Bringing the Gift of Jesus through Group Home Visits
January 18, 2021
FRESNO, CA— Every day in Fresno and Madera counties, at community centers, high schools, middle schools, juvenile institutions, coffee shops, and local hangouts, Fresno/Madera Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) staff and volunteers meet with young people who need Jesus. Fresno/Madera YFC is a rural, suburban, and urban ministry on a mission to share the saving love of Jesus with teens.
Patient Matadi, group life coordinator for Fresno/Madera YFC’s Group Homes Ministry, works closely with area teens currently needing spiritual guidance while living in a group home. “Our schedule is to visit each group home twice a week. On the first visit, we bring something like pizza, so that we can sit at a table with the kids. We also provide Bibles, so we may study the Bible together. The second visit finds us holding one-on-one talks with the teens.”
Matadi explained how important these one-on-one conversations are. “We need to remember that these kids are not siblings. They’re not friends. They come from different parts of the city or the county. They are put together in a group home and they often try to just live in a survival mode. It is important for us to get to know them – to learn their personal story.”
Recently, Matadi, shared a story about a moment when he realized how much the Fresno/Madera YFC group home visits were truly resonating with the teens. “Once during a visit while we were conducting a Bible study, the phone rang and it was the parent of one of the boys. He got on the phone, and surprised me when he said, ‘Mom, can I call you back? I’m in church with Patient right now.’ That was an eye opener for me – it changed my view. I realized in that moment that for these kids, we are their church. We are coming to their home and bringing them the gospel.”
Two weeks after that visit, the teen left the group home, and called Matadi. “He called to let me know that he was getting baptized on that day!”
According to Matadi, the Fresno/Madera YFC’s Group Homes Ministry has four part-time staff and less than ten volunteers splitting their time among 27 group homes in their area. They celebrated Christmas with the teens during December visits, and make a point of remembering birthdays as well. “We get to know the kids better with each visit and show them our love by being present in their lives every week, and by bringing them the gift of Jesus.”
Over 160 YFC chapters across the nation seek out and serve youth from all walks of life. Many teens are silently struggling through a variety of challenging issues—and now they see the living power of a loving God.
Youth For Christ staff and volunteers are encouraged by the YFC 3Story concept, which is based on the belief that kids will be reached for Christ when met at their point of need—and as workers connect their stories with Jesus’s story. The ministry efforts of Youth For Christ are changing lives, one young person at a time.
Youth For Christ’s 3Story encourages staff and volunteers to be good news while also sharing the stories of the Good News of Jesus. It involves building relationships through the ups and downs of everyday life in order to lead people to Christ. For more information, visit 3Story.org.
Nationally, Youth For Christ is telling inspiring stories through#YFCBeTheStory, an initiative to help spread the word across the nation about how YFC chapters are making a difference in their communities.
Youth For Christ has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Rev. Billy Graham served as YFC’s first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on mission, and it is always about the message of Jesus. YFC reaches young people everywhere, working together with the local church and other like-minded partners to raise up lifelong followers of Jesus who lead by their godliness in lifestyle, devotion to the Word of God and prayer, passion for sharing the love of Christ, and commitment to social involvement. Youth For Christ operates in over 100 nations and has more than 160 chapters that impact communities across America.
To interview a Youth For Christ representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.