Dear UYWI Family,
I was recently trying to explain to a brand new believer what the bible was. I’ve heard people describe the bible as God’s “manual” for living. Personally, I think that doesn’t do the bible justice. I prefer to describe it as a collection of stories, told from the beginning of time, from many different perspectives that collectively tell ONE story – the redemptive story of God’s amazing grace and love for humanity. I love stories and find them to be a great way to teach. Jesus loved to tell stories. He told stories about nature, weddings, feasts, court rooms, money, work relationships, family reunions and fishing all in an effort to help those listening see the bigger picture of the Kingdom of Heaven.
Here at UYWI we too believe in the power of stories. The impact of what we do, equip and disciple youth workers through our leadership development and training programs, cannot always be told simply by numbers. To understand the real impact of what we do, you need to hear the stories. Stories like that of Chuck, a young Caucasian youth worker I spoke with, who found himself in a church youth group made up of mostly gang bangers and other tough cases with little idea what to do, or where to turn, until he heard about UYWI. Stories like that of Jose, a young Latino who grew up involved in gangs and drugs until he found Christ, then turned his life around, received his degree in Youth Ministry and is now serving as an urban missionary to kids just like him in one of the poorest cities in the nation. These are the stories that tell the bigger picture of the Kingdom and inspire us to keep doing what we’re doing.
This year, with your generous support, we have trained nearly 1,500 youth workers through Regional Trainings such as Reload and Thrive and have enrolled 60 youth workers through our 90 Degree Certification Program. May 2014 we are excited to bring our National Conference back to the West Coast. We will also continue to roll out our regional training and certifications programs throughout the country and we have plans to utilize technology in an exciting new way to expand our reach and impact into something we are calling the Urban Youth Nation.
We believe that as a result of UYWI’s efforts, the youth workers we serve who are working in some of the toughest zip codes in our nation, are better equipped to reach more youth with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and sustain their ministries for the long haul. None of this would be possible without your partnership and prayer so thank you!
Will you prayerfully consider continuing on this journey with us in 2014? Our hope is that together we will write a new story, one of victory for the Kingdom as we reach a new generation of urban youth for the cause of Christ.
In deepest gratitude,
UYWI Board Member & Executive Pastor, 7th Street Church