Young Life Nashville is going to Siliguri, India March 1-10 to get to know, encourage, and train Indian YL leader
As some of you may know, I traveled to India this last May. I spent the month traveling through 5 cities and working alongside local Indian Young Life leaders. I was able to be a music guest, as well as be part of the program team for several camps. It was quite an exciting and fun trip because I got to play in front of hundreds of kids at high schools and then be part of all of the fun and games with the kids.
In March I will be returning to Siliguri India, but this time with a team of 15 Young Life leaders from Nashville. Our Goal: To get to know, encourage, and train Indian YL leaders. The mission is particularly special to me because we’ll be working with YL, through which I came to know the Lord when I was in high school.
Young Life India began around the year 2000 in Bangalore, India. "Young Life Sila" (Siliguri, West Bengal, India) is the 3rd city in India where YL was started.
Megan Stephens lived in India for 3 years and eventually helped to start Young Life in Siliguri with about 15 Indian Christians, most being college students and one well-known pastor, Enos Simick.
God truly used unlikely people to start Young Life there. India is a male-dominated culture and yet God gave Megan favor in the eyes of these Indians, who caught the vision of sharing Jesus with kids by building friendships with them. God has also raised up an Indian lady, Javeen Rai, who is now leading the charge in Siliguri in 2 parts of the city - one rural and the other more urban. Javeen went to the Philippines in September for the 1st All-Asia YL Conference, where she learned more about Young Life and how to teach others about it.
Young Life is Jesus. What did Jesus do? He left heaven to come down to us. So, as YL leaders, we leave our rightful places to GO where kids are. Coffee shops, lunch rooms, basketball games, soccer practice. But in India, this looks a little different. Indian schools in Siliguri do not allow outsiders to be on campus, even for sporting events. So the Indian leaders had to get creative. One way they build friendships with kids is through spoken English classes every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. They also play cricket and football (soccer) with kids.
This trip is important because the leaders in Siliguri are ready and willing to reach out to high schools kids but are interested in receiving more training in Young Life principles to more effectively reach teenagers. Our team of 15 YL leaders will be organizing a leader retreat for these 15-20 Indian leaders in India to get to know, encourage, and train them by teaching and modeling for them what YL is all about.