Young Life Lite

Labor Day(s)

Young Life leaders take the Great Commission seriously. They go. They go to football fields, coffee shops, school musicals and cafeterias. And in North Dallas, Texas, two YoungLives leaders went further, going into labor with two of their teen moms. In November 2017, four women — two YoungLives leaders and two teen moms — went into labor and delivered four healthy baby boys in four consecutive days! Nearly two years after that unforgettable week, the four moms and their sons enjoy friendship, mom-to-mom and son-to-son, as they continue to go, delivering the good news to more teen moms who need the love of Jesus.

Ali Smith is the YoungLives coordinator in North Dallas and Haley Burgess is a licensed counselor for adolescents and YoungLives mentor in the same area. Teen moms Jasmine and Mimi were students at different high schools when they met at YoungLives. But long before that, Mimi and Jasmine had come to know Young Life through leaders who answered the call to “go.” Jasmine sat at a table in the Jefferson High School cafeteria, and leader Clark Taylor would say hello to her as he visited with the guys at her table. A year later when he learned Jasmine had a toddler son, he called Smith knowing that Jasmine could be supported with a gospel love even better through YoungLives.

About four miles away, Mimi was a freshman at Hillcrest High School known to a leader who understood that “go” sometimes entails “come” — come and stay with me until your life is more stable. When Mimi became pregnant this leader knew to call Smith, asking if Mimi might have the chance to attend YoungLives camp. (As these stories so often go, just one spot remained. Mimi went to camp.)

Through relationships formed at Young Life, these young mothers were walked into the arms of YoungLives, which offered a safe place of acceptance and support created especially for them and their children. Before long, the four expectant moms learned they could have their babies in the same month. Mimi and Smith discovered they shared the exact same due date. But Smith knew that sharing due dates is a far cry from sharing the same experience or expectations. “It’s not glamorous being a teen mom,” said Smith. “From a football field away you can see how hard life is for these girls. Over the past four years, 40% of the teenage mothers we’ve known have dropped out. For most of them, the reason is a lack of reliable childcare.”

Given those odds, it’s even more remarkable that Jasmine graduated from high school and holds down a demanding job. Mimi works full time at a local Walmart while pursuing certification in the direction of her goals. Both women lovingly co-parent with the fathers of their boys and both are active in YoungLives leadership — Jasmine in Bible studies and Mimi as a childcare worker, each extending to other young moms the gift they’d once received.

Almost two years after a four-day baby bonanza, after sharing due dates and pregnancy milestones, prenatal aches and ultrasounds, a birth experience and first birthday cakes, these four women now share something more: an authentic friendship. The kind of friendship that can last a lifetime because the God who commands us to go, very often makes our joy complete when we stay.