THE REOPENING OF THE WORLD
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic seemingly at a close, many communities across the world still feel the devastating effects of the global shutdown. Youth were hit hard by governmental mandates, with feeling severe isolation, falling behind in school, or developing mental health issues. Once the world reopened, these issues lingered, with many parents and guardians wondering how to best reach their children.
Youth For Christ (YFC, www.yfc.net) has been sharing the Gospel with youth during pivotal moments in their lives for more than seven decades. YFC Southern Indiana is working to bring God’s truth to light by building Christ-centered communities of youth in the region. They are tackling the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. YFC Southern Indiana is on the front lines to build meaningful relationships with the youth who were severely impacted.
“Our country is definitely divided between the ‘have’ and the ‘have-nots,’ Campus Life Site Leader Jennifer Omerso said. “This became very clear after the pandemic. There was food insecurity, instable housing, and single parents trying to make ends meet by working double or triple shifts. The biggest concern the youth in our area had was where they would get their next meal. We set out to help them in that way. If they couldn’t come to us due to the lockdown, we were going to come to them! We partnered with Parkway Southern Baptist Church in New Albany. YFC went to houses and brought sack lunches for around 30 youth across the community. It was a great way to build relationships with the teens and their families. We kept showing up and they realized that we truly cared for them and their well-being.
“This ministry has grown tremendously. We are now bringing meals to 400 kids a week! This just goes to show the terrible need in our area.”
SPEAKING THE GOSPEL
Omerso said, “We have kids coming to Campus Life who have never heard the Gospel before. Many of them come because they don’t want to go home to a negative environment. We are determined to remind these kids that God sees them and loves them. They are not forgotten. We want them to know that we are not going anywhere and will show up for them week after week.
“My mission from God is to make sure that there are no kids who go without knowing that there’s a God who loves them so much that He sent Jesus for them. It’s so much more than just preaching at them or teaching them Bible verses. We have to wholly love people and meet all of their needs the same way Jesus did. He fed, healed, listened, and just lived life with those around Him. That’s what we have to do for these kids for them to realize that we’re authentic. We’re not here to get something from them. We’re here because we love them like Jesus loves them.”