Lori Conley’s heart and compassion for the youth she first served as a children’s minister in Bethel, OH is what ultimately led to the founding of Empower Youth, where she first held the role of Executive Director. She served alongside her husband, Scott, with her whole heart, soul, mind, and pocketbook to see lives changed. Her job, beyond raising funds for the programs in operation, was to begin raising funds for an administrative budget that would allow her and Scott to both serve full time. The work of Empower Youth was growing so rapidly that it truly took 180% of Lori and all the time Scott had when he wasn’t working his 12 hour days to make the program successful. They gave their all and leveraged every resource at their disposal in the fight against Appalachian poverty, to give students a helping hand in a life that wasn’t going to.
Of course, there is heartache and great joy in the work of Empower Youth. And the greatest heartache came when Lori’s work ended and her rest began in July of 2019, after a roller coaster battle with cancer. Still, joy shined through as her legacy was shared by so many through social media posts, an incredible Lori-sized celebration service, and a local news interview. There is heartache that the dream of this power couple serving together full time, living on EY Ranch, will not be realized. But there is joy that this endeavor has always been much bigger than that couple’s dream, and the bigger dream continues to accelerate each day!
Not all of the little whims that come with ministry are necessarily front page news, but still they provide great insight to the work of Scott and Lori, and their heart for others. This little blog is dedicated to the snapshot of day to day thoughts, obstacles, victories… and little things that found a stubborn place in Lori’s heart.