Written by Stanley Hill in 1995
We appreciate the opportunity to share with our listeners a little about the ministry of Your Story Hour. Among the questions asked about YSH, the one most frequently heard is, "How did the program get started?" Really, this children's ministry was initiated by God rather than by man or church.
Back in the middle or late 40's, more and more people were talking about the rapid growth of juvenile delinquency . One weekend, there were four couples of us who had come together for a dinner. The subject of the children's needs came up for discussion.
Our hostess, Genevieve Clymer, suggested perhaps it would be a good idea if we would band together and conduct a Saturday afternoon story hour. Shortly thereafter, we secured the use of the town hall located above the fire department in the small village of Eau Claire, Michigan.
Every Saturday afternoon, come rain or shine, a gang of neighborhood kids came clambering up the stairs. Why? To hear exciting stories from the Bible and from true-to-life situations... The kids had never heard those wonderful stories from the Bible about David, Daniel, Joseph and many others.
The community liked what we were doing and told us so, and we began praying that a way could be found to organize many other story hours around the country. It was some months later that I had the opportunity of sharing our experience with H. M. S. Richards, a radio evangelist. As I finished he turned to me and said, "We ought to have a radio program for children. For years I've been trying to get such a program started, but I have never been able to get anything done. It's a field that is wide open, and we ought to be doing something about it."
Now it never occured to any of us that we should even think about such a project. However, when I reported what the evangelist had said, Jay Clymer, our director, spoke up. "I think we ought to adapt what we have for radio." We all laughed at his suggestion, supposing that he wasn't serious. However, sometime later, Jay contacted a local radio station and talked with the station manager who was enthusiastic. "If you folks can adapt what you have for radio," he said, "I'll give you a half-hour of free broadcast time on a weekly basis for one year..."
There were no cheers when we got that report. "How do you think we could produce a radio program?" I spoke up. But my missionary friend, Clymer, couldn't be dissuaded. His eyes were on the far off stars. I finally went to his wife, Genevieve and endeavored to prove to her that it just wouldn't work.
We would only make a spectacle of ourselves. We were doomed to fail. She said nothing but asked me to step into the library. She pointed to a small card tacked to the wall and suggested I read it. The following are the words I read. "You need not go to the ends of the earth for wisdom for God is near. It is not the capabilities you now possess, or ever will have, that will give you success. It is that which the Lord can do for you. We need to have far less confidence in what man can do, and far more confidence in what God can do for every believing soul. He longs to have you reach after Him by faith. He longs to have you expect great things from Him. He longs to give you understanding in temporal as well as in spiritual matters. He can sharpen the intellect. He can give tact and skill. Put your talents into work, ask God for wisdom, and it will be given to you." -C.O.L."
Well, those words ended the argument, and we went to work. We practiced on the first script for the better part of three months, and then went on the air live. From then on, it was a challenge of writing and producing a program every week. After the first two or three programs, it was a real headache to find people who were willing to play the parts in the stories. We couldn't pay them, and being rank amateurs, I can tell you it was only by the grace of God that we stayed on the air... Nevertheless, we doggedly persisted. We prayed, we worked, and we prayed some more. It was not many weeks until a second station took the program, then a third, and a fourth...
Near the end of the third year, the script writer and I were nearly exhausted. (Both of us still held full-time positions elsewhere.) The board suggested that he and I go full-time on a salary of $50 a week. One problem remained, however. The board didn't say where the $50 a week would be coming from!
But God has never let us down. From that small beginning and under His blessing, the program has expanded to hundreds of stations around the world. And the challenge of keeping pace with new opportunities to communicate the gospel message to boys and girls and their families is ever before us.