From “Too Cool for Club” to Starting a New Area

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Alex Vasquez was a kid I barely knew during high school. He was on the fringe of the students I spent time with, and we maybe had a few conversations. I remember that he was wrestling with the different faith backgrounds of his parents. It wasn’t until he attended Work Week in college that he finally met Jesus in a real way. After his second Work Week, he left on fire for the Lord. Alex went from the student who barely attended Young Life, to a recently hired Young Life staff associate responsible for starting a new area in Sioux Center, Iowa. I am privileged to tell his story as he is a perfect example of the ongoing, lifelong work of this ministry! 

What was your relationship with Jesus like in high school? 

Both my parents raised me to believe in Jesus Christ ever since I could ever remember, but I never really found a denomination or church to get plugged into. My dad's side of the family are Mormons and my mom's side are Catholics. So, you can imagine that there was a great deal of confusion growing up. It wasn’t until college that I gained a better understanding of what it truly means to be a follower of Je
sus and have an intimate relationship with Him. 
Did you attend Young Life in high school? 
I went to high school in Carrollton, Texas, and was the kid who was "too cool" for Young Life. I avoided club, didn't go to camp, and participated only when my friends would go or when there was food. I finally started to come around a little more during my senior year, but still decided not to go to camp. I probably went t
o club once a month my senior year. 



What shifted in your thinking about Young Life and Jesus? 
In 2015, I attended College Work Week, which changed my life. I was convinced to go by my best friend, and my camp fee was covered. I remember being told in high school that “camp is the best week of your life” and thought Work Week must be the same. The experiences were completely different, but even though I ended the week physically drained, something shifted in my heart and I felt spiritually filled. I loved the idea of working to give other kids "the best week of their lives." For the three years, I attended Work 
Week annually. It was one of the only places I felt the presence of Jesus. 

What inspired you to start Young Life in Iowa? 
The idea of starting up a club in a county with little knowledge of Young Life began as a joke. I asked a few friends, “What if we started a Young Life club here?" Word around my college spread and people started to encourage me to make the dream a reality. I then found out that at my college of 1,400 students, 60 students had Young Life backgrounds. I recruited a committee and a group of leaders, and we took off running. Our regional director, Dave Goy, contacted me and asked me three questions that I still remember today. "Who are you? What are you doing? Do you know there is a process to this?" That was the beginning of our friendship. Dave trained me, taught me the process, and we continued the journey of starting a new Young Life area. 

What is your current role with Young Life? 
Aft
er college, I had several job offers. My regional director encouraged me to considering joining Young Life staff, which was honestly not at the top of my list of options. However, I decided to interview and remember feeling excited, anxious and unsure of what to expect. Despite a six-hour drive, my car breaking down, and a long, extensive interview, I left the interview feeling very encouraged. I knew I was being called by the Lord to join Young Life staff. Now, I’ve just been hired as a full-time staff associate for our new Sioux County Young Life area. We have a committee comprised of 12 adults and a team of about 10 college volunteer leaders. Our goal is to officially start ministry on August 1, 2018, and I am in the process of fundraising. 

The Young Life Office of Alumni and Friends loves to hear stories like Alex’s, which remind us that there is no standard journey. There are countless stories of Jesus’ constant pursuit, and He is using Young Life alumni in powerful ways to impact the lives of kids around the world. If you have a Young Life story you’d like to share, we would love to hear it! Email us at alumni@sc.younglife.org.