How ‘One Relationship’ Changed A Country

July 3, 2015

A guest post by Suzanne Williams and Moges Beressa

Young Life has often been known to say “Every Kid, Everywhere for Eternity.” Though our slogan may have changed, our vision for every kid hasn’t at all. When staff member, Moges Beressa asked the question, “What kinds of kids are you not reaching in Ethiopia?” his leaders had a lot of answers. There were Muslim kids and prostitutes. Teen moms and kids in rural parts of the country. There were rich kids and poor kids and kids with disabilities. The list was long, though their ministries were strong and growing.

After they went through this list and considered their schools, Moges asked his team to do one thing. Pray. He didn’t ask them to go start YoungLives or Capernaum or Small Town Ministry or really anything of the sort. He asked them to pray. But his request was specific. He says…

“We asked every leader in Ethiopia, now over 400 volunteers, to pray that God would give them one relationship with a kid with a disability.”

It seems simple and it isn’t very intimidating. It’s what we know how to do right? We pray for relationships with kids, whether they are in high school or middle school or college. We pray for kids by name. But Moges tried a new challenge: pray for the specific kids that we aren’t reaching; which for them in this meeting was going to be kids with disabilities. And look what has happened…

“We have found out that the number of kids with disabilities in club and Young Life camp are growing. After praying for close to two years, we see an increase each week and now kids with disabilities are getting involved in Campaigners. We started a ministry at a school for the deaf, where each kid is not only deaf but also has a cognitive disability.”

“We are connecting with organizations in the country and recently started working with one that is only able to help families financially and materially. The Lord opened the door for us to serve these families spiritually.”

And these leaders, these praying leaders, they aren’t meeting the majority of the kids in school.

“Most kids with disabilities in Ethiopia stay at home because their parents don’t want people to see their kids. They are afraid of what people will say or do or think. But leaders are building relationships by walking through neighborhoods where they live and serve to give hope and acceptance in the name of Jesus.”

Kids with disabilities all over Ethiopia are having the chance to get involved in Young Life, not because anyone was determined to start Capernaum, but because a group of volunteers committed to pray for one relationship each.

What kinds of kids are you not reaching in your school or ministry? What if your team made a list, choose one group on the list and did what Moges and his team did? What if you prayed that God would give each of you one relationship?

Your ministry will change. Guaranteed. Every kid, Everywhere for Eternity.

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