‘Knowing that I have a chance to speak truth where lies have been spread, to rebuild broken bridges, makes it all worth it’
March 28, 2022
EUGENE, Ore.— Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) strives to engage youth with the timeless message of Jesus Christ. As America celebrates Women’s History Month, Lane County YFC recognizes the women who partner with YFC in their mission to build relationships with young people and share the Gospel with youth. Sheldon Area Campus Life Director Jessica Olsen leads by example as she heads the charge to create meaningful relationships with youth not only for the next generation of women, but young people everywhere.
Olsen described the interactions that inspire her to continue building these meaningful relationships, stating, “I have a group of eighth grade girls who are sweet, sassy, and super trendy. As I have gotten to know each of their stories, I hear more and more how the church has been misrepresented and harmful to them. They have heartbreaking stories of people claiming to know and follow Jesus, but who have deeply wounded these children. Through friendship and trust, I have been able to share what Jesus is really like, and that keeps me coming back. Knowing that I have a chance to speak truth where lies have been spread, to rebuild broken bridges, makes it all worth it.”
Experiencing God at the early age of eight, Olsen believes that the main misconception people have about students is that they are too young to understand. In her experience, “God’s story and transformation transcends age.” This is why Olsen is so passionate about coming alongside youth and pointing the way to the Gospel—no matter the age, God can reach anyone with His love and grace.
Olsen explained, “I think we shy away from certain questions and conversations because we are scared that we don’t know it all, when really this is the design for discipleship—to grow in knowledge and the pursuit of it by leading others.”
Olsen also remarked on her journey leading at YFC, highlighting that God has stretched her faith as He calls her to put her trust solely in the Lord. Leaning into God’s provision and surrendering her daily life to Him allows Olsen to truly lead her students by example.
“God has been teaching me that ultimately, the worries of this world do not worry him,” Olsen commented. “If I put my trust in him, my peace is not shaken. When I put my trust in a number, an outcome, a positive interaction with a student, then my peace is stolen away when things don’t go as planned. True peace is found in trusting God with all things and surrendering all parts of my life to him.”
YFC chapters impact thousands of communities across the nation, seeking out and serving youth from all walks of life. Young people are silently struggling through a wide variety of challenging issues—and through the YFC ministry God empowers, they see the living power of a loving God. YFC trains its leaders in a proven, relational ministry model called 3Story®, which 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 to lead people to Christ.
YFC 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 over 130 chapters that impact communities across America.