Youth For Christ Northeast Pennsylvania Shares Success Stories from 2020

January 4, 2021

SCRANTON, Pa. —Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) faced many challenges in 2020 due  to our nation’s COVID-19 pandemic. But the mission stayed strong, and consequently, there have been many positive stories that have been shared nationwide about the successes that YFC’s regional ministries have experienced.

The Northeast Pennsylvania Youth For Christ, headquartered in Scranton, Pennsylvania, recently shared a few of its 2020 success stories. These stories share faith and bring hope as the new year begins.

The first story is about Dominic, a teen boy who surrendered his life to Christ at a YFC spring outreach conference. Frank Passetti, the YFC Susquehanna County ministry coordinator, proudly shared a story about Dominic. “His was a name that almost every teacher dreaded seeing on their class list.  If there was trouble to be found, Dominic could find it. Fortunately for Dominic, there was one teacher who saw this ‘diamond in the rough’ for what he could become, not for what he currently was. The teacher had just become a Campus Life leader at Dominic’s high school. She set out to get Dominic to go to YFC’s spring outreach conference, ‘Breakaway,’ in Ocean City, MD. 

“‘Breakaway’ was just what Dominic needed. On the last day, he went forward to surrender his life to Christ. That was incredibly encouraging, but what happened next was even more encouraging. First and foremost, every teacher wondered, ‘What happened to Dominic?’ We didn’t wonder, we knew! He was a new creation and people were taking notice. Dominic came home from ‘Breakaway’ and his dad also noticed that something was different with his son. He asked his son ‘what was up’ and Dominic went on to share his salvation experience with his dad. Since ‘Breakaway,’ Dominic and his family attend church almost every week together and he has taken the step to be baptized.”  

The second story focuses on Caleigh, a teen girl who wasborn with a rare genetic disorder called Freidrich’s Ataxia. With this disorder, it is unlikely that she will live past her mid-20’s. “Confined to a wheelchair, Caleigh takes on every day with more courage and enthusiasm than almost any person that I know,” said Passetti. “I may be Caleigh’s Campus Life leader, but she is my hero. I’ve watched her allow her friends to carry her on and off a bus at camps and conferences with grace, humor and humility. I’ve seen her share her testimony in front of 50 students. I’ve been run over by her in her motorized shopping cart in Walmart. I’ve seen her go tubing behind a ski boat at Lake Wallenpaupack. 

“There is nothing that she won’t try because, as Caleigh often puts it, ‘I don’t want to look back when I can’t do these things and wish that I had tried.’ She is living proof that God is our refuge and strength in times of trouble.”

The third story describes Samantha, a teen girl who accepted Christ’s forgiveness in 2020. “When Samantha came to our Campus Life Kick off last year as a freshman, she was very quiet and stuck to sitting by a friend that invited her,” said Jerry “Maj” Major, III, Northeast Pennsylvania Youth For Christ executive director.  “Throughout the fall of 2019 she didn’t talk a lot but had a sweet disposition. We found out later that she and her family had attended church very sporadically, but she did not really understand a relationship with Jesus. In March 2020, Samantha attended the ‘Breakaway Conference’ with us. She and two friends went forward that Saturday night at the invitation to accept Christ’s forgiveness. This gave me a great opportunity to share what Christ’s love and forgiveness could mean in her life and she accepted Christ.

“Just after they closed the schools, Samantha’s mom contacted me to say that her mother, Samantha’s grandmother, was in a nursing home and died from the Coronavirus. The virus had spread to Samantha’s mom, her dad and aunt who they take care of in their home. Though Samantha never contracted the virus, it was very upsetting for her and sad losing her grandmother.  The following is a paragraph Samantha’s mom wrote to show her gratitude for YFC/Campus Life:

‘Hi, my name is Pamela. I have a beautiful daughter, Samantha. Two years ago, she came home and said that her friend invited her to attend a party at Campus Life. My daughter wanted to go with her friend but she was nervous about attending the party because she was painfully shy. I checked out Campus Life and my friends told me how their children loved going to events hosted by Campus Life.  I encouraged my daughter to attend a meeting and have some fun with her friend. Samantha came home after the first meeting and said it was fun, but she only talked to two of her friends. I encouraged her to keep attending the meetings and somewhere along the way she started getting excited about going to the meetings. After a couple of months my daughter started looking people in the eye when she talked to them. I feel that Campus Life helped her to find her voice.  

‘Samantha went on a trip with the group in the Spring and had a wonderful time. During the Pandemic, Jerry “Maj” and Jasmine (volunteer) made a point to reach out to our children and ask how they and their families were doing. My daughter even received some counseling sessions with Campus Life because my mother-in-law lost a four-year battle with cancer in April. My mother and my household had the Coronavirus and her grandfather had medical issues as well. It was wonderful that Samantha had a safe space to discuss her feelings with adults that wanted to help her express and come to terms with the grief she felt.’”

Stories like those shared by the Northeast Pennsylvania Youth For Christ provide testimony that the mission of YFC thrives in the continued and dedicated ministry of its regional leaders, teens and their families. YFC will continue to share these good news success stories to build on its ever-growing ministry.

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.

Visit the Youth For Christ media page here. Learn more about Youth For Christ at its website, www.yfc.netFacebook and Instagram pages, Twitter feed @yfcusa or on Vimeo.

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To interview a Youth For Christ representative, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Jeff Tolson, 610.584.1096, ext. 108, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.