In May, we were blessed to have a ministry briefing in the Atlanta area. We were very thankful to share with those present and see God use them to provide encouragement and support in the mission through their presence, partnership, and words. So for those who were not able to be there, here is a short video and a recap to follow.
We covered 5 key questions:
- What we do?
- Why we do it?
- Why now?
- What can people do in the next 5 minutes?
- What can people do in the next 5 months?
Regarding what we do, we establish local mentoring communities that equip orphans and at-risk youth for success in life through spiritual development, positive role models, and practical life skills. In 2016, there were 197 mentors and volunteers reaching over 1800 youth in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. We pursue this through training, spiritual retreats, forums, and partnership in outreach opportunities, in which we have the blessing to encourage, serve, and equip those God has called to be first responders to the significant needs of orphans and at-risk youth within their local communities.
Regarding why, we can look at various statistics that are grave, but going deeper, we are convicted and compelled by what God is doing and can do in the lives of the youth through the local mentoring communities often functioning in partnership with or existing as a ministry of the local church.
Why now? The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has led to many youth becoming refugees or orphans needing not only stability and resources, but the presence and friendship of a Godly servant-hearted mentor. In Russia and Belarus, more and more orphans are entering into the foster care system, and there is a great opportunity to equip and care for families, partnering with churches to provide mentoring relationships amidst the transitions. And of course, the need and opportunity only grow when the youth graduate and go to school or seek a career. God has uniquely equipped and positioned us to serve in these opportunities.
What can people do in the next 5 minutes? We offered at this ministry briefing an opportunity to commit to be a child sponsor, to write an encouraging note to a mentor, or to join a table where those attending could share their own experiences, share any wisdom, ask questions, or challenge us to see things from another angle. In each of these ways God truly showed up through those present with encouragement, commitment, and wisdom.
And lastly, for what people can do over the next 5 months, we shared several ways people can pull up a chair to the table of this ministry. This can be from being part of a project overseas, helping to send a team, supporting staff, writing encouraging letters, become a child sponsor, or host an event.
We truly believe that through a worldwide community of ministry partners, God is changing lives and history and YouthReach International is happy to serve along the way.