I had no prior knowledge to Youth for Christ before I came to Chile, yet during my first weekend in Santiago I was encouraged by a friend through a friend to visit the centre, and that was beginning of my fantastic experience with the organisation.
After my first visit, however, I had my reservations. I was slightly apprehensive about getting involved and giving up part of my weekends to volunteer with the charity. Up until then I had never really seen myself as that great a person with kids! However, as the weeks went by and I continued to get involved, I found an amazing sense of happiness and peace through my work with the kids and the other passionate volunteers, especially as I got to know them better.
The mission of Youth for Christ and what it sets out to achieve was something that I really began to appreciate. Giving hope, love, joy and guidance to these kids, many of whom are in such need of it, really spoke to me. Teaching them the values that Jesus taught, and encouraging them to live those values is so important, especially when they can so easily be lead the wrong way. One Saturday especially comes to mind, when there was the opportunity for them to tell of any difficult experiences they had had, where they were thankful for the help of someone else or of God. Some of the older kids gave such vivid testimonies, and then one of the youngest girls came forward but before she could say a word she burst into tears. Immediately she was comforted by the others. She hadn’t said a single word, yet she had felt the need to share such deep emotions with everyone. Our little community at Youth for Christ had become her family.
Indeed, I feel Youth for Christ has become
my family as well. Over the past few months I have realised how much I have
needed Youth for Christ, just as the kids have needed it. It has become my sanctuary
away from life’s stress and worries, and the simple Bible teachings we share
with the kids never cease to teach me something new. Recently I got involved
with a basketball club for guys around my age, many of whom attended Youth for
Christ when they were younger. Again, I was apprehensive about getting involved
yet I was immediately accepted by them even though I was a ‘gringo’ outsider!
And that sums up Youth for Christ for me; it’s a family where anyone is
accepted for who they are, through love for God and love for others.
21 years old from England