Merry Christmas – A DGL Update!

21 12 2016

Hello friends!

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 bangladesh-dgl-groupthere (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 got to meet Sukhen in person when he visited Colorado Springs!

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: (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!


Repairing the World

5 10 2016

Lately, before turning the lights off and going to sleep, I have been reading Lawrence Kushner’s Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians. It’s a fantastic book with interesting insights and perspectives – and each chapter is usually 2 or 3 pages in length.

One of the chapters that I have read and re-read over the past week or so is titled “Repairing the World.” Kushner asserts that we live in a broken world (need proof? – take a look around)… and that when we fight with each other, or have pantries full of food and yet allow others to starve, or allow systems of oppression to continue, or _________ … that we allow the world to remain shattered. “We live in a cosmic heap of broken pieces, and God cannot repair it alone” (60).

It’s a strange thought for many of us that God cannot repair it alone, isn’t it? We don’t like to think that God cannot do anything. Yet Kushner argues that God needs us to partner with him for the repairing of the world. “Jewish spirituality is eminently practical, even behaviorist: When you see something that is broken, fix it. When you find something that is lost, return it. When you see something that needs to be done, do it. In that way, you will take care of your world and repair creation” (61).

The ministry I work with – Young Life’s Developing Global Leaders (DGL) – is taking care of our world and repairing creation. (I do actually believe this). We are helping kids in 46 countries around the world get a college education, leadership training, and a mentoring relationship. These kids are going on to be Jesus-centered leaders in their own countries… leaders in education, business, science, medicine, ministry, etc. …in places like Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Israel, Palestine, Ukraine, Bangladesh, and the Philippines.

Lives are being changed. Communities and countries are being transformed.

And I get to be an integral part of it.

Would you like to be a part of it?

I fundraise a portion of my salary – that way the money we raise for students can actually go to students. I am attempting to raise $800/month. Would you consider supporting me with $25/month? Or maybe even $50/month? (I have a donor willing to match any monthly donations I receive!).

Better yet – would you be willing to talk to me on the phone about my position and the DGL? (Even if you are unable to give anything).

Please, let me know. (Seriously).

Adoption Blog

25 08 2016

If you didn’t know, Katie and I have a blog dedicated to our adoption process. We recently updated it. You can find it here.

Our Week at Camp

1 07 2016

Katie and I recently had the opportunity to spend a week as “adult guests” at one of Young Life’s camps. Crooked Creek Ranch is located in the mountains just west of Fraser, Colorado. It’s only two and a half hours from Colorado Springs – but it feels like a whole different world.


For anyone that doesn’t know anything about Young Life camps… they’re nice. Really nice.

Young Life camps are designed to give kids the best week of their life (it’s actually their slogan)… from their lodging… to the food… to the activities. Everything about Young Life camp is intentionally designed to help the kids have an amazing week.

Why? Just so they have a fun week that they’ll never forget?

Not exactly. It’s so there are no obstacles to the kids hearing the gospel. It’s so that kids — “the furthest out kids,” as they might say — can hear that they are loved… they are important… they matter… and that their life doesn’t have to continue as it always has before. (Many struggle with addictions, suicidal thoughts, abandonment issues, etc., etc., etc.).

As the camp speaker put it, kids are told that many of the “nametags” they wear are false names: ‘addict’, ‘unloved’, ‘worthless’, ‘empty’, ‘unwanted.’ They are encouraged to pin those false names on the cross – where they die, so that they might rise with a new name: ‘free’, ‘loved’, ‘valuable’, ‘full’, ‘wanted’… etc.

Most of these kids will never come back to camp. They’re not supposed to (unless it is to serve on the work crew – washing dishes, cleaning bathroom, and taking care of the grounds). Young Life camps are designed for kids to come only once – and then to go back home and join a ‘campaigners’ group (that’s YL lingo for ‘Bible study’). The whole camp experience is focused on outreach… discipleship happens once you get home (and beyond).

As adult guests, Katie and I (and several other great folks) had the opportunity to observe the whole week, with no real responsibilities. (We did have to be referees for a volleyball tournament… and judges for a synchronized swimming competition – but we were supposedly from a different country and didn’t speak English – that way the campers couldn’t argue with us. Also, they were told, “The judges may not always be right – but they’re never wrong!”).

So, what’s makes it such a great week (apart from hearing the gospel)?


This is where the camp is located. Not a terrible view…


There are ridiculous skits and storylines happening throughout the week (which mimic the gospel). And, of course, these include ridiculous characters and costumes…


And there was a rodeo…


And a pool party…

Pool Party

And lots of crazy rides…


(Yes, that’s me on the left… and then the right on the last picture).

And there’s the camp hike up the mountain…

Hike Break

…with a pretty good view…

Hike View

…and somehow, they even managed to have the brightest rainbow I have ever seen (the pictures don’t even begin to do it justice)…

Rainbow1  Rainbow Full

It was an amazing week. Katie and I had a great time, and it was amazing to see the way so many kids were changed over the week.

And this happens all over the world.

During the week we were at camp I was also following some DGL students’ and DGL grads’ pictures from their camps. Different locations, different landscapes, and different people – but same story, same God, and same resurrection being experienced… in Colorado… in Ukraine… in the Democratic Republic of the Congo…

As always, if you’d like to support me in my role with the DGL, you can do so here:

Support Tim

Here’s the Deal: I Need Your Help

16 05 2016

Katie and I have been back in Colorado for two months now. Two months – it seems so short, yet feels so long. I suppose that’s what happens when you move back to a city where you have a history… and that’s what happens when you leave people you’ll miss more than you realized at the start. Two months doesn’t seem like long… but it sure feels that way sometimes. It feels more like it has been two years since we’ve seen some of our dear friends in Kentucky. (And it feels like a lifetime since I’ve seen beloved faces from New York, California, and Indiana).

I’ve been trying to keep everyone up-to-date with what I’m doing by keeping a blog… every week or so. If you’ve missed some of those updates, you can find them here:

At the end of my last post I mentioned that I fundraise part of my salary. The question you probably have… (which I would probably have)… is: “Why?”

The truth is that lots of people who work with Young Life fundraise part of their salary. The truth is also that most of those people are missionaries of sorts. They’ve left their homes and are living in another country so they can tell people about God’s love. Others have stayed in their homes (around the world), and raise support so that they can devote themselves entirely to sharing God’s love. …that is, they raise support so they don’t have to work another job, but can give all of their time, energy, and focus to telling kids about Jesus.

I sit in a cubicle and write lots of emails, maintain more spreadsheets than I like to think about, collect stats and data, and try to answer questions for donors, country coordinators, and other staff.

I don’t live in another country.

I don’t devote all of my time, energy, and focus to directly telling kids about Jesus.

But what I do deeply matters. My role is instrumental to the mission: Introducing adolescents to Jesus Christ and helping them grow in their faith.

So why do I fundraise part of my salary? Simply so the vast majority of money donors give can go directly to the DGL students. (And so the DGL students don’t have to find a way to raise support, be good students, and be excellent Young Life leaders all at the same time).

Unfortunately I don’t have a sexy job. If you choose to support me in some way (which I hope you will), you won’t be able to brag to your friends and family that you are supporting a missionary in an exotic location. I won’t be able to tell you amazing stories about encounters with the locals. (Unless you count my encounters with folks at the Service Center in Colorado as “amazing” — which I probably would not).

But, if you do choose to support me, I am happy to say that YOU will be playing an important part in the mission of Young Life and the Developing Global Leaders program. You can join with me… as I join with staff and leaders around the world… to help introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and to help them grow in their faith. You can help under-resourced, bursting-with-potential, eager-t0-serve, Christian leaders get a college education, receive leadership training, and embrace a mentoring relationship (all in their own country)… so that they can be leaders in their own neighborhoods and countries.

Let’s be honest about this: I hate asking for money. If I could, I would open a lemonade stand to raise the money to support myself.

But… that would take away the opportunity for YOU to join me.  …it would take away the chance for you to join what God is doing through the DGL program. (Yes, I actually believe that).

If you would like to support me, you can do so by clicking below:

Support Tim

If you choose to support me, you can do so with a one time gift… with a recurring monthly gift… or with a quarterly gift. (It’s pretty easy – you can use a bank account or credit card).

If you choose to support me, you can give as little or as much as you’d like.

  • $10/ month? Great!
  • $50/month? Great!
  • $100/month? Great!
  • $250/month? Great!  (I don’t think I know anyone in this range, right?)
  • $1000/month? Great! (Ok, that was a joke).

If you choose to support me… whether for $10 or $1000, I’ll buy you coffee or dinner sometime, and I’ll tell you all about the DGL programs and some of the stories of DGL students.

If you have any questions or concerns about giving… or if you’d just like to hear more before you decide if this is where God is asking you to spend some of your money… please don’t hesitate to call, email (, stop by the house, or leave a message (here or on Facebook).

If you feel like this is NOT where God is asking you to invest some of your money right now – that’s ok. Really.

Thanks friends!

Grace and Peace and Love,


Connecting the Dots

7 05 2016

The next class of DGL students is currently filling out applications, obtaining references, and – hopefully – getting two, non-pixelated, up close pictures. (I can almost guarantee there will be more than one picture that looks like a mugshot – facing straight toward the camera, no smile, and a white background). Students from all over the world will be submitting applications.

The good news for those submitting applications (though they may or may not know it) is that they’re almost guaranteed a spot. That’s because they’re only asked to submit an application once local and country leaders have recommended them, Young Life executives have fought for them, and they’ve been awarded one of the available spots. I say that the executives fight for them, because there are only 100 spots available with each class… and they’ve seen the difference past and current DGL students have made in their communities and countries… so they want as many spots as possible.

Once all of the applications are in and everyone has been officially approved for the program, we’ll begin seeking funding for the new class (each student needs $275/month for four years). Each student will have a blog on the DGL website – and every other month they’ll be asked to answer a few questions about themselves and their experiences. Sponsors of students (whether they donate $5 or $275/month) then receive email updates so they can follow their DGL student… and they can leave comments and communicate with them.

Once the student begins the program they’ll be working with their area director, mentor, trainer… and, of course, the youth of their community.

There are so many people involved in the process of a student entering the DGL program – from country leaders and Young Life executives to donors and kids. My job (and that of the amazing folks I work with) is to help connect the dots. (To make sure the right people – whether DGL student, YL exec., country leader, or donor – get the right information… so that kids all over the world get to hear about Jesus and God’s redemptive love for them.  …from people in and from their own country.

Next time: In order to make sure a vast majority of a donor’s gift actually goes toward their student, I also fundraise part of my salary. If you’d like to help connect the dots, you can do so here. (Or wait until my next update).

As always, I’d love to hear any feedback or questions – either here, on Facebook, via email or phone, or in person!

In Their Own Country

27 04 2016

In my last blog post I mentioned that every day I get to work with people all over the world. I also mentioned that, even though I sit in a cubicle all day, I’m still in youth ministry.

So, what do I do?

I’m the admin for a program at Young Life called Developing Global Leaders (DGL). I’ll explain a little about what it is, but if you have some free time, click on that link and explore it a bit for yourself. (There are loads of student bios/stories you can read).

Here’s the quick story on DGL:

We believe that many countries around the world not only suffer financial/material poverty, but also a poverty of leadership. (And, let’s be honest… when there are young leaders, they often leave the country for greener grass elsewhere). So, the DGL – in our small way – is trying to invest in the leaders and potential leaders in those countries…  something like 45 countries right now.

We’re investing in these DGL students in three main ways:

1. We provide a scholarship so they can go to college. …in their own country.

They can study pretty much whatever they want, as long as they have a good reason and a plan for how to use it. Some students study theology… many study languages… or business… or computer science… or engineering… or medicine… or…

2. We provide four years of leadership training. …in their own country.

They’ll learn about speaking the truth in love. They’ll talk about managing money and setting priorities with time and people. They’ll explore leading a team of volunteers. Etc.

3. We team them up with a mentor. …in their own country.

Over their four (or more) years in the mentoring relationship, they’ll spend time talking about character development (e.g., integrity, perseverance, and dealing with failure)… personal development (e.g., learning as a lifestyle, effective study habits, and reading good books)… spiritual growth and leadership (e.g., having a consistent prayer life, spiritual disciplines, and consistent church involvement)… and ministry leadership (e.g., evangelism, discipleship, and leading effective small groups).

The hope is that these DGL students will become (or continue to be) leaders in their own countries… leaders in Young Life, in government, in the marketplace, in the education system, in their churches, in ______________ (wherever). Our hope is that every student will graduate and remain in their own country – that they will change their communities and countries (for the good) from the inside.

One question you might have: How is that youth ministry?

Great question!

So, here’s the deal. We invest in the DGL students through the scholarship, leadership training, and mentoring.  …but it’s not all a “free ride” for them. One of the requirements of the program is that they must continue to be excellent leaders in their local Young Life programs. They have to keep investing (through their time and energy) in the next generation. They’re leading “clubs” (like youth groups) and Bible studies and camps. Also, they’re asked to be praying for and recruiting new (volunteer) Young Life leaders.

Which means there are more leaders… investing in more adolescents and telling them about Jesus and God’s love and his redemptive plan for them and the world.

It’s pretty cool stuff.

So, that’s the really quick story of what DGL is. I would LOVE to hear your thoughts or questions. Please leave a comment or email me (!

Side note: When I say “We invest” … what I really mean is that our amazing sponsors and supporters invest… we just connect the dots.