L to R: Tracy Colunga (committee chair), O’Tina McKinstry, and Jenny Dickson.
Vision and Vocation: Bringing the Gospel to Long Beach Youth
My name is Jenny Dickson and I have the privilege of serving in ministry with Long Beach Young Life! Young Life is a ministry designed to bring the hope of Jesus to middle and high schoolers who do not attend church. We build relationships with students and share our faith in Jesus with them. Some of our FOL members have come to faith through Young Life (including Carl Vos and Kim Wada) and I have been blessed to have them serve on our leadership committee.
As a middle schooler, my life was greatly impacted by Godly adults who discipled me and modeled a life of prayer, reading the Word, and serving others. They treated me with care and spoke to me as a person, not just a child. This motivated me to become a middle school teacher. After teaching middle and high school and assisting my husband in youth ministry, I earned my masters in educational administration with the intention of becoming a principal. Once we started a family, I felt a strong desire to be home raising our kids. Five years ago, I sat down for a cup of coffee with a Young Life representative to talk about bringing the group to Long Beach. I had no idea that a conversation would eventually lead me to join a leadership committee and then, a few years later, to become a Young Life staff member.
Recent studies by the Barna Group show that 64% of students come to faith prior to the age of 18. Along with the challenges our generation faced as teenagers, youth today are bombarded with the pressures of social media and an overall decline in moral expectations. Students are searching for purpose and meaningful relationships. It is so rewarding to expose kids to the life of Christ and His Word and to see God change their hearts, desires, and lives.
Jaunae Gardner (right) giving her testimony to our kids at Admiral Kidd Park.
At Cabrillo High School, across the street from 5000 Pies, Young Life offers CLUB, a weekly opportunity for kids to get to know mentors, play games, eat, sing, and hear stories about Jesus. When students place their faith in Jesus, we invite them to meet with their adult mentor in a Connection Group to dig deeper in the Word. We currently have 20 students from Cabrillo in Connection Groups. We welcome your prayers as we prepare to take 30 students and 6 leaders to Woodleaf Young Life Camp June 18th-24th for the best week of their lives.
God has been teaching us that He is the Great Provider by developing partnerships with individual donors and churches. Last year, the Lord allowed us to bring Tina McKinstry on as part-time mission staff. God is using her in amazing ways to reach out to west Long Beach youth. He is also providing committee members to partner with us and support our leaders.
If you would like to serve through Young Life, contact Jenny Dickson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 831-521-4642.
To make a one time or monthly donation, visit our website or like us on FB, Instagram or Twitter. If you would like to receive online newsletters, please send your email address to Jon Wada at email@example.com.