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  • 01/22/18--11:48: Vision for the future
  • A little five-year-old girl was standing on the deck of a cruise ship right before it was about to leave port. Everyone was waving goodbye to family and friends, but the little girl was hidden in a sea of people and couldn’t see anything. She asked her father to put her on his shoulders so she could see. As soon as she could view the expanse of the port, the water, and the sky she exclaimed, “Daddy, I can see farther than my eyes can look!” Vision defined by a five-year-old.

    Vision is key. It's important, even critical, to look beyond what we normally see.  It's God's territory...His vantage point…outside our comfort zone...an unfamiliar spot for us.

    This past summer I stood on a river bank lifted on God’s shoulders and, like the little five-year-old girl, I saw farther than my eyes can look. It was powerful, a little scary, enlightening, but most importantly, shed some clarity on the future of YFC.

    I will share this vision over the next few months, but let me start with a couple of top priorities.

    1. YFC will recruit, train, and develop Missional Community Leaders who will build an army of volunteers to do excellent ministry in schools and neighborhoods, in small groups and large events, and most importantly in 1-on-1 Christ-sharing relationships with a teenager. This will launch us forward to being connected with 20,000 teens in our 12-county territory.

    2. Completing the final stage of our succession planning is a top priority. We will raise up the ensuing generation of leadership for YFCNIN over the next two to three years to position our ministry for continued success and growth. This will take some intentional steps on my part and letting go of some of the reins going forward. I am excited to be a part of coaching, mentoring, and serving YFC as a community liaison, active in business development, planned giving, and casting vision for the future with our executive team and board of directors.

    Just picture 20,000 teens hearing the gospel message and hundreds of hearts being transformed, an army of hundreds of teens and adults trained to help hurting youth and a new generation of leaders called and focused on impacting our youth culture.

     

    Thanks for standing with us. Your continued encouragement, support and prayers are one of the key elements to our success.

    Larry Lance, CEO


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  • 01/22/18--11:50: Tacos and Jesus
  • Looking across the gym I saw a young man sitting alone playing on his computer while everyone else was actively engaged in the homecoming games taking place. After sitting down next to him, I asked him why he was not up playing with the others; he said, “I don’t have any friends, and the one friend I did have just moved last week.”  

    Instantly my heart sank for this young man. Knowing he would soon be off to his next class I asked him what his favorite restaurant in town was and if I could take him after school some time. He looked at me in shock and asked if I was serious. I quickly said, “Yeah, of course!”   

    One week later we were headed to Mi Pueblo to get some tacos after school. I honestly believe it was the first time in his life anyone genuinely asked him how he was doing and took time to simply listen. It was like the floodgates opened up when he started sharing about his life. Depression, bitterness, frustration, and broken relationships have littered both his past and his perspective of the world he sees in front of him.  

    After asking him a series of questions about where he gets hope in all of this brokenness, I got the opportunity to share Jesus with him. The look in his eyes as I shared the Gospel proved God is pulling this young man towards Himself. No, he didn’t put his trust in Christ, but it won’t be the last time we share tacos and Jesus together. Pray for open ears and a soft heart in this young man as we continue to meet in the future.

    Aaron French

    Wabash Ministry Coordinator


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  • 01/22/18--11:52: Students dive into Jesus
  • To most, this pool picture appears to simply be a faded sketch of a swimming pool. To many Campus Life students, it is an illustration to unleash the thoughts and emotions locked inside them during Campus Life trips and events.

    Last year during GoMAD, we moved away from asking students to simply check a box for where they were at with a relationship with Jesus. Instead, we allowed students to freely respond to this illustration through asking, “If the swimming pool is a relationship with Jesus, which character are you and why?” There is no right or wrong answer, and each of us have seen the same character circled for a variety of interpretations and reasons.

    While at GoMAD 2016, “Celine” circled the person on the right dipping a toe into the pool. She said, “I chose this person because I am willing to give Jesus a chance. I’m nervous and scared, but I am willing to try. I’ve never had a relationship with God before, but I want to just dip my toes in Him and His love right now.”  This answer allowed me to step in more regularly with Celine. We discussed what a relationship with Jesus could look like in her life. I told her Jesus’ love wasn’t held back by her family not allowing her to go to church.  During this time, I was able to give her a Bible and a devotional to start reading and learning about God.

    Throughout the year, Celine pressed into Jesus, and Jesus pressed right back. At GoMAD 2017, Celine circled the character in the top right with all of the scuba gear, saying, “I picked the guy with all of the scuba gear because he looks ready, and so am I. I’m ready for my life to change. I’m ready for Jesus!” What a difference a year can make when it comes to pursuing Jesus!

    We at YFCNIN gain our energy and momentum through each of these responses. Whether it’s the student who circles the guy reading the newspaper because he isn’t too concerned with having a relationship with Jesus; the girl who circles the girl in the towel because she has a lot of insecurities with her faith, or the student on the diving board saying they are ready to stop procrastinating and dive into a relationship with Jesus. Here at YFC, we aren’t waiting for the “right answer.” We will continue diving into conversations and relationships with students even if they say they aren’t even in the same room as the pool, because we know Jesus wants to meet each of these students right where they are, and we have seen just how much Jesus can change the heart of any student.

    Danni Blackburn

    Whitko Campus Life director


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  • 01/22/18--11:53: Love your neighbor
  • When I moved to Churubusco two years ago to become the Campus Life Director, my prayer was for God to strategically place me within the Churubusco community. God did just that. I bought my home in the newest addition in Churubusco, which was also in the midst of several students who would later come to Campus Life.

    One of those students was my next-door neighbor, “Chad.” Chad was a sophomore when we first met, and he thought I was weird because I was always at the school. He didn’t know anything about Campus Life, or Jesus, for that matter. As our relationship as neighbors grew, I started inviting him to club. One week I had Chad’s friend over to play video games and he invited Chad to come as well. When we went to leave for club that night, I invited Chad, and he said he would go!

    Since that night Chad has not missed a club. After several months of Chad coming to club, I took him to the Magic Wand where I asked him if he knew who Jesus was. His response was “kind of,” and after a long conversation with him, Chad accepted Jesus into his heart! Since then Chad and I have been on a journey as he figures out more about Jesus. Chad is now a senior and says Campus Life changed his life.

    Mark 12:31- “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

    Brad Millikan

    Churubusco Campus Life Director


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  • 01/22/18--11:54: Healing power of Jesus
  • Building times are an essential part of relational ministry with students. A building time is simply defined as a shared experience with a group of students. They can be anything from taking a group of guys to get some wings or meeting up with students to watch the new Star Wars movie. Often during a building time, relationships with students deepen and great conversations begin.

    This was the case for Katherine Bradford (Garrett City Life) who had a building time at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis.

    “On the way to Indianapolis, a girl sat with me and opened up about her life. She explained she was happy to be going to the museum because she was supposed to go with her dad the year before, but he died. She then explained he had been heavily addicted to drugs and had killed himself. She poured out this terrible story of loss and pain all with a straight face and a steady voice. I, meanwhile, was attempting not to cry while praying for guidance the whole time. She does not yet attend club, but I keep inviting her and hoping she will want to join us eventually. More importantly, I am hoping that through our continued relationship, she will come to know the healing power of Jesus.”

    This is why we believe in relational ministry so strongly! It leads to deeper conversations that we wouldn’t have otherwise. Please pray for this girl and the continued conversations she will have with Katherine.

    Kristian Jarrett

    East Noble Campus Life


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  • 02/04/18--20:54: Always, Always Good
  • This past semester has been incredibly difficult for me. I was lost and alone. Ever since my dad passed away last year, I felt as though there was no reasoning behind the world. Bad things happened, and I believed nothing good would come out of it. I lost people, and I turned to things I shouldn't have in an attempt to try and cope with everything happening around me.

    Then I started meeting with Liz regularly and began trying to get my life back to where it needed to be. She helped me realize there is a purpose behind everything and God knows exactly what He's doing. I began making better choices and searching for people who would encourage me and help me in my new journey with God. The people I lost were toxic to me, and the people I've gained have given me so much joy.

    The big man upstairs is a little crazy, and I don’t always understand why things happen, but He's always so good.

    - “Carley,” a student at Huntington North High School

     

    God is so good, and it has been amazing to witness the restoration process begin for Carley. Please pray for her and for continued growth in her relationship with Jesus!

    Liz Adams

    Huntington Campus Life


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  • 04/27/18--13:21: Be the Good News
  • Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana currently has 35 active ministry sites that reaches 17,000 teens. It is heartbreaking to think that 50% of these teens (8,500 kids) don’t have an adult in their life they can count on, let alone model and hand off a faith journey that will guide them through life.   

    The good news? Through the ministries of Campus Life, City Life, and JJM, YFC stands in the gap for thousands of teens who need a caring adult they can trust and count on. We have nearly 300 volunteer adults who tutor, teach, equip (sewing, cooking, exercise, etc), pray for, listen to, engage (service projects), lead (small groups), and provide genuine, trusted relationships with teenagers.   

    We realize we can’t replace the role of a parent, but we do know when caring adults show up in a teen’s life, the opportunity to embrace a life-changing faith in Jesus dramatically increases.    

    We ask you to join us in celebrating the hundreds of caring adults who have stepped into the lives of the thousands of teens that need to name someone who cares. However, we don’t want you to just celebrate, we want you to become one of those caring adults! We are looking for another 300 adults willing to invest into a teenager’s life.

    Will you join us today and make a difference?

    To learn more about how you can help, email volunteer@yfcnin.org today!

    Roger Vezeau, Chief Ministry Officer


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  • 04/27/18--13:25: Beside me always
  • Spring break was incredible this year! We took a smaller group of students from Huntington North, but most of these students had not stepped foot into a church their entire lives, nor knew much about Jesus. We had one student who claimed to be an atheist and was just coming for the beach. At the end of the week, she said she believed in God and could also see herself having a relationship with Jesus in the future (she wasn’t ready to commit yet).

    Another student, “Clarissa,” came on the trip and said at the beginning of the week she didn’t want anything to do with God. Since the trip ended, she has started reading five plans a day in the Bible app, came to church with me for the very first time, and has texted me every day asking questions and seeking advice. To say this moves my heart to tears of joy is an understatement!

    This is the text she sent me the other day: “God has made me feel lighter these past few days. I know it's only been a few days and I have a lot more to learn, but I feel like I'm on the right path. Things are still hard and I'm still learning how to fully trust God. I feel like someone has been beside me or holding my hand if you will, for some of the times that I really needed it this week. I didn't feel alone as I usually do. Also, when I pray now, it feels good and feels real and it so much more different than when I tried to pray before. I feel like God has all these things planned for me and I'm so excited to see what the future holds for me!”

    Liz Adams


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  • 04/27/18--13:29: Changing his ways
  • Over spring break we brought a speaker/artist in to share with kids who are on probation. After the show I took four kids to Pizza Hut. While we were driving there I asked them what they thought of the event. They said they really liked what the guy had to say, the positive message, and the art that the speaker did. Almost immediately after they said that, the kids in the backseat began to talk about who they were going to have sex with, their excitement to smoke weed, and just talking about other foolish things.

    After I dropped off the backseat kids, the kid in the front seat began telling me excitedly that a year ago he used to talk about foolish stuff like those guys. He then went on to say that God has been changing his thoughts, his speech, and his actions. Here's a note he recently sent to me.

    “God has shown me the truth and the way to truly live. and he has delivered me from the evil one. He saved my life and protected me from getting shot in the face about a year ago when the bullet just grazed my arm. I can name things he does for me every day, like teaching me daily disciplines. Often I feel like I don't want to be here on earth because it's so difficult, but it’s making me stronger.”

    As you can see, this young man is learning a lot and is very open to learning what it means to change his ways and live for God.

    Joe Wright, JJM Director


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  • 04/27/18--13:33: God makes beautiful things
  • The carriage compartment of the charter bus was packed as I darted to claim the final seat on Bus #3. After months of preparing, we were finally on our way to Panama City, FL, for spring break 2018. I am pleased to share that for the 17 students that represented MHS for the week, the tame expectations of fun beach games and relaxation by the pool were blown away!  

    It was nearly the final day of the trip. A once spotless kitchen was now decorated with an assortment of pizza boxes and dirty dishes. The massive suitcases that once held dozens of folded outfits, now lay empty with wet towels and scattered clothes. Aloe vera was a treasured resource. In this house we met for team time each morning, sharing and learning about one another’s lives and about who God is. Every student had their own burdens they carried: pains, struggles, anxieties, fears, and temptations. Mornings were often filled with tears, but the resounding response throughout the week were words of love and encouragement.

    “You are God’s beautiful creation.”

    “You are lovely.”

    “You are unique.”

    “You are cherished.”  

    On the last night, students were given a full half hour of complete silence to sit on the beach and listen to whatever God wanted to share. The powerful waves crashed on the beach. The stars shined bright.

    A number of students yelled out “yes” to Jesus for the first time! What were once tears of anger and confusion turned to tears of joy.  Testimonies of loneliness and anger became testimonies of being loved and adored by God.

    All I can do is yell out praises to God for everything that occurred that week!  It was a great reminder that despite the sin, pain, and hate so frequently shared around us, God only makes beautiful things.

    Brandon Johnson, Manchester Campus Life


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  • 04/27/18--13:38: He changes everything
  • It’s expected to come back from spring break in Florida a little more tan with a little extra skip in your step from all of the Vitamin C; but with our annual Youth for Christ spring break trip, the transformation runs deeper than skin.

    This year “Damion,” a City Life student, arrived in Florida with pain and mess running deep.

    Towards the end of the trip, students are given the opportunity to have solo time with God on the beach. City Life leader, Ra’Shad, sat near the tough-hearted Damion during this time, and recounts it was clear he was wrestling with God and the idea of  confession. Damion ended up pouring everything out to God, leading him to join the other students wanting to commit their lives to Christ in yelling “YES” into the star-filled sky.

    When Ra’Shad went to give Damion a hug, every bit of the tough exterior softened to tears. Tears of his past hurt, sin, and pain mixed with tears of his new found joy, hope, and forgiveness.  

    The Holy Spirit was moving and everything was changing for Damion. For the first time in his life, this young man realized he doesn’t have to walk through life alone - not only does he have a City Life family, but a God that nothing can separate him from. No part of Damion’s story or pain was too much for Ra’Shad or for God and this truth has changed everything.

    Roger Vezeau, Chief Ministry Officer


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  • 04/27/18--13:40: Healing power
  • “You are an amazing kid!”

    I didn’t have any friends and didn’t know which direction I was going. I was constantly bullied, ignored, and misunderstood. I was without hope. I didn’t feel like anyone noticed me or cared about me. That was my life five months ago when I heard an announcement at school saying, “Sign up for the Campus Life spring break trip, it’s one you won’t forget!”

    As I turned in my money for the trip, I hoped this would be something that could turn my life around...and it was! The trip was amazing and I loved every minute of it, specifically our guest speaker, Myron! He talked with us that week and shared his life and the struggles that he went through.

    After club one night I just couldn't take it anymore, so I talked to him about the bullying, loneliness, and hurt with which I was dealing. After listening to me he said, “Danny, you are an amazing kid and here are all the things God says about you!” I was so encouraged!

    Later, Myron gave all of the students an opportunity to go out to the beach and say “yes Jesus” if we wanted Him in our life. Out on the beach, under the stars, it was quiet and I was looking for a sign. It was chilly that night and all I had was my towel. I suddenly felt something beside me and it was like a warm blanket curling up next to me. I knew that was the sign I was waiting for, and I knew I wasn't alone. I stood up and yelled “yes Jesus” and welcomed him into my heart! I heard others yelling it too, and that's when I not only started to cry, but realized He was on the beach with all of us. I can not thank Myron enough for showing me the light in my life and helping me become a leader in the making. I am so glad I had the opportunity to go and will go back next year!

    Danny, high school student


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  • 04/27/18--13:46: Let creation rejoice
  • The last night of the YFC Spring Break trip will remain one of my favorite moments each year for the rest of my life. Our speaker presents the Gospel, and we dismiss all 200+ students to silently make their way to the beach and sit intentionally, most likely for the first time, with Jesus. We give them a half a hour to sit, to think, to process, to cry, to surrender.

    At the end, as music starts to play, we encourage the students to stand and claim their “Yes”, “Yes Again” or “Not Yet” by shouting. It’s in this moment I feel like even nature rejoices - the waves calm, the stars fall and brighten and the breeze stills.

    With students shouting their proclamations all around her, “Molly’s” anxiety heightens. She wanted so badly to shout “YES,” but being a quiet and insecure freshmen, she became nervous. She didn’t let this stop her though; as she turned to walk away, she saw our speaker and said, “Myron, I want to say YES to Jesus, but I don’t like being loud.” To this, Myron simply replied, “It’s okay, Molly. Jesus knows your heart, but if you want to whisper it right now so only Jesus and I can hear you, that would be okay too.” So in the meekest voice, as the waves stilled even more, “Molly” whispered "YES," and we and the angels joined creation to rejoice.

    Danni Blackburn, Whitko Campus Life Director


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  • 04/30/18--13:06: Following God’s leading
  • When asked about his highlights over the past 30 years in YFC, Kent is quick to reference Andy Vaught.

    “Andy went with me on our Campus Life Florida trip as a freshman. He got a pretty serious sunburn the very first day, and as a result, he and I had numerous conversations the rest of the week. On Wednesday night, Andy heard about a personal relationship with Christ and asked Jesus into his heart!  He went home, told his mom, and they went and purchased a Bible. They then started attending a local church in Huntington County.

    Part of YFC’s mission statement is that students become “lifelong followers of Jesus,” and Andy embodies that. Andy and his wife, Hillary, now live and serve in Huntington County. They love Jesus and are ministry leaders in the community. It has been great to have a front row seat and see God work in Andy’s life!”

    For those of you who know Kent, you know he has a heart and passion to impact teenagers, like Andy, with the Gospel. You also know his love for his wife, Jan, and their girls, Erin and Emily. His love for others is one of the many reasons we will miss Kent being on staff.

    After faithfully serving Youth for Christ for 30 years, Kent has chosen to follow God’s leading and become the Regional Development Director at Taylor University. Kent and Jan met at Taylor and have a deep history with the university. He is excited to help TU students have the same kind of life-changing experience he had.

    YFCNIN’s CEO, Larry Lance, stated, “Kent has been a faithful servant over these many years, and has helped reach thousands of young people with the Gospel through his ministry and fundraising efforts. I am so appreciative of Kent and want to thank him for all he has done to move the mission of YFC forward!”

    Thank you, Kent, for the difference you have made!


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  • 04/30/18--13:13: Leaving a legacy
  • After 10 years of ministry, Chip Clark is able to look at the City Life ministry and say he’s leaving it better than when he started! From 2 volunteers to 60; from 2 staff to 13 full and part-time employees; from 20 students a day coming to the center to now over 100, things are definitely better than when they started!

    As a teen, growing up in the Wayne community, Chip wasn’t making the greatest choices. It wasn’t until his mid-twenties that he changed his life around, began following Jesus, and wanted to make a difference in his community.  

    One of those ways for Chip to make a difference was through Youth for Christ’s City Life ministry where he met Jay. Chip says, “Jay Alexander was one of the first students I had the privilege of meeting. He was a tough kid, but a strong leader. I was able to befriend Jay and began what I had hoped would be a long relationship. As a director, I was just getting my feet wet in urban youth work and did not get the opportunity to pursue and impact Jay's life because he was murdered. His death upset me and put an unwavering desire to see young people like Jay empowered, utilizing the gifts, talents, and influence they already possess to change their community for Christ. I refuse to allow Jay's death to be in vain, as his death brought life to our pursuit of young people at City Life.”

    Chip’s incredible passion for and belief that the teenagers in the urban community of Fort Wayne, when empowered, can and will make a difference in their community for Christ, is one of the main reasons for the success of the City Life ministry!

    Following God’s calling, Chip will be leaving YFC to become the full time Worship Pastor at Blackhawk Ministries. He will be able to exercise his gifts and passions for music, communication, and people with this incredible opportunity.

    Chip, as an indigenous leader yourself, you have set the example on how others can make a difference. Thank you for your vision, passion, and leadership in raising up indigenous leaders who follow Jesus and are changing their community.


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    The school year is winding down and what an incredible year it was! At each of our 37 sites, lives were changed for Jesus. Some of our seniors were asked to share what Campus Life has meant to them the past 4-7 years; this is what they shared:

    “Campus Life has given me a sense of family”

    “Campus Life taught me what love is- not the kind of love high schoolers talk about all the time but real love”

    “Campus Life taught me how to love”

    “Campus Life taught me how to love myself”

    “Because of Campus Life, I know God wants a relationship with me, not just for me to go to church”

    “Campus Life gave me confidence”

    “Campus Life has given me a family and a backbone - even if my own family isn’t strong and struggling, I can count on my family here”

    “Campus Life has given me joy. After being gone for a few weeks, I realized just how much I need this”

    “Campus Life has given me positive influences”

    “Campus Life has challenged me to share my life and be open”

    “Campus Life has given me accountability”

    “Campus Life is always there through the struggle”

    “Campus Life has given me a place to just let go”

    “Without Campus Life, I have no confidence”

    “Campus Life has taught me how to be vulnerable with God and others and has taught me how to accept love through my leaders loving me”

     


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  • 04/27/18--13:21: Be the Good News
  • Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana currently has 35 active ministry sites that reaches 17,000 teens. It is heartbreaking to think that 50% of these teens (8,500 kids) don’t have an adult in their life they can count on, let alone model and hand off a faith journey that will guide them through life.   

    The good news? Through the ministries of Campus Life, City Life, and JJM, YFC stands in the gap for thousands of teens who need a caring adult they can trust and count on. We have nearly 300 volunteer adults who tutor, teach, equip (sewing, cooking, exercise, etc), pray for, listen to, engage (service projects), lead (small groups), and provide genuine, trusted relationships with teenagers.   

    We realize we can’t replace the role of a parent, but we do know when caring adults show up in a teen’s life, the opportunity to embrace a life-changing faith in Jesus dramatically increases.    

    We ask you to join us in celebrating the hundreds of caring adults who have stepped into the lives of the thousands of teens that need to name someone who cares. However, we don’t want you to just celebrate, we want you to become one of those caring adults! We are looking for another 300 adults willing to invest into a teenager’s life.

    Will you join us today and make a difference?

    To learn more about how you can help, email volunteer@yfcnin.org today!

    Roger Vezeau, Chief Ministry Officer


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  • 04/27/18--13:25: Beside me always
  • Spring break was incredible this year! We took a smaller group of students from Huntington North, but most of these students had not stepped foot into a church their entire lives, nor knew much about Jesus. We had one student who claimed to be an atheist and was just coming for the beach. At the end of the week, she said she believed in God and could also see herself having a relationship with Jesus in the future (she wasn’t ready to commit yet).

    Another student, “Clarissa,” came on the trip and said at the beginning of the week she didn’t want anything to do with God. Since the trip ended, she has started reading five plans a day in the Bible app, came to church with me for the very first time, and has texted me every day asking questions and seeking advice. To say this moves my heart to tears of joy is an understatement!

    This is the text she sent me the other day: “God has made me feel lighter these past few days. I know it's only been a few days and I have a lot more to learn, but I feel like I'm on the right path. Things are still hard and I'm still learning how to fully trust God. I feel like someone has been beside me or holding my hand if you will, for some of the times that I really needed it this week. I didn't feel alone as I usually do. Also, when I pray now, it feels good and feels real and it so much more different than when I tried to pray before. I feel like God has all these things planned for me and I'm so excited to see what the future holds for me!”

    Liz Adams


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  • 04/27/18--13:29: Changing his ways
  • Over spring break we brought a speaker/artist in to share with kids who are on probation. After the show I took four kids to Pizza Hut. While we were driving there I asked them what they thought of the event. They said they really liked what the guy had to say, the positive message, and the art that the speaker did. Almost immediately after they said that, the kids in the backseat began to talk about who they were going to have sex with, their excitement to smoke weed, and just talking about other foolish things.

    After I dropped off the backseat kids, the kid in the front seat began telling me excitedly that a year ago he used to talk about foolish stuff like those guys. He then went on to say that God has been changing his thoughts, his speech, and his actions. Here's a note he recently sent to me.

    “God has shown me the truth and the way to truly live. and he has delivered me from the evil one. He saved my life and protected me from getting shot in the face about a year ago when the bullet just grazed my arm. I can name things he does for me every day, like teaching me daily disciplines. Often I feel like I don't want to be here on earth because it's so difficult, but it’s making me stronger.”

    As you can see, this young man is learning a lot and is very open to learning what it means to change his ways and live for God.

    Joe Wright, JJM Director


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  • 04/27/18--13:33: God makes beautiful things
  • The carriage compartment of the charter bus was packed as I darted to claim the final seat on Bus #3. After months of preparing, we were finally on our way to Panama City, FL, for spring break 2018. I am pleased to share that for the 17 students that represented MHS for the week, the tame expectations of fun beach games and relaxation by the pool were blown away!  

    It was nearly the final day of the trip. A once spotless kitchen was now decorated with an assortment of pizza boxes and dirty dishes. The massive suitcases that once held dozens of folded outfits, now lay empty with wet towels and scattered clothes. Aloe vera was a treasured resource. In this house we met for team time each morning, sharing and learning about one another’s lives and about who God is. Every student had their own burdens they carried: pains, struggles, anxieties, fears, and temptations. Mornings were often filled with tears, but the resounding response throughout the week were words of love and encouragement.

    “You are God’s beautiful creation.”

    “You are lovely.”

    “You are unique.”

    “You are cherished.”  

    On the last night, students were given a full half hour of complete silence to sit on the beach and listen to whatever God wanted to share. The powerful waves crashed on the beach. The stars shined bright.

    A number of students yelled out “yes” to Jesus for the first time! What were once tears of anger and confusion turned to tears of joy.  Testimonies of loneliness and anger became testimonies of being loved and adored by God.

    All I can do is yell out praises to God for everything that occurred that week!  It was a great reminder that despite the sin, pain, and hate so frequently shared around us, God only makes beautiful things.

    Brandon Johnson, Manchester Campus Life


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