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The Shaping of a Leader
A struggling young man, an encounter with the Lord, the shaping of a leader who is impacting the next generation. It is the kind of story we all love and one you are a part of as a Youth for Christ International partner. We hope you will rejoice with us as you read this story, told directly by Youth for Christ Lebanon:
Feeling Rejected and Unwanted

Having just turned 29, Youssef is our resident drummer, videographer, prankster, worship leader and all-around goofball. He spent his childhood in Tyre, a coastal city in the south of Lebanon. Problems started disrupting his family life, and at the age of nine he was sent to live at a home for boys on the outskirts of Beirut. At that young age, he knew he was going to live at a school, but no one bothered to sit down with him and explain what it really meant. Feeling rejected and unwanted by his family and angry at God for what was happening to him, he struggled to adapt to his new circumstances.

Because the home is run by Christians, Youssef was taught stories from the Bible, but he wasn’t sure how to reconcile the person of Jesus with his own experience. It didn’t compute that someone he didn’t know could care that much for him when he thought that his own family had essentially given him up.
Dancing with God

When he was 13, Youssef began attending Youth for Christ clubs and other events. At first, he enjoyed simply getting “off campus” and interacting with a new set of people, but he also noticed that the Youth for Christ leaders really cared about him and had a very creative way of sharing stories from the Bible. At 14 he had his first real encounter with the Lord. It was at a camp run by Youth for Christ. One evening after giving a talk, the leader had everyone take some quiet time to reflect. During this time, Youssef had a vision of himself dancing with God, and it filled him with a different kind of joy than anything he’d experienced before. At one point he heard God say, “Ok, now I have to leave.” Youssef started crying because it just felt like God was leaving him in the same way his parents had, but then he heard God say, “Don’t be sad. I’m just going to prepare a place for you and I’m coming back.” The next day Youssef prayed with a Youth for Christ leader and gave his life to Jesus.

This initial conversion didn’t seem to change much in his life. “I still struggled with feelings of depression and suicide,” Youssef says, “but each time I found myself entertaining the idea of killing myself, I felt God was there, reminding me that there was indeed someone who cared about me.” He committed himself more seriously to walking with God when he was 19 and started volunteering with Youth for Christ. He went to university to study audiovisual arts, and upon graduating he came on staff as Youth for Christ Lebanon’s media person, eventually moving over to the School Ministry team where he engages with youth in discipleship and social action projects, among other things.
Pointing them to Jesus

“The best part of my job is interacting with youth who are experiencing similar things that I experienced at their age and helping them through it. Ultimately, I point them to Jesus, showing them that He is the only one who can really help them get through life’s challenges.”

One of the most impactful things for him personally has been the two mission trips he’s done in partnership with North American Indigenous Ministries. For two summers he, along with a handful of Youth for Christ teens and another staff member, shared Jesus with the First Nations people of Klemtu, an island in British Columbia. Youssef also has a soft spot for street kids, and once in a while he’ll go to the Corniche (West Beirut’s seafront walk) and strike up conversations with Syrian kids trying to eke out a living by selling packets of tissues and other things.

Youssef’s ability to minister very personally to young people is a huge asset for Youth for Christ Lebanon, and we’d love for you to be praying for him!

With love from all of us at Youth for Christ Lebanon
Because of your partnership in Youth for Christ International, Youssef and thousands of other young people over the years have come to know Christ. Strategically, Youth for Christ International’s focus is to raise up young people who will lead, just like Youssef, with a devotion to the word of God and prayer, godliness in lifestyle, boldness in evangelism and a commitment to social involvement.

We are grateful for your gifts. They are vital in helping this happen. Would you give a gift this month to further the work of Youth for Christ around the world? Every gift of $50, $100, $1,000, or whatever you can give makes a difference, changes lives, and is multiplied as one young person in turn shares with others.
With gratitude,

Dave Brereton
International Director of Youth for Christ

P.S. The impact of your gift is multiplied as young people like Youssef come to know Christ and in turn lead others to Him. Thank you!
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