Every Monday, at YPC practice, we are delighted and honored to have a guest speaker come and talk to us about how they display their love for our great God and country. We are all so thrilled to hear their stories and listen to their wisdom every week. Three of our Youth Leaders; Lila Norby, Karli Roth, and Alayna Driesen, have volunteered to write summaries of what they learned from our incredible speakers!
Here are their beautiful pieces!
Written by Karli Roth
On February 1, 2021, Young Patriots Club was excited to listen to guest speaker Chris Thomson, the Business Manager at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Mr. Thomson is a wonderful man who has a heart for God and people. He serves at Gloria Dei by directing church operations and taking care of the church’s money, budgeting, staffing, safety, and legal needs. He is passionate about leading others spiritually, talking about the gospel, and managing church business – along with one of his favorite pastimes, golf. Before he served at Gloria Dei, he resided in St. Louis. But God called him back to Iowa, his birthplace, and after serving at one other church first, Mr. Thomson became employed at Gloria Dei.
While with us, Mr. Thomson shared about how God works through hard times. Sometimes when life gets rough, we wonder why God would let bad things happen. Mr. Thomson shared that God often uses trials to draw us closer to Him, and that He will never leave us, no matter what. Moreover, God always knows what’s going on and what His plan for it all is. The evidence that God can use pain and suffering for good is the cross, where Jesus died so that we could all be saved and forgiven of our sins. As an illustration of how God can use bad things for good, Mr. Thomson showed us a video of Mike Donehey, the lead singer of former Christian band Tenth Avenue North. Mr. Donehey was in a car crash when he was 17 and flew out of the car’s window. He was so injured that the doctors didn’t think he would live, but he did. As he laid on his bed healing, Mr. Donehey first picked up a guitar and began to learn how to play it. Since then, God has done amazing things through his life and the music he helps produce. Mr. Thomson’s message is wonderful and timely for us all: God works through hard times!
Written by Karli Roth
On November 9, 2020 Senior Vice Commander of VFW post 8879, Mr. Gregory Allen, spoke to Young Patriots Club. Mr. Allen is a hero who served in the Gulf War and his life goal is to serve his God and his country. In our time together, he talked to us about living life to the fullest and as more than conquerors. But who is a conqueror? A conqueror is someone who takes over something, someone who overcomes obstacles. Mr. Allen shared with us that we have all always been conquerors; from even before the time we overcame the difficulties of walking! Sometimes we may feel like we are not conquerors due to all the noise telling us we cannot do what God wants us to. But, “No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37). Mr. Allen encouraged us to think of this like a mountain with two sides, one smooth and one rough. Which side would you climb? Well, you’d climb the rough one because it has foot and hand holds; if you climbed the smooth side you’d fall. Applying this to life, struggles, or the rough side, will teach us and we will learn something each step we take, whereas the smooth side will not teach us so much and we may fall more easily. So, Mr. Allen asked us not to focus on the noise, but to focus on our life goal that Jesus has given us. There’s going to be challenges, and we can learn from them. But we need to focus on the unique purpose Jesus has called us to, and continue to follow Him in our lives, while appreciating the freedom
we have to do that here in America. We should be thankful for the freedoms our veterans have sacrificed so much for. It is because of their sacrifice that we have a chance to live our lives to the fullest. Senior Vice Commander Gregory Allen was a wonderful guest speaker with a heartfelt message for us all. God has a unique purpose just for you… so follow Him and pursue that purpose. You are more than a conqueror!
Written by Karli Roth
Specially trained service dogs can help veterans in extraordinary ways. On November 2, 2020 Young Patriots Club was thrilled to meet Miss Caryn, a Puppy Jake Foundation dog trainer, and JJ, the dog she is currently training. Puppy Jake Foundation is an organization with a mission to provide care and support to veterans through professionally trained service dogs. Miss Caryn helps train these dogs so they can serve our American heroes, especially those heroes who have a hard time readjusting to normal life. JJ is the third dog she has trained; one of these dogs was too anxious to adequately assist a veteran, so it had to be pulled from the program. She says volunteers give a bit of their lives to somebody else, and she chooses to do that because of Jesus. Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross inspires Caryn to serve Him and spread God’s love by giving part of her life to help veterans through Puppy Jake Foundation.
Puppy Jake Foundation trains dogs to assist veterans with many things. From reminding veterans of medications, helping them with injuries, waking them during a nightmare, or giving them support in seizures, these dogs provide help in many different situations. Some veterans who have not slept for years receive a dog and get their first bit of sleep that night. These dogs make an incredible impact on veterans’ lives, and that’s why trainers like Caryn are willing to put in so much effort to train them. Caryn has three sons who served in the military and when she saw them come back home, each in various states to carry on their lives, she was moved to volunteer with Puppy Jake Foundation- even though she is not entirely a dog person!
Through the hard work of trainers and financial support of donors, Puppy Jake Foundation blesses 5-8 veterans with dogs each year. These dogs begin their training when they are only 8-months-old, learning basic manners every dog must know. They will then go to train with a volunteer trainer for 2 years. When it’s finally time for them to meet their veterans, they will go into a room with the heroes and the dogs will choose who they want to be with by simply walking over to the veteran they pick. Caryn says she cannot think of a single circumstance where the veterans would not have chosen the same dogs who chose them. After this, special trainers train the dogs for their veterans’ special needs, before a final test and the big day when they go to live with their veterans full-time. Young Patriots Club enjoyed learning about service dogs and the veterans they help from Puppy Jake Foundation Trainer Miss Caryn. It’s amazing what dogs can do to serve veterans!
Written by Karli Roth
On February 17th, Young Patriots Club was excited to have Retired Lieutenant Colonel Jim Freese as a guest speaker. He is retired from 31 years serving in the Air National Guard, and he talked to us about his experiences, motives, and sacrificial life. He started out in his line of work with a position as a mechanic, a knowledgeable expert in the engine, controls, and other parts of airplanes. From there he became an Officer Deputy Commander and was stationed at an old air force base in Iraq as second in command. He talked to us about one of his incidents at that Iraqi base, and he confirmed that it was a rewarding experience. Since he retired from the Air National Guard, he has not stopped living a sacrificial life and assisting others. He volunteers not only at his church, but also at organizations dedicated to helping veterans. He helps soldiers preparing for military requirements and aids them in working with their employers. He also encourages and aids students pursuing a path in the air force.
While talking to us, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Freese explained some of the things we often take for granted that veterans have to give up as they courageously serve their country. Family events are often missed for the sake of protecting America, and veterans don't always get to be home for holidays, or other special times. Besides that, our soldiers put their lives on the line, facing terrifying trials or homesickness. But, because of three main things, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Freese believes it is worth it. He told us he is willing to make all these sacrifices because he is part of an organization that is bigger than himself, he is getting a chance to serve others, and he is having opportunities he wouldn't otherwise have. In addition to telling us some about how veterans give of themselves, Retired Lieutenant Colonel Freese also narrated to us a few stories from his life, one of which was at the air force base in Iraq. Before he came to the base, he was aware that it often had rocket attacks. One day, he was at the location when a large boom sounded, immobilizing him for a few seconds. While others ran to safety, he brought himself together and hurried a different direction- towards a building where information about attacks was charted. There he performed his military duties. The attack thankfully ended with no serious damage and no hurt people. He concluded that the next time he responded without freezing. Young Patriots Club enjoyed hearing about Retired Lieutenant Colonel Jim Freese's life and his sacrificial living.
Written by Alayna Driesen
Denise Kincaid, a West Des Moines firefighter, has braved saving people from housefires, car crashes, and many other catastrophic events. Her department responds to around fifteen fires every month. They range from the smallest stove fires to the largest house fires. As a fire fighter, Denise wears protective gear that has three layers. The inner layer protects her from moisture, the middle layer is made to keep her warm, and the outer layer is to protect her from any source of heat. Denise’s current position as a firefighter is a fire inspector. There are various fire fighter positions with different wages, but the average firefighter gets paid around $50,000 per year. Before Denise became a firefighter she was a teacher. She was very athletic and enjoyed helping people. Every Saturday Denise gives up her time to help kids with disabilities learn gymnastics. Denise is such an inspiring, hard-working woman! We were so glad to have her as our speaker at Young Patriots Club.
Written by Karli Roth
On January 13th, Young Patriots Club had two wonderful guest speakers- people dedicated to helping the broken. We were honored to have Mr. Vest and Ms. Markee join us to tell about what they do to share God's great love.
Ms. Kellie Markee is the founder of Dorothy’s House, a place for girls who need care, support, and love. Before she started the house, she went through many other jobs- advertising, starting a website business, flipping houses, and more! But through this all, she saw the problems that kids were facing and felt that she should be doing something to help. So, as she continued flipping houses she became a foster parent, but she was stirred to do something even greater to help the broken people in this world. Dorothy’s House came into being after she bought a run-down house, repaired it, and dedicated it to helping girls going through tough times. Ms. Markey now gives a place for girls to overcome the difficulties of life. She shows them love and helps to mend their shattered hearts. Ms. Markee enjoys her work and said, "One of the greatest things you can be given is a mission."
Mr. Rocky Vest is a man with a heart for people in the grip of modern day slavery. Before he began his organization, Break the Cycle 200, he was broken because of the hurt of enslaved people, and he longed to help. One day, a friend dared him to ride a bike two hundred miles. At first Mr. Vest was skeptical, but he found himself climbing onto his bike anyway. As he endured the pain of the ride, people started asking him why he was doing it. The Holy Spirit then inspired Mr. Vest to found an organization of people who ride their bikes to raise funds and awareness of modern day slavery. He started Break the Cycle 200, his response to the gospel and the love of Jesus. Mr. Vest credits God for his work because without Him it would not be.
Young Patriots Club enjoyed learning from both of our speakers. All of us can do work in our own lives by loving the people around us and caring for others.
Romans 12:1 says, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God- this is your true and proper worship.”
Written by Lila Norby
On September 23, 2019, Mrs. Fern Sump visited us at Young Patriots Club. She shared that one night she couldn’t fall asleep and an idea came to her about designing patriotic pillowcases for veterans. Mrs. Sump shared a story about one time when she gave some pillowcases to some students to hand out to veterans at a cemetery in Washington DC , on Memorial Day. She also told us that she received a thank you letter from a veteran sharing with her that he had never spent a Memorial Day at a Veterans Cemetery before but her gift made it the most memorable Memorial Day he had ever had. Mrs. Sump has a very strong faith in Jesus, and she reminded us, “that Jesus is always with you.”.
Mrs. Fern Sump is woman of many talents and kind words! Mrs. Sump has a great talent of giving to others. She even told us that when she shares her talents, it blesses her more than others! One of Fern’s biggest talents is sewing and she’s great at it! In fact, it has become Fern’s mission to sew patriotic silk pillowcases for veterans! She has sewn over 500 pillowcases. Last year, Mrs. Sump help us design and sew patriotic pillowcases to hand out to veterans at our Young Patriots Club events. Fern Sump is a kind woman with a heart for Jesus and giving to others. We are blessed to have Mrs. Sump associated with are club.
Written by Karli Roth
"On September 16, 2019, we were happy to have Commissioner Baynes, Commissioner of Iowa Safety visit us! Some of the many interesting things he told us about were drug trackers, who track with specially trained dogs, bomb robots with special attachments to find and take care of bombs, and police jobs and positions. Before he was a commissioner, he was a prosecutor. One day, he got a phone call from a number he didn't recognize. When he picked it up, he found that Governor Reynolds was speaking. She called him about being the state commissioner, and after some thought and discussion, he accepted. Commissioner Baynes said that the governor made him feel like they were just talking across a table to one another. He credits God for the position, himself having no idea of how the Governor got his name and phone number. As the commissioner, his main mission is to help people. Commissioner Baynes' dad also served in the police force.
Commissioner Baynes told us about some police positions. People who work with bomb robots have heavy suits called bomb suits that can weigh 120 pounds! Commissioner Baynes also told us about a special lab that can help to find fingerprints, tire prints, and more. In the lab, they have machines to detect how nervous a person is, which helps them tell lies from truth. Police also have airplanes, for search and rescue, and to chase criminals down. The planes have heat sensors to locate where people are. Commissioner Baynes met the vice president of the United States of America while protecting him on a trip. Commissioner Baynes was asked what advice he had for kids in the YPC group. He said to be thankful for our education, we'll use it the rest of our lives. Learning about Jesus, and learning in school, will benefit us greatly. We had a lot of fun having Commissioner Baynes visit, and really enjoyed talking to him!"