The Numbers Only Tell Part of the Story

by DanWolgemuth on June 14, 2024

It was 1944 when a fledgling group of young leaders with a Kingdom-sized vision began to coalesce around an idea. A mission. A dream.

Eighty years ago, Youth For Christ was born, launched, and propelled into action. Within a few years, the mission had spread throughout the globe.

In the small Canadian community of Brantford, a local leader by the name of Evon Hedley managed an expanding ministry footprint by hiring a local administrative support staff person. He needed competency, commitment, and missional vibrancy. He got it.

On March 1, 1954, Evon hired June Thompson. June was three months away from her twentieth birthday and was ready to embrace the challenges in front of her.

In just over three years, Evon had been asked to expand his leadership reach by joining the global staff of Youth For Christ in Wheaton, Illinois. He accepted, but only after offering June Thompson a whopping $3,699 annually to stay at his side.

She accepted.

June served the mission in a full-time capacity for 66 years, before moving into a part-time role in 2020, where she served for two years. After 2022, June served an additional two years in a volunteer capacity.

The math preaches. A total of 70 years with Youth For Christ. Over 87% of the missional history of YFC directly connected to June Thompson. It’s a staggering statistic, but far more, it’s an inspiring story of what one life can mean to an organization.

June Thompson was the first face I saw when I walked into my office in early April of 2005. She welcomed me. She supported me. She encouraged me. And yes, there were days that I needed her prayers and wisdom more than I can possibly communicate.

She was there. Always.

If I was in the office, she was in the office.

If I was at an airport on the east coast trying to navigate flight cancellations and rental car mishaps, she was there. At all hours. At any hour.

If I needed a hotel room on the spur of the moment, she was there.

But her executive support skills only told a fraction of the story. Her passion to see the mission advance was her guiding light. She wanted young people to experience what she knew and lived. That is a profound and life-changing relationship with Jesus. And because of that, she wanted to make sure that nothing stood in our way. Nothing.

Of the first nine Presidents and one Interim President of YFC, June supported six of us. Six!

Always with grace and dignity. Always with warmth and honor.

Today, June 14th, 2024, June Thompson turns 90 years old. For years she cloaked her age. But no more. Like rings on a giant sequoia, June has earned the accolades she is now receiving. Through thick and thin. Through forest fires and drought. Through uncertainty and chaos.


Ever confident. Always understated. Forever professional. Eternally driven.

87% of our YFC history has her fingerprints.

And because of that… thousands of young people who will never know her name, know her King.
Happy Birthday, my friend.

We love you.

P.S. – It isn’t just her age that she is prepared to disclose to the world. It’s her name as well. On one occasion, I asked June what her middle name was? She looked at me without a blink and said, “June”. A few moments later I asked what her first name was, and she declined my invitation, by only teasing me with the initial. “O”. That’s right… O.J.T.

So, on the occasion of her 90th birthday, with her permission, we celebrate our friend, our mentor, our companion and guide… Orla June Thompson.

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