I’m actually super thankful that I get to write to you for the second week in a row. This is an opportunity to follow up what I learned with what I’m going to miss. As of Monday February 13, I put in my two weeks notice with Hosea Youth Services to end my time as a staff person. Like I mentioned in the last staff meeting, whether in deed or in heart, I will remain part of this team.

My time over the last 9 months on staff and year knowing this group has been an experience I will be forever grateful for. There’s nothing like perspective that can actually change the way you act, feel, think, and ultimately know. Being with these kids in that basement, it changes you. There’s nothing like watching people in such a circumstance celebrate, like witnessing them suffer, like hearing people speak with such authenticity. You can’t even believe what you hear coming down into that basement, and into their world, until you can. There’s really nothing like this group in terms of receiving people. My life is so different from theirs, and they’ve always had every reason to reject me, but never have. I’ve got to see some of the highest highs, like Jacob share how far he’s come in his life to our volunteers at Appreciation Night. And I’ve seen the lowest of lows like drug addiction, freezing cold, and even death.

I can’t believe God chose me to be a part of such an amazing organization, even if it was just for a season. I got to do some real life ministry with some of my best friends. Tauna, you are freaking amazing, and built the trust and equity that allows us to step into this safely. Karri, you have set the standard for excellence in organization, care, and unselfish love, and I know how much you miss these kids. JJ, it’s been so cool to walk with you through the seasons, and see you grow as a human in such a short time. Mentors, I love you, Interns I love you, my youth friends, with tears in my eyes I say I freaking love you guys so much. Thanks for letting me step into your world. You’ve sent me soul searching questions, you’ve taught me how to love deeper, and you’ve changed me for the better.

This is definitely not goodbye, but see you soon. Jesus loves you all so much, and I won’t forget how He loved me with his gift of you guys. No matter how exhausted I was, how split my mind was, how wet and cold it was, JESUS showed up every day. I love you all.

Your friend,

Zach Leiken, Drop-In Center Staff

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