A few years went by and God opened up another door for a Youth Center on the Lower West Side of Buffalo. It was located in the basement of a Catholic Church with a gym in an adjacent building. We served food, made music and played lots of basketball. The address was on 7th Street in an area the Buffalo News called “World War III” because of all the gang related shootings there.
The man watched young people die. He had his hand on the chest of a 14 yr. old boy as he took his final breath with a bullet in his head. Too many young people die too soon, thought the man. He began to ask God questions. “Time is short God; young people die before they get to know a Father’s love. How can I tell them about Your love with limited time? What can I say to them if I only have a short time? What should my last words to a dying boy be? What can I say to help folks think about You and help them to know Your love? How should I say goodbye when I may never see somebody again?””
Soon, the Holy Spirit gave the man His answer. The man began ending every farewell by saying; “Jesus loves you and so do I.” The words became part of the culture of young people in the neighborhoods of Buffalo. Most would smile and feel good about hearing they were loved. Once a young man said “Jesus don’t love me! I don’t believe in him!” The man smiled and responded, “That’s okay, Jesus believes in you and so do I!”
This story is almost complete, although it’s actually a “seed story.” It’s meant to grow a greater Love than we could conceive or imagine. God brought the man a wife whom he affectionately calls his “wifey4lifey!” The words of the man, his wife and countless others have been enlarged and multiplied to say; “Jesus loves you and so do we!”
In December of 2016 the man received a phone call and answer to prayer. He had been wanting wristbands for several years. The guy on the phone asked if he could use our slogan to make wristbands for a nun who worked in a shelter for folks in need on the East Side of Buffalo. Laughing, the man from YWAP said “Of course! We don’t own Jesus!” In January the two men met and the generous man offered to make wristbands for YWAP. Today, Jesus Wristbands have reached several cities in America and several countries around the world. Everyday God opens a greater opportunity for a few short words about His Son and His Love.
Sometimes short words can become an even shorter acronym. The letters (and hashtag) #JLYASDW have added a greater love through texting and social media. We hope you wear one and let us know if you have a need to let someone know: Jesus Loves You And So Do We!
Bob & Linda Kuebler, youthwithapurpose.org, 716-830-8240,
firstname.lastname@example.org #ywap4God #pray4ywap #JLYASDW