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Articles on this Page
- 05/23/17--09:25: _Love God. Love others.
- 06/15/17--06:04: _Through a rough and...
- 07/20/17--03:32: _Youth for Christ CE...
- 08/02/17--09:47: _One simple word: ...
- 08/02/17--09:59: _Freedom in Christ
- 08/02/17--10:05: _From death to life!
- 08/02/17--10:10: _Born again in Christ!
- 08/02/17--10:13: _Northeast Ministry ...
- 08/02/17--10:15: _New found freedom
- 08/18/17--23:02: _What only God can do
- 08/21/17--23:41: _Allen County Fall 2...
- 08/22/17--08:12: _Huntington County F...
- 08/22/17--08:13: _Northeast Counties ...
- 08/22/17--08:13: _Wabash County Fall ...
- 08/22/17--23:45: _Whitley County Fall...
- 09/23/17--19:58: _The stones will cry...
- 09/30/17--20:39: _City Life continues...
- 12/05/17--07:24: _The difference is e...
- 01/10/18--12:35: _HIS LOVE DEFINES TH...
- 01/22/18--11:38: _What really matters
- 05/23/17--09:25: Love God. Love others.
- 06/15/17--06:04: Through a rough and questioning time, hope prevails!
- 07/20/17--03:32: Youth for Christ CEO celebrates 40 years with organization
- 08/02/17--09:47: One simple word: “Yes!”
- 08/02/17--09:59: Freedom in Christ
- 08/02/17--10:05: From death to life!
- 08/02/17--10:10: Born again in Christ!
- 08/02/17--10:13: Northeast Ministry Update
- 08/02/17--10:15: New found freedom
- 08/18/17--23:02: What only God can do
- 08/21/17--23:41: Allen County Fall 2017 Newsletter
- 08/22/17--08:12: Huntington County Fall 2017 Newsletter
- 08/22/17--08:13: Northeast Counties Fall 2017 Newsletter
- 08/22/17--08:13: Wabash County Fall 2017 Newsletter
- 08/22/17--23:45: Whitley County Fall 2017 Newsletter
- 09/23/17--19:58: The stones will cry out!
- 09/30/17--20:39: City Life continues to grow!
- 12/05/17--07:24: The difference is eternal
- 01/10/18--12:35: HIS LOVE DEFINES THE RELATIONSHIP
- 01/22/18--11:38: What really matters
When Campus Life started at East Noble almost 3 years ago, Alex was one of the first people to get involved. He came to club on Monday nights and before long he wanted more. A deeper step that we have with Campus Life is called Core Team. It’s focus is to equip students to reach out to their lost friends. This was exactly what Alex had been looking for.
Alex loves God and he loves his friends, but he had never entirely pieced together how he could bring his friends to know God. As Alex was discipled through Core Teams, I began to see a change. Alex went from a posture of telling people to go church, to a posture of loving his friends really well. In this shift, Alex began to do some incredible kingdom work.
Now Alex has a following of friends that go with him to church every Sunday. What’s even better is that he has a deep relationship with many of them and he is discipling them! He holds them accountable and goes out of his way to show them love. If you were to take a survey of those attending any Campus Life event, at least half would tell you they were there because Alex asked them.
Through sharing life with someone and then introducing them to God’s story, you make real connections. Our goal is to make lifelong followers of Jesus through these connections. Thanks to students like Alex, this tradition carries on the next generation.
East Noble Campus Life director
This school year has been an exciting one to say the least! Between the numerous recommitments and first time decisions for Jesus to journeying through some tough situations, God has done so much this school year at Churubusco High School.
One student, “Tom,” has been really struggling lately with as he put it “the cards he was dealt in life.” Tom is a freshman and this was his first year at Churubusco. As the school year has progressed and our relationship grew closer, I got to know Tom’s story.
Tom has grown up in whatever guy’s house his mom is dating at the time. He has moved from place to place his whole life. The only people who have really been consistent in his life, besides his mother, are his great grandparents. Recently, Tom called me and asked if we could talk.
We met at Magic Wand where he proceeded to tell me he just went through a breakup with his girlfriend, found out his great grandma has cancer, and the man his mom is dating (whose house they live in) just went to jail. As we talked Tom confessed that he is having trouble controlling his anger and has been taking it out on his girlfriend and his little siblings. This opened the door to talk to Tom about Jesus and the peace He can give. We also got to talk about healthy ways to let his emotions out, instead of bottling them up. During our time together, Tom had several questions about his faith and how someone can stay strong through the tough times in life. Tom accepted Christ in March at the Magic Wand at a similar meeting. After our meeting and talking through the situations life has brought him, we went to Amos’ (a volunteer for Campus Life) house to play games so Tom could be in a positive atmosphere that evening and feel loved.
Tom was going through a rough and questioning time, but because of your support he had caring adults in his life he could go to for help in navigating through this tough season. Thank you for your support!
Give Life to Your Story,
“I’m so fortunate because I get to sit on the front row seat every week and hear miracle stories of lives being changed,” Larry Lance, CEO, says. “Who wouldn’t want that job?”
It’s one of the reasons Larry fell in love with Youth for Christ, and why he has dedicated 40 years of his life to this organization.
“On my spiritual journey I remember being a lost teenager,” Lance says, “so I’ve always had a heart for those that don’t know the Lord.”
Larry first took his seat in the front row of those miracle stories in 1976, when he started with YFC as a part-time Campus Life director at Huntington North and Homestead High Schools.
Moving through a variety of roles, Larry became the executive director in the early 80’s. Under his leadership YFC expanded its reach by growing Campus Life programs, starting the Family Care Center (which provided family counseling) and the Primetime Center, now called City Life (which impacts teenagers in the urban community of Fort Wayne).
Former Primetime Director, and current senior pastor at New Covenant Worship Center, Luther Whitfield, believes YFC is strengthened as a whole by Larry’s ability to lead, build relationships, and invest into people.
“Larry loves building and speaking into the lives of people and coming alongside them,” Whitfield says. “I think that’s his unique gift, and, because of that unique gift, those strong, healthy relationships last. He wants to see people advance for the cause of Christ.”
That desire to see others advance led Larry to the YFC national office where he served as the vice president of field development for seven years, helping grow and develop chapters across the country.
Returning to Ft. Wayne in 2010, Larry is now spearheading the movement and mission of Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana (YFCNIN) as the chapter's CEO.
Through his leadership, YFCNIN has successfully expanded from its original four county reach to now encompassing 12 counties.
“We started out as little Fort Wayne Area Youth for Christ,” Judge Wendy Davis, Allen Superior Court judge and YFC board member of over 10 years, says, “and now we are Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana, and that was under Larry’s leadership.”
With an already strong Campus Life presence throughout the area, YFC recently chose to intentionally invest more time and resources into its City Life program. Viewed as a home away from home for over 100 young people everyday, its City Life ministry is designed to raise up indigenous leaders, educate, feed, and support the youth of Fort Wayne’s urban community.
By launching a new City Life campaign, titled “Life to Our City,” with Larry as a leading committee member, YFCNIN plans to expand into three new neighborhoods (zip code areas 46806, 46803, and 46805) as well as grow their current Juvenile Justice Ministry.
Judge Davis appreciates the dedication Larry has to keeping the ministry directed towards the ever-evolving needs of the youth.
“One of the things that is so exciting about Larry is as the issues with our youths have changed, he has allowed the organization to change with it, to adapt to those needs,” she says.
Constantly striving for growth, he pushes his team to be the best they can be. His steadfast leadership and dedication through the years is recognized by both his staff and members of the community.
“Simply put, Larry is one of the best leaders in this community, and we are all lucky to have him in our lives,” says Bill Kinder, vice president of Michael Kinder and Sons, Inc., and YFCNIN board member.
Throughout his 40 years with YFC, the organization has grown and changed as the times have changed, but his dedication to the mission has never wavered – to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus Christ.
The stage was set. Danny, our YFC Camp speaker, had just powerfully presented the Gospel to a room full of 330 middle school students and leaders. After he shared, everyone was released and encouraged to find a place to sit by themselves and reflect on what they had just heard. They were given a piece of paper and a pencil to write down a prayer or thoughts and questions they had about Danny’s message...
I took the opportunity to soak in the silence and pray for the students who were deep in prayer, busily scribbling their thoughts or just enjoying the quiet. When the silence ended, our cabin group discussed what they reflected on during that time. Every kid had something different to say, but each one of them wrestled with the goodness of Jesus’ love in a profound way.
Randy was the first to share. He pulled out his paper and it had one simple word on it. It said, “YES!”
That one word was Randy’s response to the Gospel. He said yes to Jesus! Earlier in the week, he told me about his tendency to make poor choices and his lack of desire to change that. But after his choice that night to follow Jesus, his heart had already begun changing. He committed to start making some changes in his decision-making process upon his return home.
Randy was one of 55 students who trusted Jesus that night! Please lift up your prayers for them as they take their first steps of faith.
Summit & Woodside Campus Life director
“When I lived on the east side of Chicago, my family and I were homeless for two months going from house to house, and, some days, we stayed at a park. Many of my family members were murdered through gun violence, and my dad is not even in my life. One day I was walking to school and a group of guys drove up alongside of me and asked if I was a particular person. I told them no, that they had me confused with someone else. I walked away towards an alley because I noticed they had guns in the car. As I walked down the alley, I could see in my peripheral them pulling out their guns. I quickly hid behind a dumpster as they fired a few shots at me. I could feel the wind of the bullets pass by me...”
This is just a small part of “Allen’s” story, a 17 year old we took to YFC Camp in Maryland. With tears streaming down his face, he shared the rest of his heartbreaking story for the first time with his peers. Though initially embarrassed by his painful story, Allen experienced the freedom that comes from being open and honest about where one is at in their life. Later that evening after hearing the Gospel, he experienced an even greater freedom when he gave his life to Jesus!
City Life Director
When “Tom” began attending Campus Life last school year, he was detached from the group and was reluctant to participate in games or share during small group. He came to every club and event, and even attended GoMAD in the fall. It was very exciting when he decided to attend YFC Camp this summer. It was obvious that Tom was thirsty to feel and know God.
On the fifth day of camp he shared his feelings of abandonment by his family, his addiction to pornography, and his previous suicide attempts. Despite his enormous pain and mess, Tom opened up his heart to Jesus and exclaimed he was ready to accept God in his life, confident he was desirable to God. Quoting the song we sung at Camp, he stated, “I am loved by You (God). It’s who I am!”
Tom was even brave enough to stand in front of 400 students at “Say So” night and claim he had said “Yes” to Jesus and was beginning his journey as a new Christian! I am so thankful Tom found freedom in Christ through Campus Life and YFC Camp, and that I got the opportunity to walk closely with him this year.
Volunteer with Huntington North Campus Life
God’s timing can be tough to wrap our minds around. Sometimes we see Him move quickly with clear results. Other times it’s small nudges over a period of time. This is true of a young man I’ve had the opportunity to get to know over the past few months, who made a decision to get baptized at camp a few weeks ago.
I first met Nic a few months ago. He was new to East Noble and a friend invited him to come on our spring break trip. On the trip, Nic made some important decisions in regards to his relationship with God. I saw a change in Nic. He was all in. As soon as he heard about camp, he wanted to go and was one of the first to sign up.
Fast forward to camp. Nic opens up more about some of the pain he has experienced in life and how he wants to grow closer to God and make him a bigger part of his life. God had been slowly nudging Nic for a long time and I could see that he was beginning to feel the weight of that.
On the last day, after a lot of thought, Nic asked me to baptize him. A few hours later he was in a pool on the Chesapeake Bay, surrounded by friends and leaders who loved him and were excited for him. He confessed Jesus as his Lord and Saviour and was born again. God’s timing for Nic was beautiful and a testament to his faithfulness.
East Noble Campus Life director
Over the last few years we have been so blessed to be able to expand our ministry into 9 additional schools. It has been an incredible time of growth and we are now serving more than a thousand new young people through Campus Life and City Life programs. With all these new school sites, we have also added a large number of new staff and volunteers. We are so thankful for the progress that has been made and we look forward to continuing to grow the number of kids we can impact.
A key next step for us is to make sure we can properly support the much larger structure we now have at Youth For Christ. We must ensure that our staff and volunteers are properly trained, have the assistance they need to do their jobs well and are held to high ministry standards. For those reasons I am incredibly excited to announce that Kristian Jarrett will be our new Ministry Coordinator in the Northeast Indiana area. He has been the Campus Life Director at East Noble High School for the last 3 years and has done an amazing job building Campus Life. We are thrilled he is taking on this additional responsibility and I know that he will help us have an even bigger impact. Thank you all for your support, we would not have been able to grow and serve so many more teenagers over the last few years without all of your support and prayers!
Chief Development Officer
“God I trust you. I have faith. I believe in you.” These are words I never get tired of hearing from teens who put their faith and trust in Christ for the first time! Over the past year, Kailen and I have shared many experiences together such as hunting, fishing, laser tag, and lifting weights. Through these experiences, many conversations about faith, God, and Jesus came up. Not because he believed in God, but because he considered himself an atheist and couldn't understand how I could believe in something that could not be proven by science.
This past summer I invited him to CIY (Christ In Youth) Conference, thinking there was no way he would go to something focused solely on Christ and the church. But, to my surprise, he said, “Sure, I’ll go.” Anything to get out of Wabash for a while! It was at CIY where God broke through in a way that Kailen could not deny. Fighting back the presence and power of God at first, but ultimately giving in to his desperate need of a Savior, Kailen went forward and surrendered his life to Christ!
Full of newfound freedom and forgiveness, Kailen posted these words on his Facebook page for the world to read: “God I trust you. I have faith. I believe in you.” I cannot wait to see where God leads this young man and how the Kingdom will be built through him. Thanks to all who prayed and helped make CIY Conference a possibility for so many teens in Wabash County!
Wabash County Ministry Coordinator
I have had a pretty good relationship with “Chris” for the last year and a half. Chris has been attending clubs during the school year, and we’ve had several opportunities to meet and talk about the Gospel and what having a relationship with Jesus looks like. Every time he has had the opportunity to respond to the Gospel, his response was a firm NO. He said, “I only come to Campus Life to hang out with my friends and get away from my mom.”
Chris was not supposed to go to YFC Camp with us this summer, but God had a different plan. One of my other students dropped out because of a family situation that happened two days before we were to leave. I prayed about who God wanted me to approach as their replacement, and Chris immediately came to mind. I called him up, and he jumped at the opportunity.
While at camp, Chris still just wanted to get away and have fun, wanting nothing to do with Jesus. Then the Gospel was presented. God did what only He can do; He moved in Chris’ life. Chris said “yes” to Jesus! Not only that, he opened up to those around him with his decision. Chris and I talked a lot about his choice, and this was his first time saying “YES” to Jesus!
Please pray for Chris’ next steps as our Campus Life staff and students journey alongside of him.
Churubusco Campus Life Director
“...the stones will cry out!” This passage in Luke 19 burst to life in a whole new way this past summer. For a young man named “Josh,” his literal stone meant saying yes to Jesus and surrendering his life to Christ for the very first time! This God-sized story started two years ago on our spring break trip.
On that trip students were presented with an opportunity to respond to the Gospel by picking up a small rock and spending some quiet time on the beach. Students were encouraged to take their stone and throw it into the ocean, either yelling out their decision to follow Christ, asking for a renewed relationship with him, or saying “not yet, Jesus.” Josh did none of those things; instead, he stuffed the stone into his pocket and took it home.
As time went on, I continued to build a relationship with Josh, repeatedly sharing the Gospel. Each time he responded the same way with something like, “this God thing is just not for me.” Honestly, I had almost given up thinking he would never see his need for a Savior.
This past summer, Josh came on our “Christ in Youth Conference” trip. The first session gave the teens the same opportunity to make a decision to follow Christ. At the front of the stage sat a large empty basin with stones around it. Teens could make their decision about the Gospel known by coming to the front, grabbing a stone, and dropping it into the basin which would make a large boom throughout the stadium because of the microphone attached to it.
One evening Josh pulled me aside and showed me a stone he had in his pocket. He told me it was the one he took from the spring break trip two years ago! He brought the stone he picked up and set on his dresser two years ago, not knowing he would have a similar opportunity to say “Yes” to Jesus with a stone. That’s insanity, but God knows what he is doing! That trip he said “Yes” to Jesus and he dropped his stone from two years previous into the basin!
The stones “cried out,” and God continues to blow me away with how he works through all things to bring his children home. I cannot thank you enough for your support in helping Josh say “Yes!” Whose stone will cry out next?
“Tristan”, who recently turned 18 and dropped out of high school, is quiet, smart, and interesting. Our Juvenile Justice Director, Joe, first met him at ACJC about three years ago and found him to be a very unique young man. He stayed away from the other kids like they had some kind of disease. He later learned Tristan has extremely high anxiety issues
He was in and out of ACJC several times. Each time he left, Joe was confident he wouldn't return because he seemed to have his head on straight. After he was released, Joe continually tried to reach him to see if he was okay. Tristan finally returned his call about six months after he was released. He told Joe people had given up on him because he is inconsistent in his relationships. He said he trusted Joe because he hadn't given up on him even after he ignored his calls for months. They made arrangements to meet for breakfast where this frail 130 pounds, 18-year-old ate pancakes like a champion! He hadn't been out of the house in a public place for four months because he is such a recluse. He proceeded to tell Joe his dad, whom he lived with, was in Lutheran Hospital because of a stroke from consistent drug usage. He also told him that he didn't have any knowledge of how to take care of the apartment, get food, pay bills, or any of the other things adults need to do in life.
There are so many issues in his life to work through that Joe told him he didn't know how he was going to do it without Jesus. He has a hard time believing in God because of the hypocrisy he's seen, but is open to the idea. He grew up believing he wasn't right with God because he couldn't speak in tongues. Joe opened the Bible and showed him verses on forgiveness and hope. They’ve met a few times since that initial breakfast and have delved deeper into conversations about making Jesus Lord and Savior of his life. He's not ready yet, but God is working through this storm to draw Tristan closer to Himself.
I am sitting in a counselor's office of a high school as I write this letter. I am here because at the center earlier this week, I saw one of my City Life kids come in high off of marijuana. His eyes were glazed, and the smell was dominant. So I called him into my office along with one of my ministry leaders to discuss his situation. He came in with his head down as if he was ashamed.
I want to pause before I tell the rest of this young man’s story. We as Christ followers enter the trenches of messy lives on an everyday basis. We can look in the mirror and see a person who had, and still has, some mess in our personal lives. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t need a Savior. One of the things I’m in love with about our Heavenly Father is He’s not afraid of our mess. Jesus told Peter, one of our brothers in the faith, that he (Peter) would deny knowing Him three times. The powerful thing about Peter’s story is Jesus didn’t change His mind about Peter, even knowing his shortcomings. The mess didn’t define their relationship, but the love our Heavenly Father had for Peter defined their relationship. We serve a God who pursues us consistently!
As the young man sat in my office with his head down, I looked past him being high and irresponsible. I asked if he would allow me to help him. I could have told him how disappointed I was in him and kicked him out of the building (rules without authentic relationship equals rebellion). He agreed to accepting my help, and I introduced him to my friend in the room with us, who is a pastor. We began to look at his grades and discovered he was failing most of his classes. I spoke with his foster mom and emailed his counselor to see how we could best help him.
As I sit in the counselor's office, I’m excited about this young man’s future. I am excited because his counselor and I were able to encourage him and communicate that he has a support system that will not give up on him and will help guide him to academic success. He now knows he has a big brother in me who desires for him to know Christ and be an Indigenous leader in his neighborhood.
Nygel Simms, City Life Director
As I look back over 2017 and think of all the meetings, appointments, programming, trips and all the fast food, it still all boils down to relationships; those are what really matter. Relationships remind kids they are valuable and they are loved. These relationships enable the kids we work with to move towards God and away from the poisonous relationships, false gods, and mess in which they are living.
I recently took a group of guys to Golden Corral, which I do every year. I do this because many of the guys I work with will not have a holiday meal with their family because of brokenness within their families. The ones that will gather for a meal say their family is pretty dysfunctional when they get together, so it generally ends badly. If all the other meals throughout their year aren't peaceful and full of life, I wanted this one to be. I wanted to have a time of celebrating the peace and the joy that Christmas is supposed to be about.
As I picked up the guys, it was eerily quiet because many of them didn't know each other and they all played it cool. But during the meal we got to laughing and talking about shoes, cars, and sports. Inappropriate topics were also brought up which I quickly dispelled. By the end of our meal at Golden Corral, the guys got to talking about what really matters in life. It was a special fellowship time that I know they'll treasure in their hearts. My hope is this one meal demonstrated what healthy relationships look like and gave them a glimpse of the love Jesus has for them.