Someone Cares About Me

Jesse Frame, YouthHOPE

Last week I was enjoying a great book (The God Ask by Steven Shadrach) and a hot cup of coffee in the back corner of our Panera Bread when a couple of young ladies, I'm guessing early 20's, sat down in the booth across from me. They started out with the normal small talk of friends just chatting. I'm trying to ignore their girly yakking and focus on my book.

Eventually their conversation turns to church. One of the girls was describing her recent mission trip to Mexico. Of course I started to eve's drop at this point. Just curiosity...I am in the middle of reading a missionary book. After her story she shifts the conversation with, "So tell me about your new church!"

The other girl describes what the service is like, the preacher, the person who invited her, etc. It was a typical (boring) conversation that I was quickly losing interest in until I heard this statement: "Someone actually cares about me!"

My first thought was, well, they're girls...I guess that stuff is important to them. Aside from her new church, I didn't know what she was talking about. She continued to explain to her friend how she had never felt like that before and it was so deeply meaningful to her at this stage in her life.

I've also been reading another book called Sticky Faith by Kara E. Powell and Chap Clark. You should just do yourself a favor and read it too. Sticky Faith is based on a research project by the Fuller Youth Institute. Essentially they were trying to find out some of the things that made faith "stick" (or not) in teens transitioning from high school to college. Here is one of the many great things this book has to offer: "By far, the number one way churches made the teens in our survey feel welcomed and valued was when adults in the congregation showed an interest in them."

How are you showing our young people you care? You may just change a life.

Medaling for Good

April Rothweiler, YouthHOPE

The Olympics are here! My family and I have the games tuned in 24/7! We are excited to root for teams and watch in wonder as the Olympians conquer great feats that we don’t even dream try! But did you know….

Right around the corner from the Olympics in Rio De Janeiro there are brothels of underage trafficked youth? It’s true. While we are lounging comfortably in our living rooms watching trained athletes competing in the Olympics, many are struggling to make it through another day. They are watching the competitors and spectators come and go, wishing for someone to save them, see them, hear them. You can find the story here.

Along the Highway of Death (Rodovia da Morte), girls as young as nine are being sold for sex. The area is known for it’s “unofficial bartering system.” ( I am not telling you this to ward you off the Olympics. In fact, quite the opposite: I want to tug on your heartstrings to pray for these youth every time you turn on the T.V. to watch. I want you to pray continually after the Olympics are long gone. I want you to yearn for change so much that you choose to go on a short-term project to serve in this area. If you cannot go, I want you to give to our organization so we can continue to serve youth such as these when we train up youth workers to reach the lost and broken. Will you pray, go, or give today?


But God

April Rothweiler, YouthHOPE

Recently I went on my 3rd Ends Cycling tour. On this particular ride we traveled across the beautiful state of Illinois. We peddled, drove, prayed, and witnessed across 300+ miles to make Jesus famous among youth in the Philippines. Despite the fact that we used our physical bodies and minds to do this, it was ultimately not us who made the impact, but God. He showed up over and over again. His majestic name was written all over this cycling tour, as it is on all the @EndsCycling tours. During this bike ride we were able to celebrate the life of Rick Reid and how he impacted so many for Jesus. Rick went to be with our Heavenly Father just a few short weeks prior to the ride. His life on this earth was short, but His reach was far. We were blessed to hear testimonies about Rick’s life, and through those stories I saw that he left a legacy that many of us only dream of. Every time I see someone wearing bright orange gym shorts I’ll think of “modest Rick” and how he shined brightly for the Lord. 

Mark McDowell, a global youth leader from the Philippines and one of the ride beneficiaries, joined us as we traveled across IL. Each night as we worshipped, he shared about youth in the Philippines that are involved with his ministry, PBJ (Philippines Basketball for Jesus). The life transformation and struggles he shared with us made our intercession to the Lord all the more powerful. As we prayed for Nido, Edgar, and Booboy, we began to know them personally and became invested in their lives. It doesn’t stop here, though. I am asking that you join us in continuing to lift their lives to Jesus so they may know His love and great mercy. Mark also shared with us that this ride has inspired him to expand PBJ into a basketball and bicycling ministry! But God! 

Lastly, I want to give a shout out to our other Filipino beneficiary, Albert Maglasang. Albert works as a Youth Pastor for CBC (City Bible Church) to disciple youth to be lights for Jesus. He always has a new and refreshing way to reach youth with the gospel. Currently he has a vision to expand his ministry to include a youth center where local teens can have a safe place to fellowship in Jesus’ name. Please join us in praying this dream into a reality so youth like; Vince, Camile, Elaine, and Sandra can find refuge in God.

It's not over yet

Josh Kaminsky, Global Youth Advocate/YouthHOPE Volunteer

This past June, I had the pleasure of joining Ends Cycling for their Great Lakes Bike Ride (GLBR). I got the pleasure of meeting Kaitlin, a youth who at the age of 16 was diagnosed with two heart conditions: Mitral Valve Prolapse and Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS). She had to all forms of physical activity and change her diet to limit caffeine (no pop, coffee or chocolate). According to her dad, she felt defeated.

Fast forward 3 years, and Kaitlin was so inspired by our other runners that she decided to run a little too. She had been cleared to start incorporating physical activities again and wanted to run for the youth of Haiti, which was the country GLBR was raising awareness for. Kaitlin was able to run a half marathon (13.1 miles) on her second day running with no issues with her heart! It was amazing to see her come to life with excitement for what God had done through her. As she ran, she prayed for the youth of Haiti and listened to “It’s not over yet” by For King and Country. Some of the lyrics say:“To everyone who’s hit their limit, It’s not over yet, It’s not over yet, And Even when you think your finished It’s not over yet, It’s not over yet. Keep on fighting. Out of the dark into the light, It’s not over. Hope is Rising. Never give in, Never give up, It’s not over yet.”

Kaitlin’s story is not over yet, even when she thought it was. If you are feeling down, I pray that you would realize it’s not over yet. God’s not done with you. He’s still telling your story, so don’t give up, keep fighting and trust that God has a plan for you still.