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A Life to Be Emulated: Vidy Metsker

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By Topher Philgreen

Vidy Metsker

Vidy Metsker – 1923-2021

We don’t know how we’ll leave this earth and pass from this life to the next. Will it be a car accident?  Cancer? Heart failure? Old age? But if I could choose how to die, I’d go like Vidy Metsker. First, live to be 97.  Second, just decide that “it’s time” to go see Jesus face-to-face. Third, knowing the end is near, get to see all your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in a personal way to intentionally say “goodbye” face-to-face or on video chat. Lay down in peace with your family around you singing hymns and then silently pass from this life to the next in painless sleep. That is the way Vidy Metsker finished her years on this earth.  
As the first-born grandson, I reflect on her life and the impact she had on so many people. I ask myself why?  Why did she have such a great impact? Why is she so loved and so admired by literally thousands of people?  Why did she live her life with such gusto right to the very end? Why is hers a life to be emulated? 
Vidy Metsker was one the most outward focused people I’ve ever known.
When Grandpa Al and Grandma Vidy would take all of their grandchildren on a special vacation, we were always waiting for her. She was constantly talking to a stranger on the street, sharing Jesus with a character at Disneyland, or helping someone connect to a local church at the gas station. She was constantly focused on others.
We are never more like Jesus than when we care for others. That’s what Jesus did. Whether he was feeding someone, healing someone, caring for the poor, forgiving someone of sin, or even while hanging on the cross, Jesus was the supreme outward focused example to all of us. Vidy was as well. Her example of always loving and serving others from her family, to the Youthfront staff, to new believers, to strangers, was modeled for all of us day in and day out. This outward focused life gave her meaning and a reason to live.  
As some reach the end of their “working years”, they give up and stop living. Not with Vidy. She never bought into the concept of retirement. Vidy had a reason to live and woke up every day with a to-do list. Each day she would write a note or text (yes, she texted at 97) her grandchildren or great-grandchildren a precious scripture that came to mind as she prayed for each one. It was this outward focused life that gave Grandma Vidy the drive and will to live life to the full. But she did not just live, she lived productively and with energy until she was 97 years old. 
Vidy’s outward focused lifestyle was passed to my mother, myself and was modeled to my children. I’m thankful that one of the last acts of service I was able to do for her was to build a ramp into the garage and a wind tunnel so she could get down the two steps and be face-to-face and “up-wind” to protect her frail body from COVID-19. This allowed her to say goodbye to her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and to watch her beloved Kansas City Chiefs with family. She even found out she would be a great-great-grandma as my son Cameron and his wife, Dani, surprised her with the news of their pregnancy just days before she passed.  
How we will leave this earth is unknown. How we live on this earth is known. Since meaning in life has proven to affect the physical body, is it any wonder that a person with meaning also lives productively to a very old age?  Life is too short to watch it drift by in meaninglessness. Nobody modeled this more than my Grandma Vidy.  
Youthfront continues the legacy of Vidy Metsker by giving kids a reason to live. By bringing youth into a growing relationship with Jesus Christ, they not only follow him, but follow in the way he lived his life while on earth – by serving others. Whether it’s at Camp, Teen Staff, Summer Staff, Something to Eat or Missional Journeys, Youthfront will continue to provide environments where students find meaning in their lives, hopefully setting the stage for a long, productive, and outward focused life.

Other submitted Vidy memories:

Vidy Metsker remains an inspiration in my life. She loved youth and lived a beautiful faith-filled life. I will long remember her love of the Lord and people, her smile and joy-filled perspective, and her unwavering conviction that “God Did It!” as she shared so beautifully in her book of her life journey by the same title. As I read her book, I was struck by her willingness to boldly step forward in faith to follow God’s leading and help create something new in the form of “youth ministry.” Stepping outside the box, Vidy walked faithfully alongside her husband Al to found Youthfront almost 80 years ago and through that dedication, commitment and willingness to innovate and change with the times, brought thousands of people and their families and communities into a closer walk with Jesus. I am confident Jesus welcomed her with open arms as he said, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
— Cheryl Reinhardt, Youthfront Board of Directors
As we live our lives we look for people who fully live for Christ, to see how they live and how they do it.  That is Vidy!  Everything in her life pointed people to Jesus.  Just a few moments with her and we were drawn into His love and grace – and a fullness of life that encouraged us and gave us the desire to know the Lord like she did.  Vidy’s life was lived to the full as Jesus said we could in John 10.  Her energy and enthusiasm were matchless.  She was naturally friendly, loving and could conquer tasks in daunting ways. 
In Christ all of these things about her were infused with His life and His light, and so the things she did for the glory of God in ministry to young people and their families are eternally enormous!  The Gospel was her love language.  It was her passion to see young people come to Christ and live for Him.  We were privileged to come alongside her in the creative, ambitious, faith-staked ways that she and Dr. Al pursued to present the Gospel.  In Matthew 5 Jesus says, “You are the light of the world.”  Vidy was a light – a bright light!  But never one who brought attention to herself.  When you were with Vidy, you were with Vidy and Jesus.  That light has not gone out.  Every life she loved for Jesus carries that light today.
— Tommy Thompson, Youthfront Staff
Vidy was an amazing lady of faith and courage.  She was faithful in loving her husband, others and God.  I remember watching her cook in the kitchen at camp and working right alongside everybody else.  She had a great smile.  Vidy had some amazing stories of her life with Al and the dreams and visions that she and Al shared together.  She had a very approachable personality and a contagious laugh.  It was such an inspiration to see her in her later years come and participate in various celebrations of the ministry.  You always knew where Vidy was because that was where the crowd was.  I am so thankful for being a part of their vision for almost 50 years.  What a life well lived!!! 
— Tammy Heslip, Youthfront Staff


Topher Philgreen is Executive Vice President / COO of Youthfront.
He has done full-time youth ministry in various roles from camp director, to youth pastor, to parent-as-youth-pastor for 34 years.
He and his wife, April, have four adult children with their first grandson on the way. Vidy Metsker was Topher’s grandmother.
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