Marvin: 10 Years Later

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I first met Marvin about 10 years ago on a gray fall Saturday afternoon.  He was a slender, sensitive boy who had a tendency to be hard on himself.  I vividly remember Marvin sitting on his bed in his letter jacket, teary eyed, while I tried to assure him that things would be okay.

As time went by, the staff at the shelter found Marvin to have lots of energy and talents, and soon became on of our favorites.  He loved sports activities and was very ambitious when it came time to do his chores.  I also recall him him helping us hook up the shelter video equipment and one Sunday morning he helped me fix a clogged drain in the kitchen.  Actually, he fixed it and I handed him the tools.

Marvin stayed with us for several weeks the first time and later came back to the shelter for another stay before spending some time in Marshalltown.  We heard he was doing well there and that was the last news I heard about him.

MarvinA couple of months ago, as I walking into a local Walmart, a tall muscular young man stopped me and said, “I’ll bet you don’t remember me, do you?”  I have to admit that I didn’t recognize him at first, but when he told me his name was Marvin and I took a second look, the memories came flooding back.  He was now a grown man in his 20’s.  He proudly told me he had a good job and that he was married and had a young child.

We talked for a few minutes as we walked into the store.  Then, in Marvin’s typical self effacing manner, he told me that he didn’t want to hold me up and should probably get going.  I told him that I was so glad that he’d stopped me, and watched him walk away with some sadness, thinking that I might not see him again.  But there was also a good feeling, knowing that our shelter had helped a young boy during a tough time in his life and he remembered me.  I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

By former Quakerdale staff member


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Peter: “I should have died”

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Peter was a rebellious child, rarely showing up for his high school classes and running around with a dangerous crowd.  Peter’s circumstances contributed to his rough lifestyle; every day he came home hoping to feel love and acceptance, but found something very different.

Parents are supposed to love and care for their children, but Peter’s parents weren’t able to do that.  Peter lived in a house full of drug addiction and abuse. After years of abuse at the hands of his parents, Peter stole a lot of money and tried to run away from his problems.

“I should have died,” Peter says now, “but I think God was watching over me the whole time.”

PeterAfter stealing the money, Peter was sent to a juvenile detention center, where he was incarcerated for several months.  Peter was moved from home to home until he came to Quakerdale to receive therapy and work through his past.

Peter has worked through his memories of abuse and neglect, and is learning how to make constructive decisions. At Quakerdale he learned the skills needed to live on his own. He has a job, attends school regularly and feels hopeful for his future.

“Without Quakerdale, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

Serving kids like Peter is not just something nice that we do – it’s absolutely necessary.  Not every child has been given the love and support they need to become happy and productive adults, but every child deserves the opportunity to do so.

That is what Quakerdale is about.  We meet kids’ needs and provide them with the environment to make life changes that will benefit them and their futures.


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Mobile Camp Changes Lives

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Mobile CampTo the Mobile Camp Staff:

I wanted to send you a note to update you on what has happened here at Realife Church since our Mobile Camp experience in July.

We have followed up with all of the kids that attended camp through cards and notes. Before Mobile Camp, even though we tried through many different outreach efforts, we were totally ineffective reaching the kids in our community. Your staff came to our community and talked to people, handed out flyers and turned up the excitement. We had more than FORTY KIDS here each day during camp and they cried on Friday when it came to an end.

Since that time we have started a youth ministry on Wednesday nights for kids from kindergarten through eighth grade. We have more than twenty kids showing up; many of them were part of Mobile Camp. The Mobile Camp experience has given us an opportunity to connect with kids, an opportunity that was just not available to us before. The Mobile Camp staff broke the ice with these kids and we are continuing to build relationships.

All of these kids are extremely disadvantaged for many different reasons; it is amazing to watch Hope come into their lives. We are teaching them to respect self and others, the importance of rules and why we follow them, what it means to care for others before our self and of course we teach about Jesus. We are making a difference in these kids’ lives, because you first stepped up and made a difference!

Thank you to everyone at Quakerdale and the Mobile Camp Team

May God Bless everything that you do!

-Pastor Dean Feltes, Real Life Church, Waterloo Iowa 2011


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Teresa: “How Quakerdale Changed My Life”

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As a teenager I worked at Quakerdale cooking for 25 boys.  My supervisor was Morris “Bud” Whitehead.  We taught young men about setting the table, food preparation and cleaning.  Our job involved listening to their stories, sharing our faith and showing them a new way through the love of Jesus.

At the end of summer, after my senior year in high school, I was faced with college choices and made the decision to work at Quakerdale one more year.

And then, I was fired…

Mr. Whitehead terminated me to get me to go to college.  He promised I would have a job as a nurse or social worker.  Within two weeks I was moving to southern Indiana to attend college in the nursing program at Vincennes University.  There, I met my husband and my life was changed forever.

Part of Quakerdale has always been with me…

I have been able to see those in need as real people that God loves just as much as He loves me.  Jesus tells us to love others as we have been loved.  This does not mean we can fix all the problems and social issues, but we can love.

I live in rural Indiana, where poverty seems to be causing numerous issues and families are not strong.  Fourteen days before Christmas, God let me see a miracle.

The Miracle

I have been mentoring a young woman in our community who was deep into drugs, sin and self destruction.  She found Jesus in our friendship and He began the work of changing her life.

She lost custody of her children, her family gave up on her, but Jesus kept loving her.

She was in prison in Florida and looking at a long stretch of time in a women’s penitentiary if a miracle didn’t happen. Her stepdad, children, and my husband and I prayed for her and our prayers were answered.  JudgeHer father drove 1,000 miles and pleaded before the court for his daughter’s release into a Christian rehabilitation program.  The court approved his request and she was released into her father’s custody.

Rehab was not easy.  She studied God’s word and wore out two Bibles.  She received a second chance and regained custody of her children; she got a job, a house, and a hope.

We prayed, she studied and one day she opened up to me and said she wanted a real family, a husband and maybe a baby.  She found a strong, sweet husband who has loved her and provided direction for her teenage children. And this year, at the age of 40, she delivered a son.  As I held the baby, I watched her father shed tears of joy.

In the eyes of the world this was an impossible recovery, but with God all things are possible.

Look for the the miracles in your life, walk with Jesus, do what you are led to do and see what God can do with the most unlikely situation.

If I had not had a history of seeing Jesus change the lives of the unlovable young men at Quakerdale, I would have never taken the risk to love this young woman.

I know Quakerdale did not directly touch the lives of this family, but because Quakerdale changed me God was able to use me in this situation.

By Teresa Miller


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