Doris and the Youth Program

“We keep the best of that which we give away.” Anon

A while ago I found Doris in her “craft office” sorting through stuff from days gone by. I noticed scarves that were similar to what is used here by the Scouts. The scarves were part of the Christian Youth Crusaders—known as CJC youth program she led in Brazil. In this case they were being thrown away but curiosity won and I picked them up. Those keepsakes from 60 years ago had to go, yet to do so seem to destroy memories. Those scarves, so full of nostalgia, told stories of Doris’ work. The scarves are gone; the program continues.

All over one scarf hearts were traced out with notes in them, written in Portuguese by CYCers. I’ll translate a few though they spelled her name differently. “Dorys I love you. The Lord is my shepherd and I will lack nothing. Debora.” “May God bless you and may it continue on that way. Linda, Simpatica and Graciosas.” Then there is a similar one repeated a number of times, “Dorys, many thanks for bringing CYC to the church in Brazil. Cida Farias.”

            Signatures of a number of local directors on scarves tell of Doris’ training the first leaders. Some names go back to that first CYC training camp that she organized. Those leaders then began the program in their local churches and from there it spread. (I wish I at least had a picture of those scarves.)

            Let me tell you how it began. When we moved into the city of São Paulo it was to the home that a missionary couple, the Ryckmans, had rented. There Doris discovered in her rummaging some of the North American CYC program that Evelyn had translated. Since Doris saw the need of a youth program she continued the translation with adaptations. Then she typed the program on A.B. Dick stencils, without ever having the advantage of a typing lesson—tedious work. She then ran them off on that copier. Work on one of those obstinate machines and gooey black ink means it was a messy job. At the same time she printed and sent churches a description of the program. Soon they began picking it up.Believe it not–Maria and Alzenir

            She started the first CYC in our Vila Galvão church, a church that began in a back yard then growing to a full-fledged building and congregation. The program attracted a good number of youth including Alzenir and Maria—they became leaders across the wider church.   The program spread and when we left another Doris, this time a Thompson, gave it leadership. Then in 2003 the CYC directors invited the Kenny lady to Brazil to be the guest speaker at convocation of CYC groups. They were celebrating their 60th anniversary; on that day groups came from across the area that included he huge city of São Paulo

Mementos given to Doris in Brazil when she spoke at the 50th. anniversary of the program.

            I sat in the congregation as children and youth from many groups repeated in exact unison their vows and scripture. What a thrill. When Doris rose to speak, she abandoned her notes in Portuguese and simply talked to the 800 present. To leave one’s notes in any language is difficult but she did a great job. I was surprised and proud of her at that moment—more than you can imagine.

A few years ago when I was leading a work team in São Paulo a child discovered my name. She came up and asked, “Are you a Kenny that is related to Doris? She is the lady who started CYC here in Brazil.” Apparently some know who Doris is, but have no idea who I am. That was a great source of pride for me.

Imagination could weave many a marvelous story of those who started out in a new direction in life because of CYC. I know a story told to me by a lady. It happened in a little church and might have been repeated many times in the youth clubs.

A little boy came to the church but would not leave the director’s side to be part of his class. But she had patience with him so over the years he gained confidence and later graduated from High School to join the army. When he had become a commissioned officer he returned to visit the lady who had been so kind. He told her of meeting his mother and a brother who lived in squalor. The mother had tried to make ends meet through prostitution. The church youth program had lifted him from that home and changed his life.

I don’t recall all the details of that story nor can I go back to get it straight from the lady I mentioned for she has gone on to her eternal reward. The day I hugged her for the last time it was not just for her kindnesses to us but her love to all the children whose lives she touched. No doubt those scarves being thrown out would have many such stories woven into their triangular folds.


One thought on “Doris and the Youth Program

  1. Sandra Mistro

    Wow! Dear Pastor Roy and beloved leader Doris Kenny!
    Greetings from Brazil in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ!

    Thank you so much for sharing these amazing and so real stories.
    I am so happy to remember that Vila Galvão church was the one in which God has started such a wonderful work in Brazil. I look at those pictures and I wonder who are those children ? And where are they? Do I know any of them? Probably, Yes! Happy to reading about that time …it is a real prove of those verses in I Corinthians 15:58 which reminds us that our work in the Lord is never in vain! Hallelujah!!!
    Blessings beloved brothers
    Sandra Mistro



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