High Hopes


I sat across the table from James* as he sipped his coffee. His presence was cold and bitter. He was only 14 years old, but he seemed older as he casually used vulgar language and projected a tough exterior.

I started meeting with him to help him with his schoolwork, but we often found ourselves talking about other things. I asked him what his goals were for the future and I was floored by his answer.

“I don’t really think about the future… If I made goals and didn’t meet them that would just be one more disappointment in my life.”

My heart was broken for him.

But everything changed as James continued to be involved with YFC. Strong Christian men and women began to build relationships with him, showing him the love of Jesus through their kindness and investment. They didn’t recoil from his rough exterior, but pressed in, believing in him and desiring the best for him.

This faithful investment changed James’ life.

James is now 17 years old and his life looks remarkably different. While he hasn’t completely turned his life over to God, he no longer does drugs, runs with gangs, and gets arrested. He is off probation now, works a full-time job, bought a car with legal, clean money, and has a baby boy that he loves deeply. He attends an online homeschooling program where he is working hard to get his diploma.

Because of the grace of God and the unconditional love of the people in his life, James now has high hopes for his future.

This is why we do what we do at Youth For Christ. In Matthew 18:12 we see the heart of Jesus, who would leave the 99 sheep to look for the 1 sheep that wandered off. We seek out the least and the lost so that we can be the love of Christ to them.

We have volunteers who work with at-risk kids throughout the week when they are released from the facility. We have prayer warriors, friends, tutors, and mentors who care about these kids. We eat with them, laugh with them, and cry with them.

I don’t think any of us have looked back once and thought to ourselves that we wish we weren’t doing this ministry because it is truly built into the fiber of our hearts.

*Name changed

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