Finding the Sweet Spot

Last weekend was YoungLives Annual Fall Kick-Off.  This day is set aside to inform, equip and inspire current volunteers and future volunteers. I personally like to see and chat with new people who come because it’s obvious that God has tugged at their hearts and they’ve taken the brave, sometimes uncertain step in coming to the Kick-Off. I love to watch God move in people. Some people know right away which area they will serve in, some aren’t so sure but they sit and listen, ask questions and allow God to guide them.

This year was a little different because volunteers and leaders from other southern California areas of YoungLives joined our North OC area. We’re all part of this beautiful ministry and we felt the unity, all of us playing a part in this Young Life/YoungLives story.

Kristin and Sandy from East County (in San Diego) started off the day with a hilarious skit that had us laughing out loud! After this, Emilie Schreiber, the YoungLivesWestern Divisional Coordinator shared the history and vision of YoungLives. We then broke into small groups based on where we thought we might feel called to serve in the ministry – Mentors, Childcare, Club and Committee.  Each role is so vital and important to the success of this ministry so it was good to gather more in-depth information and have a chance to ask questions. The truth is that if people can catch the vision and heart of this ministry, it will make all the difference in how they serve. It helps to remember the WHY on those hard days or weeks and it inspires everyone to keep on going.

IMG_8527During the “Taco Guy” lunch we had more time to mingle with others, learn more about each other and share why we were there. Following lunch, we entered into one of my favorite parts of the day – a Personal Health and Growth speaker. Myrna always finds a speaker who inspires and challenges us to grow in our relationship with God and personally.  I for one never want to stay stuck, fall into complacency or apathy and so I look forward to these talks that always lead me to sharpen myself a bit more and be prepared for the upcoming season. This year, the Young Life Sr. Vice President of the Southwest Division, Brent Cunningham spoke to us and shared with us an “Abundant Life Pyramid” that consisted of tools and tips to live out an abundant life.  He encouraged us to continue to make Christ the center of our life, memorize scripture for those days when something gets thrown at us, be people of prayer, maintain ourselves spiritually, relationally & physically, have vision, love others, empower & serve others and be YOU – spend as much time as you can using the strengths and gifts that God has given YOU.  He calls this the “Sweet Spot”.  And it’s true, when you are operating out of how God has gifted you, a Holy Joy rises up inside.

2018FallKickOff-BrentCunninghamJoy – it’s a joy to serve in this ministry and walk alongside other people who also commit their time and talents to love on the teen parents and their children.  If you missed the Fall Kick-off but still would like information on how you can serve, please email Colleen at  If you can’t serve physically with us, but would like to serve through praying for this ministry, also email Colleen and she will have you added to a prayer team that receives weekly email prompts to pray for the ministry.

Chick Bryan :: Committee Member & Prayer Team Leader

If It Weren’t ‘Fore’ the Golf Tourney…

…we wouldn’t have all these great photos! Thank you to the day’s photographer, Becky Collins for capturing the heartbeat of the event! Thank you to Mike Nelson who has turned his passion for golf into a Passion Project benefiting YoungLives. Third time was the definite charm – more money raised this year to send teen moms and babies to camp than the prior two years – woot-woot!!!!


Passion Golf

A few years ago we rolled out our Passion Project idea. Simple – if you are passionate about something, turn it into a way to fundraise for YoungLives. If you’re running in a marathon – why not get sponsors, and have the monies go toward sponsoring teen moms & babies for Summer Camp? An essential oils gathering – great…how about raising funds for Club Nights. Hairstylist? – fabulous! Perhaps you can host a ‘cut-a-thon’ for a couple hours and donate the earnings towards Parenting Classes. You get the idea.

20375794_10213425380047416_1836449644261320563_nBut then, along comes Mike Nelson, a passionate golfer. He proposed to put on a golf tournament benefitting North OC YoungLives. A whole, entire GOLF TOURNAMENT! We think – WOW, that sounds amazing! (honestly, I thought – Mike, you’re crazy, that’s so BIG!) With the Lord walking alongside him as he figured it all out, prayed into it, and gathered volunteers, Mike passionately and successfully pulled off the 1st Annual North OC YoungLives Golf Tourney. Well over 100 golfers participated. There were prizes, lunch, dinner, silent auction, raffle prizes. A sweet testimony by one of the teen moms capped off the evening. Money was raised for Summer Camp and immediately (running off adrenaline I’m sure!), Mike reserved the golf course for 2017. And once again, with prayer and a lot of hard work – another successful event took place and a sweet gift given toward the Summer Camp fund. You can probably guess…Mike booked the course again for 2018.

13707568_10209798871786976_2780609845867228573_nAnd so here we are, reminiscing about the 3rd Annual Golf Tourney that took place August 1st. This one came with a few unexpected obstacles – several less golfers had signed up due to vacations and work obligations and just days before the tournament, Mike ended up in the hospital with an extreme case of vertigo. Of course, we all prayed relentlessly for Mike’s speedy and full recovery. We prayed for ourselves too because we didn’t know how to pull off Mike’s passion project without his passion! Most of us that volunteer for the tournament day don’t even play golf! Collectively, we prayed for the best, reminding each other that this was the Lord’s tournament. Thankfully Mike was released from the hospital, rested at home a few days and his sweet wife Chris began running with his directives.


IMG_5559Tournament day arrived and though there were less golfers, they were not lacking excitement! For many of them, this was the third time they had played for YoungLives. They were ready for all the day had in store – goodie bags, a box lunch, 18 holes of golf, several ‘extras’ at the holes including root beer floats, professional shoulder massages, a chance to win a brand new truck, ice cold drinks, and prizes. The golfers were treated to a delicious pasta dinner, winning trophies, silent auction, raffle prizes, and a chance to hear how they are impacting local teen moms, teen dads, and their children. Area Director, Myrna Bittar shared the YoungLives mission and introduced a precious teen mom named Diana who articulately shared the ways that YoungLives has changed her life and the life of her little girl. A teen mom standing in front of 80 golfers (the majority of them men) who quietly, intently listened – isn’t that amazing?!


Mike and Chris Nelson

Though he didn’t feel 100%, Mike was not only at the tournament, he worked so hard making sure everything ran smoothly, and guess what?!!!! The most successful golf tournament to date! Isn’t that just like the Lord?!!!

Colleen Drew, Area Office Admin


You Don’t Owe Us Anything

In July North OC YoungLives was able to host our first ever summer “dad’s camp weekend”, with some of the teen dads we’ve mentored over the last school year. God showed up BIG time over this weekend and we were blessed beyond belief with great conversation about Jesus and who He is to these dads. It was amazing to see how God works in the simplest ways by allowing these guys a weekend of fun and fellowship, away from what can often times be tough and stressful situations at home. I was able to see Jesus show up in the joy on these dad’s faces as we hung out over the weekend.

We were given the opportunity to stay at an amazing home with a pool, basketball court, BBQ, and awesome backyard setting.  We took the dads to a trampoline park, the beach, and spent a lot of time cooking and eating some great meals together. In the schedule, we had set aside specific times to talk about God but it was so cool to see the dads wanting to talk about life and God a lot more outside of these times as well.


On one of the days we were driving home from the beach, one of the guys asked me, “Why do you and the other mentors do this? You take off time from work, time away from your families, and you don’t owe us anything.” This question really took me aback and I had to think about it and then responded with the answer, “Jesus would do it, and we want to show you a glimpse of how Jesus loves each and every one of his children.”


The ability to work with these young dads has been an amazing blessing to me and has made me realize truly how much Jesus loves us and how simple it is to be an example and a light into these dads lives simply by showing them love and having some fun! I have seen God show up in some miraculous ways during my times at club, camps, and in mentoring the dads.


Joey (on the right), with one of our YoungLives guys.

Joey Wagner, YoungLives Mentor