The Power of Love

“If you ask any of the young teens we work with what they like best about Youth For Christ, most of the time they will say somebody’s name.”

This statement rings true in YFC ministry sites across the country. Over the years, we have been privileged to see the impact loving relationships have on 11- to 19-year-old kids.

One kid in particular stands out: Jules.

When Jules was a kid, he was caught up in the wrong crowd, facing pressures towards gangs and drugs, but today, people describe him as a man of God, humble and full of integrity. He serves, loves, and cares for the kids in the YFC after-school program he runs.

Jules explains how he went from a kid caught up in the wrong crowd to a man who is changing the lives of kids in his hometown:

“I had friends but I felt alone. My friends were involved in drugs, gangs, and all kinds of trouble. I knew I was going in the wrong direction. I knew I needed help. But I didn’t have anyone to go to.

I met a guy playing football. I got to know him and he introduced me to his mentor. One day they broke down the Gospel for me in a way that was easy to understand. I was convicted.

But it wasn’t just that they shared the Gospel – I didn’t even accept Jesus the first time they told me – it was the brotherhood they created with me. Playing sports, taking me to get food; their friendship made me feel like I wasn’t alone. I realized I wanted the life they had, and I accepted Jesus.”

When Jules accepted Christ, his life changed. At 19 years old, he started volunteering with Youth For Christ. He explains how the love he was shown by these two guys compelled him to do the same for others:

“As I listened to the stories of the kids, I realized their stories were similar to mine. I tried to figure out ways I could help. I didn’t want them to go in the same direction I went as a kid.”

Most of the kids Jules works with are hurting. Some have been abandoned by their parents or their parents are working so hard to make ends meet that they are never at home.

“The love I was shown by those two guys gave me a blueprint for how to love these kids. I know they don’t have a lot of people they can trust. There’s a lot of people who walk away from them. These guys cared for me and loved me, so I want to share that same love with the kids.”

Soon after he started volunteering at Youth For Christ, Jules connected with Peter, a young guy who had recently accepted Christ. Peter’s dad wasn’t around for a lot of his life, and Jules knew what it was like to grow up without a father. So he stepped in and looked after Peter.

Peter explains, “After I decided to follow Jesus, I needed someone to guide me. That person was Jules. Jules is my father figure. He teaches me right from wrong. When I’m bad or disrespectful, he talks to me like a dad. That’s a big deal to me because it’s just my mom at home. He’s a role model to me.”

Jules explains, “Growing up where they do, these kids don’t see much hope. But they see me and how authentic Jesus is in my life. They see that there’s still struggles I deal with, but there’s someone I’m leaning on who helps me get through it. They see the similarities in their life and mine and they realize, “if God can change this person he can probably do something in me.”

As these kids spend time with a YFC mentor day after day, they see that the music they listen to is different. They see that their marriages are different. They are able to see them humbly ask for forgiveness when they make mistakes. In these life-on-life relationships - as a leader models Christ – these kids see Jesus. 

Jules. Peter. Andrea. James. Adrian. Brandon.

People loving people loving people. Building relationships. Passing the love and hope of Christ from one person to the next.

This is the heartbeat of Youth For Christ.

We are committed to pursuing Loving Relationships with lost kids in order to engage them in life-long relationships with Jesus. Learn more here.

“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 
And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” 2 Corinthians 5:14-15

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