I know it’s a few days early, but – Merry Christmas!
Every Advent season we are reminded that Jesus’ birth into the world is like a light that shines in the darkness. In the midst of confusion and oppression and despair, unbeknownst to almost the entire world, a child is born. It is through this child that the world would know the possibility of peace and justice and hope – though, perhaps, not as we might expect or want.
It’s pretty easy to sense the darkness in our own day too, isn’t it? It’s easy to see when we look at the situation in Aleppo… or the recent events in Berlin… or even at our own cities and neighborhoods. It can get pretty overwhelming. And yet the Christmas story insists that in the midst of the darkness all is not lost. There is hope. Even in the midst of the darkness a light shines. That light, of course, is Jesus – the son of God who steps directly into the darkness to be with us.
If we look, we can see God at work throughout the world we live in. This is certainly true of the Developing Global Leaders (DGL) program with which I get to work. We have DGL students at work all over the world – studying business, engineering, medicine, and education; serving the teenagers of their own neighborhoods, telling them about a God that loves them.
One of the bright spots for me lately has been to see the impact our DGL students are
having in Bangladesh. Young Life was first established in Bangladesh in 2010, and in 2011 we had our first three DGL students there (all have graduated from college and are now on staff full-time with Young Life!). Now we have 15 DGL students in Bangladesh that are the main engine of the 57 different YL ministries there (from Bible studies to sports camps for kids to ministries for young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities). I love the way the DGL students talk about the kids they serve:
Jitu: “Our club kids are adorable and fun loving.”
Jeniro: “Most of our club kids come from poor family but they are rich in heart. Their loving hug and fellowship is really precious.”
Nathaniel: “Many kids are coming in my club. Their majority is Hindu. They are poor. Their house is far from where we do our club but they are coming because they love Young Life club. Sometimes they are coming in club by bicycle; sometimes by van. I love them.”
Speaking of our DGL students in Bangladesh, Sukhen, our main leader there, says, “They are very vital for Young Life works. Without them it would be a disaster to manage the ministry and the huge growth of Young Life Bangladesh.” In fact, in just the last 6 months our 15 DGL students have recruited and helped train 28 new volunteer leaders! That means that this Christmas season more kids in Bangladesh are getting to hear about Jesus – about this son of God that steps into the darkness with us! They are getting to hear about a God that loves them and accepts them. They are getting to hear that they are not alone. They are getting to be a part of a huge family that loves them and embraces them and thinks they are precious!
I am thankful I get to be a part of what God is doing through the DGL program in Bangladesh and all over the world. Through your financial support, encouragement, and prayers – you’re an important part of it too! Thank you so much!
If you are still figuring out your end of year giving, I would love to ask you to consider making a one-time donation to support my work with the Developing Global Leaders program: http://giving.younglife.org/timfounds. (If you’ve already made a gift – Thank You!!!)
Praying you have a wonderful Christmas season filled with much light and hope!
Grace and Peace!