Young In The World + Raising A Child

The first time I heard about YoungLives, my heart could not stop recalling James 1:27… it says: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Teen parents often face many of the same struggles a widow would face… young in the world and raising a child often without a support system to encourage them or financial means to bear the weight of parenting.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard it would be to do that alone. God laid heavily upon my heart that each one of these kids is a future world changer, but without guidance, encouragement, and someone to fall back on they may never have the opportunities to become what they are capable of.
Ever since that day, I knew this was an organization I could get my heart behind.  In the midst of all that, my husband and I were beginning the process of church planting and I knew that YoungLives would be something we would immediately rally around as a church. Even though we are still 1-year young, I am excited for all that we will be able to do in the years to come. So, for now, we do what we can!
Our goal is to recruit the body of Christ to become mentors and volunteers, and to “sponsor” a club meeting 2-3 times a year to bring a love gift above and beyond a normal club.  In times past we have done giant packs of diapers, groceries, wipes, and baby care kits.  But with THIS month being love month (February), we wanted the parents to know that THEY are worthy of feeling God’s extravagant love.  That means not just covering the needs, but sometimes covering a desire.
Our church rallied this month big time and we were able to provide services AND goods for the kids.  Dads and kids were provided fresh cuts by some incredible barbers, and the moms were given mani’s and makeovers.  On top of that, the dads received a $50 restaurant gift card to celebrate Valentines Day out on the town and the moms received a Sephora goodie bag along with 3 full sized makeup/skincare products from Sephora. Once everyone was all fresh, we took photos for those who wanted a nice professional photo.
I believe that God asks us not to give just the leftovers, but to give our BEST. For whenever we show love to others, we show love to Christ. I want Christ to feel that extravagant love poured out, not just my leftovers, but my BEST. That’s why we go all out whenever we can.
We’re just getting warmed up and I believe God has much bigger plans to bless the kids in Santa Ana. I can’t wait to see what happens next!
~Natalie Iguchi, Co-Pastor of Voice Church and YoungLives mentor + friend

Tools in the Toolbelt

My story starts out as a 16 year old girl, who is about to go on a journey of a lifetime in the world of parenthood. I had no idea how many amazing things the Lord would do on this journey, but looking back now is both breathtaking and miraculous. When I first found out that I was going to have a baby at the age of 16, well before I felt I was ready, I was scared to death. But God knew the plans He had for me and for my little one.


Virginia as a teen mom with her little boy Eli

I believe that we do the best with what we have, but I feel like I didn’t have much back then. I was terrible at communicating to others how I felt, I didn’t really know how to be a selfless, good mom, and I had so many things that I still needed to heal from, from the first 16 years of my own life. And yet, I was given this beautiful responsibility of being a mother to the most beautiful little child named Eli.

“How in the world am I going to raise this little guy?” I thought. Scared to death of being put in the position of this little ones welfare and safety just about knocked me to the ground. I wanted so badly to be able to do well. But from the get-go, I knew I didn’t have the tools I needed to do the job I really wanted to do. But God saw me and He knew what I would need. So, in the faith step of choosing to trust that God had my back, I remember telling the Lord, “I know that I can’t do this without you so please do it for me” “this child is yours, I commit him to you.” From that day forth, the Lord’s hand was in every detail of my life and my son’s. He placed people who I respected to come alongside us and unconditionally love us in our sweet little world of being mom and son. It didn’t matter that I was young. All that mattered was that we were loved, encouraged and taught new ways of doing things. The most important key of all was the unconditional love. There were many people in the last 19 years that were crucial in raising up such an incredible young man, and to them I am beyond grateful for all the love they poured into our lives.



Today, Virginia with her grown up Eli!

In life you come to find out how important and what a gift it is to have tools in your tool belt. Some of these tools are faith, compassion, the gift of communication, forgiveness, healing, knowledge, and most importantly, unconditional love. When we are given these tools, and when we see how valuable and absolutely necessary it is to have them to build the life we want and dream of, we have the natural inclination to pass on and give these tools to others.


Virginia with one of the teen moms.

This is what YoungLives does.  They come alongside and love and support however they can. We take the tools we have been blessed with and we hand them down to amazing teen parents who will in turn be master builders of theirs and their children’s lives and futures. Let us be those who share our gifts and knowledge with those so precious.

I am so blessed to be a part of such an incredible ministry. Virginia Vargas ~ Mentor 


Virginia, Area Director Myrna Bittar, and Cassandra (another of our amazing mentors!)

Virginia and her husband currently pour in to teen moms and dads as mentors as well as running mixer games at the club nights for the young parents.