever submitted, from our former campus minister in 2012:
I saw Jesus that night…. Several weeks ago, on a Wednesday night as I was leaving one of the (resident) cottages, I heard loud yelling, swearing and profanity. Although it was dark, I could see the form of an animated youth and what looked like two staff members attempting to redirect the over-stimulated girl. I heard her (the youth) yell, “Get the *!%@ away from me…I DON’T WANT YOU TO LOVE ME….” The youth began to alternate between sobbing and screaming. After a while, the youth laid down on the cold pavement in front of cottage one and continued to sob.
By the way, it was freezing cold that night and although I was standing with my thermals, sweatshirt, coat and boots, I was STILL FREEZING out there!
Then, I saw Jesus lay down on the hard, cold pavement with that (girl) and stroke her hair and calmly reassure her…five minutes later, still on the ground but sobbing softly…10 minutes later, both still on the ground, no audible crying…15 minutes later, still on the ground…. I felt the need to help them get out of the freezing cold, so I asked the other staff who was there…if he could get some blankets from the cottage and cover them up!
When I left the scene, Jesus was still lying on the ground next to the youth, comforting her…. He was disguised as (former treatment specialist) Mary Fishburn.
On that bitterly cold night, Mary proved to this former resident that she was relentlessly committed to her by showing her kindness and selflessly putting the resident’s needs ahead of her own. It was exactly what that little girl needed, precisely at the moment, to discover some peace in the midst of her emotional turmoil.
What a great reminder of just how transformational Christ’s love can be for people who have experienced so much pain.