A Glimpse of Heaven
By Baileigh Trulove
There is something so beautiful about getting to live out the phrase “gathered in His name.” We gathered under one God, one mission, one vision: for teens to know Jesus. Partners of this mission came together and celebrated all the Lord has done across the continent of Africa. Joy exuded daily through the sounds of worship being sung, prayers being sent to our Father, and laughter rippling through the air! Even these glimpses of heaven, however, struggle to compare with the excursions taken by smaller groups. My group specifically visited a house of prayer that has been partnering with Young Life Africa for the past 20 years. Before even stepping through the threshold of this holy building, passionate songs of worship resounded. We were gleefully invited in and partook in this sacred ritual. As harmonies slowed down, we all gathered to listen to these prayer warriors share bits and pieces of God’s glory and power through answered prayers, time and time again. From blessing the local ministry with exponential growth to healing loved ones in miraculous ways, simply listening to these testimonies was a blessing in itself. The entire room could feel the power of the Spirit move within the place, and our friends knew they would be remiss to leave before being prayed over. One by one, brothers and sisters stood up and unveiled their raw struggles, and the entire room prayed together as one body in Christ. While this is just a minuscule glimpse of the 2023 Young Life Africa Celebration, I hope it has encouraged you to come and see just how much this place, this ministry, and its people can bless you in the future.
Patricia’s Life Transformed
By Beth Toy
Patricia lives in the Boko California section of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. As a teen, she played soccer and she and her friends loved to hang out with boys that were part of the football fraternity and to live large. She met her Young Life leader in the neighborhood, started going to the Young Life club, and thought it would be fun to go to camp. While she was there, she heard about the love of Jesus and realized that the life she was leading would only leave her wanting. She stood up at the club at camp to say yes to Jesus.
When Patricia came back from camp, she really embraced following Jesus. She was on the work crew and was chosen for leadership development. It proved difficult to return to her old life as a changed person, and sometimes the new life had some of the old pitfalls. A local prayer partner offered her a place to be with kids in the neighborhood, but it turned out he really had eyes for her. When she didn’t reciprocate, he threw her out. She then tried to use her house as a gathering, but her dad said no. She then convinced her pastor to let her use a space, and this opened up the joy of ministry for her. She continued to grow in faith and eventually became part of the Developing Global Leaders program, where she could go to school and volunteer for Young Life while having all of her expenses paid. Then in 2020, she became pregnant.
Patricia thought about ending the pregnancy. She was rejected by her church, lost her position in leadership in Young Life, and was despairing. Instead, she delivered Precious, who she is holding in this photo. Patricia reconciled with the church and came back under care. She also began to lead again. Her mom agreed to find a venue in the neighborhood that she could use for ministry. In a mostly Muslim neighborhood, she uses their home to host Campaigners and a neighborhood club. Living there, she shows the very heart of God for those around Him. She has become friends with other teen moms who can’t go to school and who suffer a lot of humiliation because of their situation. They get to hear from her how much their Father in heaven loves them and their babies. And in ADDITION to that, she runs a club at a local school and is hoping to get into another. Besides being a VOLUNTEER, she works a job that enables her to support her family. Patricia was changed by the love of Jesus through her Young Life leader, and she wants to replicate that by offering her life to His service.
The Soccer Field As Holy Ground
By Mack Self
Our group headed to a neighborhood called Salasala. Here, there is nothing teens love more than playing soccer, and the soccer fields are where most Young Life leaders spend time with them. As we walked through the streets of the neighborhood, we made an intentional stop at the soccer field to proclaim it as holy ground as teenagers ran across it. We prayed for each young heart to know Jesus’ love for them as they encountered a Young Life leader there.
Next, we made a stop at the home of Martha, a YoungLives leader in Salasala. She shared about what teen mom ministry looked like here and shared her vision and dreams for her personal ministry, and we got a chance to meet her daughter. It was obvious how proud and passionate she was when sharing about YoungLives. She invited us into her home where we prayed over the space that she holds.
At the end of our walk, we met up with a few more local leaders, named Vicent, Nicolas, and Yeusef, and heard their personal testimonies of how Young Life changed their lives. To end our afternoon in Salasala, we shared a meal together in the building where they hold clubs and prayed over them — that they would hold fast to their vision and to go out in boldness to reach more lost teens. My husband Eli and I left so encouraged by our friends and know that we will be better Young Life leaders in our own club because of their faithfulness.