One part of the ministry of Young Lives is to take teen moms to Lake Champion, New York for "The Best Week of Their Life." One week during the summer the Young Life camp dedicates a week for teen moms and babies. Imagine 500 strollers parked outside cabins, pack and plays inside next to all the bunk beds, volunteer babysitters holding babies, and high chairs galore in the main dining hall! It's a sight to see. This is where teen moms really Get the Gospel. They are piled on buses with car seats and excited leaders. They are scared to leave the comfort of home, family and travel for the first time to camp. When they get to camp they turn in their phones begrudgingly and think what did my leader get me into? By the end of the week, these teen moms don't want to get back on the bus and go back to normal life. So many get on the bus with new friends, new bibles and new relationships with Jesus. During the year, and especially at our annual fundraising banquet, we raise the $600.00 cost to send a teen mom and her baby to camp. It takes countless hours getting the girls ready for camp including all the baby items and things for a trip. Lots of paperwork including physical and shot records for mom and baby. In the end, it is well worth the time involved! Working with hundreds of Young Life/Young Lives leaders and volunteers and camp staff to provide Jesus each and every day to these teen moms for an entire week. It is a great blessing that keeps giving back. One week can truly be a HEART and LIFE changer toward their heavenly future. This year’s camp week is August 5-9. We have plenty of volunteer opportunities as babysitters for that week. We have had mothers/daughters, husband/wives spend that week as a mission trip to honor and support these teen moms at camp. Please join us and help make this week The Best Week of Their Life.
Young Lives Club Coordinator
Providence Church/Westside Community Center
430 Hannum Avenue
There is so much to process as I integrate myself back into the American life. Looking back on my two months in Thailand, I have recognized so many things I learned about God and what He desires for His creation.
The first time I walked through the red light district and watched as young girls flirted and flaunted themselves, as white men drank, touched and chose any woman of their liking, I felt physically ill, angry, helpless and confused. At the same time, I felt completely saddened for what each person involved must be internally experiencing to be living this way. My heart broke for their inner confliction and suffering. I asked myself, “Who am I to be blessed with the gift of knowing and accepting Christ as my personal Savior and experience eternal fulfillment through a relationship with Him alone?”
After a time, I began to walk through every bar and picture God’s intended purpose for that person, clothed in His righteousness, pure and blameless in His sight, and living out their gifts for the kingdom. It can be easy to judge the actions of each person involved, especially the white American men who are married, on business and have no reason for being there. However, I am just as sinful and broken and in need of a savior as they are.
My heart breaks for the young girls being trafficked, but my heart breaks just as much for the men who give into it, the bar owners who enable it and the pimps who lie and manipulate. God provided opportunities for conversations and relationships to be built and the gospel made known. In one of the darkest places I have ever experienced, I also experienced so much hope and excitement from the conversations that took place. God is present and moving in all places and people. It was so inspiring and humbling to see God work through my team and work in the hearts of people. Coming home, I still have the incredible opportunity to share that truth with everyone I encounter.
What is our purpose on this earth? Through walking in obedience to God and loving Him, we are called to make disciples and share the gospel. We could go at any time and He could come at any time. This is not our home; therefore, we should not waste the short time we have on this earth being over-consumed with our own needs, fearing the unknown, or being distracted by the busyness of life. We are on mission at all times. I actually dislike the term “mission’s trip.” The thing that changes for so many people when they come home from any kind of long-term or short-term mission trip is their mindset. As soon as they are overseas on a mission trip, they are solely focused on “sharing the gospel and making disciples,” but as soon as they come home, the distractions of life and the comfort of the American lifestyle take over and the mindset suddenly shifts.
It is so ironic because many people come back from mission trips saying, “Yeah, it was awesome. God worked in so many ways. Despite the language barrier and the cultural differences, I had the opportunity to share the gospel with so many people and see people come to know Him.” If that is the case, you should be coming back to America even more pumped up to live out the gospel because you can relate culturally and speak the same language!!!
Some people may say, “Well, most people in America have heard about God. Therefore, they are already reached and have chosen to not walk with God.” However, that is the opposite of how we should be thinking and living. Just because people have heard the gospel don't assume they understand it. Maybe they have experienced immense suffering similar to the people in the red light district and have turned away from the truth. Guess what, people? That is why we are on this earth: to show them God’s intense love and purpose for them, and to reveal the good news to them through the way we serve and love them. People wonder why they become stagnant after a mission trip or spiritual high on a retreat; maybe because we stopped living out God’s purpose.
A huge way many people experience the love of God is through community. God designed people to be in relationship with one another. I think many people spend a lot of time seeking a “close-knit” community. However, instead of constantly looking for ways to have community, create community yourself. Dive into relationships with people, invite them into your home, take a minute to talk with someone you pass by, and have an awareness of the people you can serve through your every day life. There are so many ways to create community, but as westerners we often victimize ourselves and become depressed when we have the complete control to get up and change the situation. Therefore, I challenge you to take initiative, live out the gospel, and create community.
A testimony from a Mentor/Leader - I had a heart for serving others and after hearing the director of Young Lives speak to my ladies group, I was welcomed by many loving, Christian women. I watched everything go on during my first visit to club. I saw how the girls really enjoyed being part of a group. I liked how they were connected at dinner, smiled during game time, asked questions during the parenting topics and paid attention as they heard about Jesus. I went home and knew this was where and how God wanted to use me. I got to know several of the girls one-on-one and began meeting with them to drive them to club. I saw their yearning to be good moms. I saw the need to encourage, pray and love them and their children. I can tell you my prayer life has improved drastically [since I've been involved]. I have more empathy and a heart for their trials and struggles that draw me to be more thankful for all the blessings I have. I feel like my connection to God [is stronger] and God is really using me to share the Gospel with these girls in my words, prayers and actions. I look forward to finding the right girl to mentor.
A testimony from a Teen Mom about Club - 'a safe place, a place where you aren't judged, fun, nice people, parenting advice, free diapers and wipes.' These are the things my friend Jenna told me when she invited me to club when I became pregnant. I was having issues with my parents as they weren't happy about my pregnancy during my senior year. I came to club and was greeted with kind smiles and open arms welcoming me. Everyone was so nice. I felt normal and not one person judged me. The other girls were friendly too and going through the same things like me struggling with relationships with the baby’s father, school, parental issues and more. I can tell you I have been at club for almost two years and have invited 4 other girls to experience Young Lives. My faith has grown from the spiritual talks and Bible studies. I am a better parent thanks to all the parenting talk and I have so many new friends. I pray more than ever now. I even read the Bible they gave me to my daughter. I even got her baptized a few months ago. I feel more grounded and more connected since joining Young Lives. I couldn't imagine my life as a young mom without the love and support from this amazing group.
|David Coup||Ocean City, Maryland|
|Graham Bowen||Botswana: Gaborone (Mid-Atlantic)|
|Lexie Segalla||Ocean City, Maryland|
|MariPat Lissner||Botswana: Gaborone (Mid-Atlantic)|
|Paige Eaton||Ocean City, Maryland|
|Sabrina Knapp||Ocean City, Maryland|
|Danni Rogge||Italy : Rome (SE)|
|Hannah Schultz||Justice Team|
|Maddy Wyshinski||Central Asia (Mid-Atlantic)|
|Mercedes Thomas||Colorado Ops Summer Mission|
|Alexandra Kouma||East Asia (Mid-Atlantic)|
|Braise Alexander||East Asia (Mid-Atlantic)|
|Byron Burger||Ocean City, Maryland|
|Caroline DeRobertis||Lake Tahoe|
|Joelle Skacel||Ocean City, Maryland|
|Rachael Mitchell||Central Asia (Mid-Atlantic)|
|Yemi Kiyesi||Ocean City, Maryland|
|Mel Carson||Australia: Melbourne (Mid-Atlantic)|
|Olivia Kimber||Educators Summer Mission (For College Students)|
|Taylor McCahan||Australia: Melbourne (Mid-Atlantic)|
|Jillian Stockbauer||Ocean City, Maryland|
|Adam Tardosky||Ocean City, Maryland|
|Amy Rittenhouse||Philadelphia - Mission Liberti|
|Edwin Jacks||Ocean City, Maryland|
|Erica Howard||Philadelphia - Mission Liberti|
|Alexis Case||Central Asia (Mid-Atlantic)|
|Corinne Petersheim||Study Abroad: San Jose, Costa Rica (fall)|
Hampton Beach, NH
|PRAY for these students going on mission this summer all over the world!|
Also pray for those serving in an area of Young Life this summer: week-long camps, work crew and summer staff!
Young Lives: Where Girls Get the Gospel
God, Jesus, Teen Moms and Babies are the HEART of our ministry. We mentor, encourage, share parenting skills, and provide emotional and spiritual guidance to teen moms. Twice a month on Thursday nights at Providence Church, we provide a healthy dinner, games, babysitting, crafts, parenting tips, diapers, wipes, donated baby items and most importantly, the Gospel. It's a 2.5 hour time frame of many moving parts with lots of prayer and planning.
We have to have all of these items delegated and organized by the time the girls arrive at 6:30. Will you consider joining us and making a difference in a teen and her child's life? If you can help with one or many of the above needs twice a month we would be forever grateful! We ask that you pray about any way you could serve alongside us.