I am grateful for every volunteer who gives even an hour of their time to YFC. In addition to saving us $156,633 a year, they also make a life-time of difference in a child’s life.
Nowhere is that more true than in our Juvenile Justice Ministry. The men and women who go into detention programs and foster homes represent some of the only long-term, caring adult relationships these young experience. They provide unconditional care and a listening ear to kids who are overlooked, under-valued, and forgotten.
Izzy, one of our JJM volunteers (and husband to Ely V, our JJM Co-Director!), wrote this reflection about what it’s like to join a long-line of people pouring into a young man’s life.
-Johanna Ralsten-Cox, Ministries Director, Miami Youth for Christ
John initially came into the program quiet and reserved but I noticed that he would always be attentive while people were speaking. One day during our conversation I asked how often he reads the Bible, but he responded that the Bibles available were too small in font. The following week I brought him a large print Bible and since then he has not put it down and carries it with him wherever he goes. We have been reading through the Bible together and he has even taken the initiative to share with his fellow peers on the days that we aren’t there about the truth of God’s Word. His faith has sparked faith in others and his character has even been noticed by those on staff.
John has been given an opportunity to change the trajectory of his life and he has not taken that opportunity lightly. As he leaves the program, he will be leaving with a high school diploma, a job to go to, and an inspiring faith in Christ Jesus. In Proverbs 11:25 it says that, “those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” As I look at God’s redemptive power displayed in John’s life, I am completely refreshed and happy that God has called me to refresh youth serving time by exposing them to His love and truth.
The Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians that as he planted and Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. There have been various times where we are discouraged because we spend much time and effort sowing into the lives of the youth and don’t see the fruit. As I look at the growth and fruit in John’s life, I realize that there were people before me who were faithful to water the seed that was planted in his heart. What a blessing it is see fruit coming forth in the lives of those we invest in!
By Izzy Vimonsut
Juvenile Justice Mentor