Young Life is an international Christian ministry focused on making disciples and leaders out of middle school, high school, and college-aged students. They operate in every state in the U.S. as well as 90 countries worldwide. Ethiopia has the second largest Young Life in the world, behind only the United States, and reached more than 138,000 youth last year alone. They bring together teens of all faiths, something important in a country that has so much religious diversity.
Young Life Ethiopia has set up a chapter in Bishoftu (Debre Zeyit), led by a 20-year-old young man named Behylu. Behylu had a troubled life until he was brought into Young Life and experienced a transformation himself. He is now passionate about impacting the lives of other young people. In an effort to facilitate spiritual growth and the development of leadership skills in our teens, we have brought Young Life into our schools. Behylu comes at noon to play games, show positive movies, and form friendships with the students. BCI assists by providing Bibles, sports equipment, and facilities for activities after school. Behylu is now training twenty Grade 12 leaders, and we feel blessed to say that ten of the students have been selected from our sponsorship program.
Teddy (Tewodros Tilahun) is a 19-year-old full orphan who has been in the BCI program for a decade. He is the right-hand man to Behylu. Teddy has formed a soccer team of peers at his school, which he coaches together with Behylu. When asked the purpose of the team, Teddy said “their purpose is to win, but MY purpose is Jesus.”
We are often asked how sponsorship helps a child. Of course there are the basic necessities that we all need for life: clothing, food and an education. Above and beyond this, we train up the children and pour into their spiritual and emotional lives in a way that equips them for life beyond our program. It is a holistic approach that is bearing fruit. The teens in our program are already fulfilling an important part of BCI’s mission: they are taking everything they have gained from their ministry and using it to change their community.
Young Life Africa uses the Leadership Tree model. Each teen disciples three more teens, and thereby grows the reach of the ministry. Might you be able to do the same for Blessing the Children and become a branch on our tree? You can do this by sharing the good news of our ministry with three people in your life.