“Chief” Joseph Madu

October 1, 1961 – October 22, 2017

By Steve Larmey

Joseph Madu, our area director in Lagos, Nigeria, died due to illness just weeks after his 56th birthday. The Young Life Africa team affectionately called him Chief Joseph, or “Chief.”

Madu and his family moved from their home in Nigeria to Senegal in 2007 after having a dream in which God told them to go as missionaries to Senegal. He began our Young Life work in Senegal at the end of 2008 and was there until 2015, when his family was called back to their native Nigeria to help us begin Young Life there.

Here is some of the fruit of his service with Young Life these nine years:
  • ​He founded Young Life in Senegal and Nigeria.
  • In nine years in Senegal over 27,000 kids (over 90 percent Muslim) have been reached by a Young Life leader; 30 ministries have started; more than 110 leaders have been trained and deployed to reach kids; over 5,000 kids have gone to camp (again over 90 percent Muslim); more than 2,000 kids have publicly confessed Jesus and over 600 have been involved in regular discipleship.
  • In two years in Nigeria, over 9,000 kids have been reached; seven clubs have started; 32 leaders have been recruited, trained and deployed; 219 kids have gone to camp; 135 kids have decided to follow Jesus; and 93 are being discipled regularly.
What an impact.

18-Spring-Passages-Salisian.jpgMyron Salisian

October 13, 1944 – September 1, 2017

By Donna Hatasaki

In March 2017, Young Life President Newt Crenshaw wrote a letter to supporters about 72-year-old Myron Salisian from Pasadena, California. Crenshaw said, “If there were a Young Life leader hall of fame, Myron would be inducted. At his ceremony, Myron would be surrounded by a sea of men and women, on their feet applauding this gentle Armenian attorney who showed them Jesus and His love.” Crenshaw’s tribute was a timely prologue for a celebration soon to come.

On September 1, Salisian stepped from the side of his beloved wife, Gale, into the unveiled presence of Jesus and the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before us. It was a short step for a man who lived each day in single-minded devotion to the Savior and dedicated almost 50 years to introducing kids to Jesus Christ through Young Life.

A 2010 Relationships article, “A Man for All Seasons,” reflected the secret of Salisian’s endurance. “I show up at the school and something special happens,” he said. “I have so many people praying for Pasadena High School. It’s like the Holy Spirit has preceded me when I arrive.”

Salisian took his last group of kids from PHS to camp in 2016 before he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. As word spread of his diagnosis, club “kids” from every decade began making the pilgrimage back to Pasadena to honor the faithful man God used to change their lives. His impact was perhaps best captured in a post on the PHS Facebook page the day after his passing: “Myron Salisian was one of the most loving and caring individuals we’ve ever known. Rest in paradise, Myron.” The tribute was signed: #BULLDOGFORLIFE

18-Spring-Passages-Yinger.jpgWilliam “Bill” Yinger Sr.

October 23, 1926 – October 30, 2017

By Jeff Chesemore

Surrounded by his family in Fort Worth, Texas, Bill Yinger passed into the arms of his beloved Savior. For decades, he and his wife, Joan, were dear friends and faithful supporters of the mission of Young Life.

For 35 years, 1962-1997, Yinger served on the Young Life Board of Trustees. Over this time he worked alongside each of the first five presidents, Jim Rayburn, Bill Starr, Bob Mitchell, Doug Burleigh and Denny Rydberg. He was an integral part of hiring every president from Starr to Rydberg.

He was appointed board chairman twice (1973-1975; 1984-1987), and elected Trustee Emeritus in 1999.

A true leader, Yinger helped guide numerous Christian, educational, business and civic organizations.

18-Spring-Passages-Kayamba.jpgTekson Kayamba

September 6, 1986 – January 27, 2018

By Steve Larmey

Tekson Kayamba, our area director in Baraka, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), died in January of liver failure. All indications are he was poisoned, a common practice in that area. He was 31 years old and leaves behind his wife, Nyota, who is pregnant with their first child.

Kayamba was part of the first Young Life club in DRC, went to the very first camp and decided to follow Jesus. He was in Benga Msoshi’s very first Campaigner group and quickly became a faithful and courageous volunteer leader with Msoshi. Later, because of the insecurity and bad economy, Kayamba went back to Baraka in his home region. There he began Young Life. Today there are five clubs in Baraka averaging over 600 kids per week. Kayamba also began our ministry in the Lusenda Refugee camp not far from Baraka. He had just come on Young Life staff in late 2017.

Msoshi and Mathou Ngwanzi, current DRC regional director, describe Kayamba as generous and joyful. “He was faithful and brave,” Ngwanzi said of him. “If he said he would do something he would always do it. And he was not afraid to do what needed to be done.”

“He always had a smile and though he had so little he always was first to give whatever he had,” Msoshi recalls.

18-Spring-Passages-Shipley.jpgLinwood Parks Shipley Jr.

August 2, 1931 – August 1, 2017

By Jeff Chesemore

A great advocate of the mission, Parks Shipley has gone to be with his Savior after a courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease.

Shipley enjoyed a highly successful career in banking, and in the mid-1980s he and his wife, Micheline, became faithful advocates and supporters of Young Life. They started a committee in Summit, New Jersey, and helped develop the work in northern New Jersey. They also played a great part in helping establish Young Life in Newark.

Shipley served on Young Life’s Board of Trustees from 1992-1996, a critical time in our mission’s history, as the board brought on our fifth (and longest-serving) president, Denny Rydberg.

In 1998, the Shipleys moved south to St. Michaels, Maryland, where they helped begin Young Life in the nearby town of Easton, Maryland.