“They Go to God First”


“This year, even when the youth don’t understand something, they go to God first.” 

I looked at her and repeated it aloud, hearing the name of one of our programs reflected back in what she said: God First.  This is what we have wanted from the beginning.  



Sometimes when you see the beginning and the end and all the in between stuff too, it’s hard to see the change, the evolution, the growth of something.  But all of a sudden, put a before and after picture side by side and the growth can be staggering.   


For a lot of us, 2020 is a year we’d just like to be done with, so we can start fresh with 2021. But this disruption to our normal lives has also created an opportunity for reflection. As a team, as we begin to plan and pray for 2021 we are excited to see the growth that has bubbled over from these programs and youth because every person on our PYF team has seemed to step into their God-given roles.  


So for PYF… 2020 has given us something to celebrate: the incredible growth of a ministry that is always evolving and adapting as we come alongside youth that are doing exactly the same. As my Thai co-worker stated, “This year, even when the youth don’t understand something, they go to God first.  This year we have seen the youth become rooted in Christ, not just acknowledge Him and experience His love, but be rooted in it, as we stand beside them.” 

As a tiny sapling that’s rooted in firm soil, but still needs a small board tied to it to stay upright, as are these youth, leaning on us, as we guide them and help them towards their ultimate provider.  We are here to help water their roots and with God, they will grow, standing firm on the ground of His love.   

In 2020, PYF has started a second generation of our transitional care group (we call that program God First), inspired a deeper love for worship with quarterly praise nights, given youth space to grieve within a trauma healing group, encouraged youth to own their faith at a leadership retreat and mentoring program, blessed staff from 18 different youth homes with a full day of Sabbath rest while their youth engaged in our Respite program, advocated for Thai Christian families to register to become foster families, and hosted not 1, but 2 youth camps.  


And shockingly enough, despite putting a pause on programs for a bit, Covid-19 didn’t become a huge hindrance to these programs, but became a jumping off point for youth stepping up in their faith and becoming the leaders they have decided to be.     

At the heart of it all, is helping many youth to see that they have value.  Providing a space that gives them freedom to develop themselves and to be themselves.  We just happen to have a front row seat to support them emotionally, give them a hug, or just cheer them on.  

Coincidentally enough, I walk by tiny saplings every morning that have just been planted in an adjacent neighborhood.  Today as I passed by, the words of my coworker bounced around in my head and found a place in my heart.  

“The tree will grow strong.  It will be a big tree, because as the youth have tasted God’s love for themselves, they now want to share it with others.”