A World of Hope

Tyna was raised an atheist. Tuvshe withdrew from school so his brother could go. Baccus survived a violent civil war. Madelin supported her entire family while still a teenager.

These anecdotes aren’t typical of the teenagers described on these pages, but their stories are real, woven into the fabric of Young Life that now stretches across countries and cultures.

In most every case, Young Life played a part in leading the teens to Jesus. And today, the ministry of Developing Global Leaders serves as His hands and feet, giving each one a world of hope.

DGL Defined

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.”

Name: Tyna
Location: Ostrava, Czech Republic
Major: Non-Profit Management
Field of Study: Business
University: University of Ostrava

Tyna was born in Ostrava, Czech Republic, 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.”

Name: Tuvshe
Location: Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Major: Education
Field of Study: Social Science/Education
University: University of Education

Tuvshe’s parents work hard casting vision for Young Life in their city of Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, and they’ve taught their son how to dream big too.

In 2001, Tuvshe went to Mongolia’s Young Life camp for the first time. There, he accepted Christ as his Savior. Three years later, Tuvshe served as program director at camp. Tuvshe’s camp experiences inspired him to dedicate his life to kids.

In 2009 Tuvshe started college, but had to drop out because there wasn’t enough money to pay for him and his brother to attend. Then he heard about Developing Global Leaders.

“Being part of Young Life’s DGL program is fulfilling my desire and dream to serve kids, showing them God’s love,” Tuvshe said.

Tuvshe runs two clubs while studying to be an English teacher. He hopes his faithfulness will multiply into blessings for others.

“Now I have two clubs; in five years I see [they] will grow and multiply more, until we have 10 clubs,” he said. “I focus on discipleship now. The result of it will be multiplication.

If God wants, I dream to work in another city to start Young Life there in the future.

Maybe it would happen after I first put a very strong foundation where I serve now.”

Name: Baccus
Location: Monrovia, Liberia
Major: Biology and Chemistry
Field of Study: Health Science
University: Stella Maris Polytechnic

Civil war has had devastating effects on Baccus’ hometown of Monrovia, Liberia. Through the ministry of Young Life and DGL, Baccus wants to have a different kind of impact on the people in his city.

“I wanted to be part of Young Life’s DGL program so that I can … positively impact a generation of lost kids for Jesus,” he explained. “I see myself being able to impact my community and my country with my college education, but most of all … I want to see the lives of young people being transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Baccus is one of eight children raised in a Christian home. His faith became personal in 2004 when he started attending Young Life club. He was part of the first Young Life camp in Liberia in 2007 and has been involved in leadership ever since.

The DGL community has been an encouragement to Baccus, and he looks forward to growing more through this ministry.

“Working with a team of people, praying, planning, and being with my mentor, Young Life leaders and kids are the most important things I have ever learned,” he said. “When I survived the Liberian Civil War, I knew it was for a purpose. I want to pursue my studies because it will enable me to serve God, my family, my community and country.”

Name: Madelin
Location: La Vega, Dominican Republic
Major: Nursing
Field of Study: Health Science
University: Universidad Nacional Pedro Henriquez Urena

Madelin is a nursing student in La Vega, Dominican Republic, and gets excited thinking about the day she can bring care and healing to people who need it.

In the meantime, Madelin offers balm for broken hearts and salve for lost souls through the love of Jesus Christ and the ministry of Young Life.

Madelin grew up going to church — her big brother, Jose, took her and her siblings every week. She became a Christian when she was 17 at her church, where she heard about Vida Joven (Young Life) for the first time.

When her brother died suddenly, Madelin became the breadwinner for her family, rising at 6 a.m. to walk three miles to school and after, going to work. But nearly every evening, Madelin would find time to fill one more role: volunteering for Young Life.

Today, Madelin is a student with DGL and loves that she can pursue both her passions at once.

“Through this program I have the opportunity to grow spiritually, to be educated and be prepared as a leader,” she said. “I see myself making an impact in the lives of many people, not just giving medical care as a nurse, but I also want to continue to impact people’s lives with my testimony and preaching the Gospel of Christ.”

Get Involved

At the crossroad of the world, Young Life has seen character and need intersect. Here, students, impoverished only
materially, are equipped to make an impact through DGL, which helps transform mere potential into powerful reality.

And with the click of a mouse, you can help.

Chad Edwards, director of DGL, says one of their biggest needs is people to invest in these future leaders.

“More than half of the 190 students in the program need more sponsors,” he said. “Every student in the program could use a prayer partner as well. The encouragement a student feels when they are selected by a sponsor or a prayer partner is invaluable.”

Edwards believes the return on this investment is seen this side of heaven and beyond.

“The kind of leadership this program attracts is off the charts,” Edwards said. “We know these students. We have seen their gifts. We know their heart for ministry and their country. These are the kind of students you want to invest in and pray for. They are ministry game changers in many of the places where we serve.”

If you would like to know more about how to get involved with DGL by sponsoring a student with your financial or prayer support, visit ylgloballeaders.org or e-mail Chad Edwards.