A Personal Thank You and Request from Craig and Lynn Ann Bogard

Founders, Aslan Youth Ministries

Dear Friends

I begin by thanking all of you who have given to Aslan Youth Ministries over these many years. With your help, the lives of thousands of children and families have been changed forever – in this life and in the one to come.

Tim, one of our Right Choices teachers recently sent us the following text:

“Yesterday it was difficult to conduct class due to Kevin’s* behavior. He has been difficult to manage every Wednesday, but yesterday he was particularly disruptive, disorderly & beyond disrespectful. He would not remain in his seat; was breaking crayons & throwing them on the floor; ripped up his paper I gave him; was writing on the other boys’ papers; challenged me every chance he could; threatened to send his mother in to speak with me; repeatedly said he didn’t want to be there; didn’t care about losing his snack; was physically aggressive with the other boys and calling them names. His behavior continued into the hallway after class.”

I could substitute any number of other names for Kevin’s (that I’ve changed to protect his privacy). Every day we have class, we deal with problem children like Kevin. Aslan reaches many children that others cannot reach or don’t want to reach. I’ll never forget a young man named Terrence* from our Red Bank programs who walked out to the bus one day to inform me that he didn’t need Aslan anymore.

After graduation from high school, Terrence* joined the army – only to receive an undesirable discharge for fighting with his drill sergeant. Not long after he returned to our area, he was arrested for carrying a concealed weapon in his trunk. Terrence went on to spend 10 years incarcerated at Trenton State Prison, now NJ State Prison. While there, he came very close to dying from a massive heart attack. Aslan lost track of him, but one evening when Lynn Ann and I were at a local mall I heard someone calling out, “Craig, Craig” from across the way. When I looked around, I was astounded to see Terrence – with muscles on his muscles and a huge smile on his face. He grabbed me and swung me around like a rag doll, telling me how much he loved Aslan and Lynn Ann and me!

God’s love is constant, faithful and true, regardless of the dark paths people sometimes choose to go down. Terrence had finally realized that the only thing he couldn’t live without was God’s love. His bitterness and anger had been transformed into thankfulness.

There has never been a time when Aslan is needed more than it is needed right now! Every day God shows us how much He values the lives of the children we are privileged to serve. And every week God sends moms who literally stop our big, blue Aslan bus, as we’re rolling down the street, to enroll new children in our programs.

But Aslan is at a crossroads. We need many miracles in order to be able to continue to keep our doors open to these kids. All God needs is people who will love these young people unconditionally until they recognize how valuable they are in His eyes. We understand the economy is bad. We understand that the Covid virus affected our economy and destroyed the livelihood of a lot of people. And yes, there are lots of worthy causes out there asking for your donations.

Please remember this about Aslan.

  • We do not charge our children to come to our programs.
  • We depend 100% on donations to stay in existence.
  • We need a large number of donations this Thanksgiving.  

While many people are retired at our ages, 74 & 75, God has called us to continue to reach out to these little sheep without a shepherd. We’ve often been asked, “What has kept you guys going for almost 50 years?” My dad (a wonderful teacher himself) defined a great teacher as someone who can love someone else’s children. We love every child who comes to Aslan, because every child is worthy of our love and God’s love. The world is better because of Aslan.

You know we don’t send out constant appeals asking for your financial support. But we do ask for your prayers, and we do need your generous support. Without these two things, there may not be an Aslan Youth Ministries very much longer. When you look at the smiles of these children below at our recent summer day camp, please consider how tragic it would be if one day there were no Aslan. So, please remember us this Thanksgiving.  

With thankful hearts,

Craig & Lynn Ann

Print Friendly, PDF & Email