Spring Newsletter 2022

April 20, 2022


Troy Gunderson

A Thriving Partnership

The word thrive means to grow well or flourish. That’s a great definition for the company, Thrivent Financial, which has been around for nearly 120 years.
We are pleased to announce that Thrivent Financial has qualified James Valley YFC as an eligible partnering organization. This allows Thrivent members to donate their Thrivent Choice dollars to YFC and to partner with us in our fundraising efforts with Thrivent Action Teams.
Recently during a Thrivent presentation at the Jamestown Ministerial Association we heard about all the wonderful work Thrivent does in our community. We also learned many Thrivent members did not know or have not yet taken advantage of their opportunity to donate their accrued Thrivent Choice dollars to a charity of their choosing. We are excited about this potential partnership with Thrivent members and invite any of you to stop by the YFC office for a visit or to call with any questions. We look forward to working together in reaching more youth for Christ.

Troy Gunderson

Bob and His HANDY-cap

James Valley YFC was pleased to have Bob Mortimer, triple amputee, story teller and author of Hope And Courage Across America, back again in Jamestown and Valley City area. The book chronicles his journey cycling across America with only one arm. Bob shared his story with middle and high school students in school assemblies and other events. In his early 20’s, Bob lost both legs and his left arm in a drug and alcohol related car accident after the vehicle he was in knocked down high voltage power lines. His compelling message was that “handicaps” are things we put upon ourselves and challenged students to be the best they can be without drugs, alcohol and prejudice.

Casting Seed

Have you ever witnessed the moment when the light of the Gospel illuminates the soul of a person? Over the years I have had the pleasure of experiencing such events quite a few times, and it never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes it comes when one receives Christ for the first time, other times it comes when one perceives a particular passage or teaching for the first time.
One such incident happened just a week ago during our devotional time at Teen City. I was teaching on a passage in which Jesus was describing the way a seed must die and fall to the ground before it can grow and multiply. I shared a story about a catalpa tree which I had tried to grow from a seed. It was only after I froze the seed to make it die that it was able to sprout to life. One precious 8th grade girl suddenly sat up in her seat, with her face bright and alert, raising her hand to speak. I called on her and she said, “That’s kinda like Jesus having to die so he could be raised again.” I responded with an excited, “Yes! That’s right.”
What a joy it is to see moments like these, when the parables and analogies of God’s Word sink into softened soil and sprout to life. Of course, none of this would be possible if Jesus had not been obedient to the Father and fell like a seed to the ground. But praise God He sprouted to life and with that life gave life to all those who call on His name.
The seed of the Gospel is being scattered and landing in fertile soil at Youth For Christ. Thank you for proving the means. Please pray with us for a bountiful harvest.
Have a blessed and happy Easter, Troy Gunderson

Mary Joy

Sticking Close

One of my favorite ways to meet with students is at our local coffee shops. Every Wednesday I meet with girls in the morning and in the afternoon. What a fun and caffeinated day! This time is so precious to me as I get to know these girls in a more individual way. We often chat about what they learned at a previous Campus Life Club, or how their home life is going. I love encouraging them in their walk with God. If it’s a brand-new student, this is also a great time to learn their story.   Recently, I received a note that said, “Thank you for sticking with me and having coffee on Wednesdays, you feel like a second mom to me.” Notes like these are such a blessing to me. It reminded me of John 15 in which Jesus instructs us to abide in the vine. “Sticking” with these students no matter what life throws at them is so important in reaching them for Jesus. I cannot do it in my own strength, only by “sticking” close to Jesus am I able to accomplish His tasks. Please continue to pray for these appointments, that we continue to build relationships and share Christ's love through our conversations.  Blessings, Mary Joy

Feeding The Whole Person

It’s a very good year at YFC, only 9 weeks of the school left, WOW! We are seeing and ministering the Gospel to lots of kids.

Due to Covid and the economy, the food bank that we’ve received food from for the past few years has decided to shift their criteria to more pressing needs. This leaves us short of resources in which we’ve come to rely. A huge THANK YOU goes out to each of our current faithful food donors. You are loved and appreciated! But if you like to cook or bake, we could use a few more helpers.

Four days a week the after-school drop-in center sees up to 30 students per day. These kids LOVE to eat! They actually have their eyes on the kitchen counter before they’ve even dropped their jackets and backpacks. We also provide a Bible study and meal called Food for Thought, Mondays for 6th graders and Thursdays for 7th and 8th graders. The attendance at these suppers is a much smaller crew but when we asked them to join us, their first question is, “What are we having?” We also have the High School Campus Life Clubs on Monday and Tuesday evenings, which can be near twenty students.

So, whether baked goods, homemade or prepackaged, chips, veggies, fruit, tacos in a bag, hotdogs, perishable foods, items to stock the pantry, etc. we’d welcome the help and would greatly APPRECIATE you! The kids appreciate you, too. If interested, please call the YFC office so we can work out a schedule with you. THANK YOU in advance for helping us feed the whole person!

Happy Easter, Trena Owens

New Valley City Ministry Coordinator

Hello everyone! My name is Sam Nielsen. I am the youngest of four, grew up in a Christian homeschooled family, and have had a passion for people (especially kids) ever since I can remember. After high school I did a year of missions with Tentmakers, then joined the Air Force National Guard, in which I am still active. I’m currently going to school full time and will have my bachelor’s this spring. I also plan to pursue my masters in divinity. I have been working part time with YFC since February and have loved every minute of it!

Since my first day on the job, it feels like I jumped in head first. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with over 100 kids, no less than 6 different groups of students, all ranging from 6th-12th grade. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching, presenting a salvation message, leading worship, hanging with kids, and leading activities. I’ve learned the importance of flexibility, a willing spirit, and being prepared. As one who teaches God’s word to others I need to be prepared in what I teach. Another vital lesson I have learned is meeting kids where they are at. Theodore Roosevelt put it beautifully in saying that “Nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Showing care in ways students can relate is vital in building relationships.

I am excited to get to know the kids in this area and build relationships with them that result in the students beginning a relationship with God. I look forward to partnering with churches, working together as the body of Christ. This goes beyond church walls as described in 1st Corinthians chapter 12. I’m also excited to build relationships with student’s parents, and people in the community. Matthew 22:37-40 describes the greatest commandment upon which all the law and the prophets depend, which is to love God and love people. There will be lots of events or exciting things that will happen in my new role, but it all ties back to building relationships with people that point to Jesus. I look forward to meeting you all. Please, feel free to reach out to me by calling the YFC office at 701-252-5501. Thank you for this amazing opportunity.

Sam Nielsen, Valley City Ministry Coordinator