A Weekend With Our Partners

Last Sunday, North OC YoungLives was invited to share at three local churches about the amazing work God has been doing in the lives of teen moms and dads. We were so humbled (and very excited) about the invitations! As we head into another school year, it was a fun opportunity to let some of our partner churches know more about the ministry as well as invite new volunteers to join us!  After four years of ministry in Huntington Beach, we are excited about launching a second club in Santa Ana in the coming year. We have a big year ahead of us and we can’t wait!

Refuge Visit Aug 2015In Huntington Beach, we’ve partnered with both Refuge Calvary Chapel and RockHarbor Huntington Beach. Refuge has been the host site for our club since they opened their doors to us three years ago. At services last weekend, people were moved by a video we showed about YoungLives and the chance to see the impact of this ministry firsthand. Many people came to the table just to give Myrna and Yousef a word of encouragement for the work we’ve been doing. We had nearly 30 people sign up to volunteer in the coming year and many of them were excited to hear that this is a ministry that takes place at Refuge each month. It was really special to meet so many people from the congregation!

At RockHarbor Huntington Beach (RHHB), we had the IMG_1554privilege of showing a video about summer camp and the incredible impact it has had on teen moms and their babies. We have seen dozens of lives transformed through the summer camp experience – teen moms and volunteers alike and we are grateful for the part that ROCKHARBOR has played in making this possible. A core group of our volunteers attend RHHB so it was fun for so many of them to use this opportunity to share more with their friends about YoungLives. We’re looking forward to some new faces from RHHB joining us to volunteer this year.

Yoast-11With the anticipated launch of YoungLives in Santa Ana, we are very excited about partnering with Emmaus Church. We currently have about 15 teen moms and dads attending club in Huntington Beach and we are looking forward to launching a club closer to home for them. This will also allow our Huntington Beach club to continue to grow by immediately freeing up space at our monthly club gatherings. And the Santa Ana teens will be able to invite their friends to a club in their own city!

We are incredibly grateful for our church partners and the countless ways they come alongside us to serve teen moms and dads and their children! This is truly a ministry of partnership as none of us could do it alone. We are looking forward to what God has in store for us in the year ahead. If you have ever considered jumping in to serve somewhere in YoungLives, now is your time! Our Fall Kick-off is TOMORROW (8/29, 8:30a-1:30p) and it’s not too late for you to join us! Email us to let us know you plan to join us!

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He Has Made Everything Beautiful In It’s Time

KylieBW-2It is with great excitement I announce the hiring of Kylie Bradley as our new YoungLives Intern! Kylie has a huge heart for ministry and sharing the Gospel with others. She spent 6 months being trained up as a missionary with YWAM in Hawaii and Ghana last year and she continues to live life as a mission field here in Orange County.

Kylie has spent the last 2 years helping in childcare at YoungLives and being available to jump in wherever she has been needed. This summer she joined us as a leader at camp and had a tremendous impact on the teen moms from North Orange County. If you missed her blog post about her camp experience you can read it here. I have seen her consistently volunteer at Rockhabor Church services and build meaningful relationships with families in the community. I am not only excited about working with her but also about seeing the impact she will have on the ministry, our volunteers, and the teen moms and dads. Please pray for Kylie as she transitions into this new position and join me in welcoming her!

NicoleMaxAJI am thankful for evidence of God’s hand in this ministry and our lives as He made it possible for us to hire Kylie (and for her to accept the position) at the right time. As we say goodbye to Nicole Maiocco, who has spent the last 10 months working with us to build systems that will serve the ministry for years to come, we are excited to send her off to a place that will be incredibly blessed by her passion and gifting. We are grateful to our ministry partner ReGenesis for the gift of hiring Nicole to work with us and we are excited to see how she is used in her new position at her sons’ school, Calvary Christian School in Santa Ana.

Please join me in praying for this new ministry year as we prepare for our Fall Kick-Off training next week and anticipate the teen moms and dads that we will be meeting in the weeks to come.

InItsTime

Just Show Up

Just show up.

When Myrna asked me to write about my experience this past school year with YoungLives, I agreed with enthusiasm. I have felt that words have been bubbling up within me and perhaps this would help to process what the heck happened when I agreed to “just show up”.

Somewhere between 2013 coming to a close and 2014 fast approaching—(the year I would be turning 50) I became very uncomfortable. I was challenged by sermons, books and blogs. I could hear that still small voice inviting me. The problem is that when I get quiet, when I listen to God’s very still small voice in my heart, when I pay attention to what makes me feel alive and joyful and in my place (as opposed to displaced), it almost never revolves around being awesome.

It looks more like being present.

And being peaceful.

And being less grabby and afraid everything is about to run out.

And being generous.

And being at home with my people—my three adult daughters and my Saint Bernard!

And being in my kitchen.

And being ordinary.

I showed up for a teen surf camp the summer of 2014 with the Oakview community, and I showed up at a YoungLives kick off meeting where I expressed an interest in mentoring a teen mom, while I was also wrapping up classes to become a foster parent through the County of Orange. I almost forgot to mention that I listed “interested in a teen” on my application.

Can you guess by now that I’m a little crazy about teens? The messier, the wonkier, the further out from the bull’s-eye—the better. The word “awkward” is practically synonymous with the word “teenager” — every adolescent undergoes a difficult physical and emotional transformation as he or she transitions from childhood to adulthood. Unfortunately, that awkward quotient messes some of us over more than others; all teen angst is not created equal.

I understand God best through people; their gifts and strengths, their love and compassion, their character and courage. I sincerely believe we were made in God’s image, and when I evaluate the goodness of people, I love God more. I crave a world of justice where people are safe, loved, empowered. I plan to use whatever influence I’ve been given on behalf of edged-out people—especially teens for all my days.

When I showed up at YoungLives committing to the role of a mentor, devoting myself to a teen mom and her son, I admit I thought it would look so very different. Not a surprise. Loving this young girl and her son continues to teach me, stretch me, and even prepared me in some ways to embark on the challenge of fostering a teen. In February of this year a 15 year old spit fire of a girl was placed in my home. We like to say “she is a force to be reckoned with”. What I’ve gleaned from my relationship with these two young ladies is that they both have a hard time trusting others. It was hard enough parenting my three daughters through their teen years, but it’s even tougher when the teen hasn’t had much of a start in life. How do you undo at least 13+ years worth of hurt, anger, and disappointment? I would try to teach these girls how to act appropriately, how to trust, and how to be responsible. One girl has built walls around her heart to keep out fear and pain and another girl has been let down so many times that she can’t see any reason to believe me.

Paul told us in Romans: “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor.” This would pretty much solve it. If I am devoted to you, if I prefer to honor you than disprove you, then we can preserve loving community in the midst of thousands of differences, even monumental ones. As long as I prefer the sound of my own voice and the affirmation of my choices, then brotherhood and sisterhood is hopeless. Sure, we must love our neighbors as much as ourselves, but as themselves.

Life is too short to live small and afraid and disgenuine and guarded. Just go ahead and live your one wild and beautiful and spectacular life with all the you-ness you can muster.

Following God’s Call

Hi, my name is Kylie Bradley I am 20 years old and live in Huntington Beach. I had the amazing opportunity to be a leader at this years YoungLives camp!

Here’s my story…

For the past few years I have felt the Lord calling me into ministry. A year and a half ago, after graduating from high school, I went away to YWAM (Youth With a Mission) for six months. During this time I lived in Hawaii and Ghana using my gifts to help bring joy and the love of Jesus to people all over the world. Ever since I returned home I’ve prayed about where the Lord might want to use me here locally in Huntington Beach. I’ve been involved in YoungLives for the past year or so volunteering at club once a month, but I always knew there was supposed to be more. I wanted to get to know these girls personally on another level.

_MG_1394 (1) copyWhen Myrna called me a few nights before camp and asked me to come as a leader, I knew this was it. This was my opportunity. I really felt the Lord telling me to go for it. So I did!

This camp was filled with crazy adventures, lots of fun, and awesome memories but more importantly made me realize this may be the direction the Lord is calling me in long term.

Here are some of the highlights from my time at camp….

_MG_1148 copyThe moment we arrived at camp we hit the ground running! (literally) After our first club we wandered into the dark forest with our war paint on and prepared ourselves for the unknown. We jumped right into an obstacle course complete with mud pits, swinging ropes, and tires to jump through. It was a blast and a great way to start our time at camp. Throughout the camp, our days were filled with lots of fun activities.

One night near the end of camp, we had a dance party with foam bubbles 1383740_10101679800762907_110054890240644813_nand ended it by jumping into the pool with all of our clothes on! I was encouraged by watching the girls conquer their fears whether it was doing a ropes course, riding horses, or zip lining. They faced their fears and went for it! It was so fun getting to know all of these beautiful girls, walking alongside them and encouraging them on their various journeys.

After attending camp and spending time with all of these wonderful people, I feel so blessed and honored to be able to be a part of such an amazing ministry. I’m super excited to see how the Lord might use me in the future with YoungLives, and what doors He may open for me to walk through!

_MG_1288 copyThanks for reading!

xx, Kylie