A Beautiful Smile

The Lord always provides. While we are busy worrying about what will happen next, who will fill the gap, and so on God is already putting the right pieces into place. We got to witness this when a new volunteer, Nichol Duenes, joined us at our Fall Kick-Off Training in August. She wanted to serve and love on teen moms and didn’t know exactly how she could be used. One of our volunteers that had faithfully done decorations at club for the last few years had recently relinquished this part of her role and we had no idea what we were going to do without her. Our Club Coordinator mentioned this to Nichol and she said “this is absolutely my favorite thing to do!” Along with another volunteer, Nichol has blessed all of us so much by adorning the room with beautiful decorations month after month. Nichol got to witness how extra special this added touch makes the young mamas at club feel just this last week…

“After setting up for Club each month and volunteering with table decor and fresh flowers, I have the privilege of hanging out with all the moms and the volunteers.
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Watching guarded hearts open up with relief knowing that each girl is welcomed into this loving environment; that’s something that I really enjoy observing. Just this last week at Club, we raffled fresh flowers as part of a giveaway and as one of the sweet moms was given her raffle gift, she was wearing the most beautiful smile as she said she has never been given flowers before. I knew, as soon as she said those words, that she was genuinely thankful for Young Lives. I was thankful too, to have been there to see this happen. And to remember why serving these girls, while glorifying Jesus and allowing Him to use me, can make a big impact by showing kind hearts.

Nichol Duenes

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Nichol at the Fall Kick-Off Training back in August (second from the left)

 

 

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Nhi’s Story.

My name is Erika Lieu and it’s my first year serving as a mentor for Young Lives. It has been a privilege to get to know a few of the young moms personally even if it was just for a season. I admire you all for your courage of stepping up and doing all you can for your precious babies.

I want to share the story of one of the moms that I’ve been so blessed to get to know. Her name is Nhi Arias. She’s been part of young lives since last year. I just met her a few months ago. She was a bit shy at first but is such a sweet girl. She told me about her family and their disapproval and her struggles as a new mom. She enjoys coming to club and hanging out with the other moms. She doesn’t feel alone. I would ask her what she thought about the messages she’d hear at club and she said its nice and all but since she’s a Buddhist, she couldn’t believe that stuff.

A few weeks ago, she was having a tough night. She fought with her mom earlier and was just feeling alone and hopeless. As her baby and boyfriend slept, she sat there weeping. Suddenly she felt a great warmth around her and knew it was God’s presence. She said she realized that even if her family was against her, she knew God loved her and had been showing her his love through people at young lives and at the clinic she was attending that without knowing her were pouring out love to her. God had always been there and for the first time she felt that He was real and loves her no matter what. The next day when we spoke she told me she felt like a whole new person and knew that God was her father, loves her unconditionally and that everyone had to know.
I was just in awe hearing her express her new found faith in God. This verse came to mind about how God makes us new.

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone, a new life has begun”  2 Corinthians 5:17

It doesn’t matter what your life is like now, God can make it new. I just want you all to know how precious you each are to God and how much he loves you and continues to pursue you. I’m excited to see how God is working in Nhi’s life. I can’t wait to see her reach her goals in life. She’s a much happier person now with more confidence knowing that God is with her every step on the way.IMG_9754

Being welcomed back with open arms

Hi my name is Yaneliz I’m 19 and I have a beautiful 2 year old and her name is Harmony.

I got introduced to YoungLives when I was pregnant and have been involved ever since then. I went to camp, go to club, and started going to church when Myrna invited us. We weren’t sure because we had only gone to Catholic Church before. In the past we felt like people at church would look down on you and judge you because you have a child so young so we finally decided to go and it was amazing not only where you welcomed but I felt like family they love you and don’t judge you. Me and my boyfriend both graduated from High School and I am in college now.

So Sunday was our first time back at church for what seemed like an eternity and well we got there. And you just feel this sense of belonging not only because you know people there but because every one welcomes you back with open arms. Not only did it feel good to come back but I saw that my daughter was so happy and playing she was so excited to show me her painting I’ve never seen her that happy than Sunday morning at church.IMG_2679

Being a teen mom is hard but not impossible and YoungLives has really taught me a lot I’m so glad we have them in our lives and we couldn’t have asked for a better person like Myrna she’s like our second mom. I am looking forward to going back to church with my daughter and boyfriend next week!

 

-Yaneliz

Nothing can separate us from His love.

On Tuesday we had our second official Santa Ana club! It was so great to see both new and familiar faces. Over a year ago I started volunteering with Younglives at the Huntington Beach Clubs, and it quickly became evident that God was beginning a great work in Santa Ana as well. It has been so exciting to be a part of what He is up to here. We had a Valentines theme for this club, which was displayed in the beautiful centerpieces, the message, the crafts, and the yummy cupcakes and candies (I personally ate about 7 pieces).

After a delicious dinner of lasagna, the night was kicked off with a hysterical game/skit, followed by a great message. Mike Rigdon, who is planting a church in Santa Ana, shared a message of love that goes deeper than all of the Valentine’s candies and teddy bears. He told of the love that Jesus has for us. Even though we ALL have sin within us, Christ came and died on the cross and then rose three days later for YOU and ME. In this, He bore the weight of all of our sin and shame and conquered sin and death. The same power that rose Jesus from the grave lives inside of us. He did this out of abundant grace. How cool is that?! Although we all wrestle with sin, there is hope beyond this struggle. Jesus will lead us into His victory over sin each day as we surrender ourselves to Him. His love is far greater than anything we could fathom. WOAH.

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Maria,Cristen,Laurie and Ellen at Club

After the message, the guys went out and played a soccer game while the girls decorated and personalized their own mugs and filled them with candy. We shared a lot of laughs, and I was very impressed with their decorating skills! It was so sweet to gather with all of the girls, their boyfriends, their babies, and the incredible volunteers as we celebrated a day dedicated to love. I am so thankful for God’s continual provision in Younglives. Tonight I was reminded that Jesus is for us. There’s nothing you or I can do for Him to stop loving us. This is the best Valentine’s gift I could possibly imagine. Thank you Jesus.

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Karime decorating her mug at Club!

-Ellen Bosch