Youth in Mission coming to campus

SNU Chapel on Tuesday, September 27, will feature Joel Tooley, Youth in Mission director for the Church of the Nazarene. He will be coming down from Kansas City, along with Jill Fothergill and Rick Guilfoil, to recruit SNU students for this coming summer’s YIM teams.

Youth in Mission --- which last summer had 30 participants from SNU -- takes university students from various colleges and universities and forms them into small teams of three to six people. Those teams are sent to locations around the globe for six to seven weeks of intensive ministry. Participating in Youth in Mission is, says Dee Kelley, “an ideal way to see the world through a new set of lenses.”

Working under the supervision of a site coordinator -- a missionary or a local leader -- the teams wield paint brushes and make balloon animals. They show the JESUS film. They run children’s ministries, do manual labor, help plant new churches, work in camping programs and just hang out with young people. This year there will be some working in disaster relief.

SNU athletic director Bobby Martin is a strong proponent of student involvement in Youth in Mission. He says that the mission trips he went on as a student “were some of the most challenging and growing times of my life.”

Training camp for Youth in Mission begins the Tuesday after Memorial Day in late May. After four to five days of training, the YIM teams fly out of Kansas City for destinations across the U.S. and around the world.

Johanna Rice, who has spent two summers on a Washington, D.C. YIM team, says, “I learned a lot about myself and about God. Youth in Mission was God’s way of telling me that there are other people who need to hear about Him . . . It was without a doubt the best two months of my life.”

When the Youth in Mission office staff omes to campus next week, they will be organizing afternoon and evening sessions in the Commons to disseminate information and to answer questions. A good deal of information, including the ministry locations for 2006 and an online application form, is already available on the YIM web site: www.youthinmission.org

Dee Kelley encourages students to apply for Youth in Mission, saying, “Seeing not only cultural differences but all the similarities that there are between peoples will make us better citizens and better Christians.”

Youth in Mission is more than an adventuresome way to spend a summer. It has implications in terms of career development. Ann Scott says, “YIM teaches participants to work together in a tight group setting and provides valuable experience for future jobs.”

While students are responsible for paying for YIM, that financial hurdle of between $2,000 and $3,500 (depending on the site) is not as formidable as some are tempted to think. Family, friends and home churches are more than willing to step forward as support partners. These people are, after all, being given an opportunity by Youth in Mission to do what God has called them to do: Give.

Past YIM participants have discovered that the key to coming up with financial support is in the creation of a network of committed prayer partners. There’s more information on raising prayer and financial support at: http://home.snu.edu/~hculbert/support.htm

Selections for the 2006 YIM teams will be made in December with students being asked to confirm their participation in January. Advance training will begin on the SNU campus after the start of second semester.

Names of those from SNU who have participated in Youth in Mission in recent years are at: www.snu.edu/yim

Prof. Marty Michelson says, “Every mission trip I’ve ever taken has opened my eyes to the beauty and complexity of our world. I’ve always been challenged to re-think my life and my response to God’s Kingdom.”