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“You saved my life,” Rachael said. “Not only once, but twice,” she continued.

When she felt like nobody cared and her dips in depression plunged out of control, Parachute Ministries was there for her.

Parachute Ministries in Anchorage, Alaska, recently opened a teen drop-in center that offers more than just games and resources.

They provide relationships through informal mentorships with caring staff, a safe social space for at-risk youth, and a vibrant community to belong to.

The sharing of lives and stories and the formation of relationships happens primarily through conversation, director Joel Kiekintveld said. He described the unofficial motto of Parachute Ministries as “Their story, our story, God’s story.”

Supported in part by a partnership with Christian Reformed Home Missions, this ministry is becoming a well-connected partner in Anchorage.

Despite the big things going on around the ministry, Kiekintveld knows that sometimes it is the smallest moments of faith that have the longest impact.

Rachael, whose last name is not being used, suffers from depression; at some points in her life, the severity of that depression became unbearable. Kiekintveld told Rachael to come to the drop-in center every day, and that he, as well as the rest of the staff, would always be there to check in on her.

So this is what Rachael continued to do. In return, Parachute Ministries continued to keep their promise of steady presence.

As time passed and Rachael was about to graduate from the teen program, she told Kiekintveld that she needed to speak with him. She told him that Parachute was, “the only place I could come where people weren’t trying to get me to use drugs.” It was her safe escape.

Through the work of Christian Reformed Home Missions, lives are transformed through the work of partner ministries and through the love and grace of Christ. Parachute Ministries demonstrates a great example for believing communities of what it means to invite others into belonging.

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