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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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  • 11/17/18--01:03: New CEO
  • Youth for Christ of Northern Indiana (YFCNIN) announced Friday, Nov. 9 that Larry Lance is transitioning out of his role as the organization’s  CEO effective January 1, 2019. He will be succeeded by Chris Todia, who is currently the Chief Operating Officer for YFCNIN.

    Lance is not retiring but moving into the role of Senior Advisor/President Emeritus for YFCNIN beginning January 2019. Lance’s focus will be on coaching Todia, furthering their development strategy, and launching their new planned-giving program.

    Todia joined YFCNIN in 2016 as chief operating officer. He previously served on the marketing staff at Colorado Christian University for three years, and then launched a sales and marketing career with Furniture Row in the greater Denver area. At Furniture Row, he was responsible for developing big-picture vision and strategy for product development as well as handling the daily details of marketing, merchandising, sales management, training, and product design. He later founded his own consulting company to help companies with   branding, growth, and organizational strategy. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Bethel College and a Master of   Business Administration from Colorado Christian University. Chris lives in Fort Wayne with his wife, Amy, and two children.

    Lance has been with YFCNIN for the past 42 years, serving as an instrumental part in their growth from four to twelve counties in northern Indiana, with their territory including 99 schools and potentially reaching 64,000 teenagers. Lance started out with YFC in 1976 as a part-time Campus Life director at Huntington North and Homestead High Schools.

    Lance has championed Todia’s candidacy to move into the CEO role and has mentored him over the past two years.

    “Chris Todia has earned the respect and trust of our board, our donors, our leadership team, and our staff,” Lance said. “He has demonstrated in every respect that he is ready to assume the role of CEO, and lead this ministry into its next phase of growth and development,” Lance said.

    Todia looks forward to taking on new responsibilities and focusing the YFC organization on its renewed vision and strategy.

    “It is such a blessing to be stepping into this role with an organization with such rich history and still so much opportunity,” Todia said. “God is moving in this region in unique and powerful ways, and I am thrilled to be a part of it. Our team’s desire and efforts are focused on serving thousands more young people throughout Northeast Indiana in the years to come.”


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