A World of Hope

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From the Spring 2011 issue of Relationships magazine.

Developing Global Leaders (DGL) began in 2009 and is the piece of Young Life’s Reaching a World of Kids initiative designed to identify, support and equip young adults to make an eternal impact in their home country.

Chad Edwards, director of DGL, explained: “Our main aim is to help alleviate the poverty of leadership in the developing world through Christ-centered leaders. We work with many students who could go to college, develop intellectually and make an impact for Christ, but because of their financial situation, they have limited opportunities.”

Young Life has 4,647 ministries in 72 countries around the world. DGL targets teenagers in developing countries who’ve graduated from high school, already volunteer with Young Life, and show the potential to lead and serve others well.

“DGL enables students to go to college in their own country,” Edwards said. “We equip them to stay there and further the cause of Christ through Young Life in their communities.”

Global Partnership

DGL hand-selects qualified students through each country’s local staff. Students submit to a thorough application process; those chosen for the program receive a monthly stipend that pays for tuition, books and some living expenses.

While in school, students volunteer with Young Life, meet regularly with a mentor and communicate via blog posts with their sponsors. Leader recruiting and training, and reporting on their progress in school and ministry are also part of the deal.

Currently, nearly 200 students participate in DGL; the program is designed to accommodate a total of 400 students. The hope is a high percentage of graduates either stay in Young Life ministry or enter the field of education and reach kids for Christ through the schools.

“What is strategic about the program is that we have the ability to pick the best of the best and really invest in them,” Edwards said. “and they are ready to make an impact wherever they are. That’s pretty exciting to think about.”

One of those students is Tyna. She lives in Ostrava, Czech Republic and is studying business and non-profit management at the University of Ostrova.

Tyna was born in Ostrava, and raised as an atheist. But even as a child, Tyna had a vague sense she was supposed to spend her life helping others.

When she was 16, some older Christian friends invited her to Tensing, a rock-gospel choir. Through Tensing and her friends, Tyna accepted Christ. She soon met Al and Stacy Anderson, who started Young Life in the Czech Republic. Tyna has also had the privilege of studying in the United States through Young Life’s Amicus program. This experience led her to return to be a Young Life leader in Ostrava.

After high school, Tyna started volunteering with Young Life. Today, she’s leading a club and Campaigner group. She’s built relationships with high school girls who are asking hard questions about Jesus. And her dream is to help begin Young Life in Israel or Palestine.

DGL has made all this possible.

“I was really excited (about DGL) because I love the ministry and loved the idea of being on staff,” she said. “DGL has helped me to continue with Young Life. Without the financial support, it would have been impossible. I can’t imagine life without being a part of Young Life."