In It With Kids!

Deonise

Deonise is from Haiti and, as a Young Life committee person, I’ve had the awesome privilege of mentoring this young lady for nearly four years. She’s now in college and studying to be a counselor. Thank you, Young Life, for bringing us together through the love of Jesus and blessing me with our friendship.
— Denise Crockett, committee, Seaford, Delaware





Joey

In December, Joey’s basketball team had their last practice before his team’s first game. As a senior, it would mean the world for him to play in the first game of the season since he’s never been able to play in a varsity game. Missing this practice would mean giving up that opportunity.

While working to become a better player, Joey also decided to be a better disciple of Jesus. He wanted to share his experience of spiritual renewal with the other 40 kids going to weekend camp. Going to camp meant missing the first game of the season. I told Joey I understood if he couldn’t make camp as I didn’t want him to miss the first game.

His reply was, “I have friends going on this trip who I want to meet Jesus and that’s more important than basketball. I’ll play the bench for that.”

This sacrifice was the inspiration for the entire trip. His friends at camp had a great time and back home he had teammates wondering why he made that decision. Joey’s just one example of the 500 adolescent disciples we’re looking to make in Central Harlem.

— B. Gregory Moore, area director, Central Harlem, New York City

Bekah

There aren’t many rooms I enter where I’m greeted as warmly as the middle school cafeteria. Literally the second I step foot through the door, there’s an eruption of, “Bekah! Bekah, come sit at my table!” A few kids beeline straight to me and give me a hug. It’s a privilege to be trusted and invited to sit with kids and share a meal. I always leave with the thought, “I can’t believe I get to do this!”

Then there are places I wish I didn’t have to walk into. This is also a privilege, but it’s harder. And if I’m honest, I enter with fear, wishing there was any other way. How do you walk into places where kids desperately want you, but don’t know how to let you in; where they want to push you away but desperately desire someone brave enough to enter their mess?

How do you walk into loneliness, depression, divorce, extreme shyness, anxiety? How do you walk into the confusion of sexual identity issues? I’m coming to realize you just trust, put one foot in front of the other and keep showing up. Jesus invited people to follow Him. He didn’t tell them where they were going, what they’d be asked to do, or what the cost or reward would be. So, where would Jesus be, and are you willing to say “Yes” to that call?”

— Bekah Siau, Young Life Military, West Point, New York

Laura

We took Laura and her son to Carolina Point last summer. She’d been raised by two older brothers, who are not too much older than her. They’ve both been involved with gangs. When I asked if she thought her mother loved her, she said, “She gives me money.” She’s never heard much about Jesus. At camp she absorbed everything like a sponge and accepted Jesus as her Savior.

We found out she had no birthday celebration — no cake, party, cards or gifts. When we asked about Christmas she said they had no decorations. We bought her lots of fun Christmas things and decorations. At the YoungLives Christmas party the girls received many gifts, as well as gifts for their children.

One leader messaged her on Facebook to tell her how much we loved her.

She replied, “That message brought me to tears!!! Thank y’all so much for letting me and Julian join YoungLives. It’s changed me so much. I’m happier and more outgoing. And I have so much support for y’all. I thank God He has brought each and every single one of y’all! I love y’all so much.”

— Cathy Richardson, volunteer YoungLives coordinator, Spartanburg, South Carolina

Priyanka and Suman

Suman and Priyanka are best friends from childhood. Two years ago their families had a huge fight and told them not to talk to each other. Suman came to club, but Priyanka stopped coming because her family told her not to hang out with Suman.

Months passed by ... Suman started growing in her walk with Jesus. She understood the value of relationship and the love and friendship of Christ which has forgiveness, chances, joy, peace and much more.

So Suman prayed and on January 1 she finally broke her silence and wished Priyanka, “Happy New Year.” Both friends were so happy they started crying; seeing this, both families broke down and forgave each other.

Six days later, Priyanka showed up to club with Suman. It was precious to see so much joy in their faces. Suman thanked God and believes Jesus is the true God who hears our prayers and answers each one beautifully.

— Mona Bagdas, staff, Siliguri, India

Myron

It was 11 p.m. at the prom I was chaperoning for the high school where I’m a Young Life leader. The dance floor was packed and the music at full volume. Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder and a 12th-grade boy I barely knew said to me, “Myron, I’ve been coming to Young Life and wanted to ask you to pray for me that Jesus would come into my life and change my heart.” The Lord never ceases to amaze me with how He draws young people to Himself and allows us the privilege and joy to participate in that process.

— Myron Salisian, volunteer leader, Pasadena, California