Young Life Bellevue–Helping Teens Connect with Jesus

Since 1941 Young Life has introduced millions of teenagers to Jesus Christ and helped them grow in their faith.   With an emphasis on showing kids that faith in God can be fun, exhilarating, and life-changing, Young Life has almost 80,000 volunteers reaching almost 2 million kids a year around the world.

Here in Bellevue, Young Life is on the move.  Our mission is to be wide and deep in the world of Bellevue teenagers.  We want to be wide….introducing kids to Jesus at every middle school and high school in the city….and deep….challenging and encouraging kids to becoming disciples.

We currently take over 250 middle school and high school kids from Bellevue to camp each summer where they hear the Gospel in a fresh way, while surrounded by some of the most incredible beauty of God’s creation.   After camp, we encourage kids to get involved in Young Life each week back home where they are encouraged to grow in their faith.

One of the kids who met Christ at a Young Life camp last year was Josh*.  Josh attends Bellevue HS and comes from a family where English is not spoken at home, and his parents made no mention of Christ while being raised.  Last spring, Josh found that he could make a lot of money by stealing alcohol from stores and then selling it to classmates.  But, while he was caught up in that lifestyle, Josh heard about Young Life camp from a friend.  He thought it sounded fun and signed up.

While at Malibu Josh heard about Jesus for the first time and felt deep conviction about his past life.  He confessed his old life to his leader one night under the stars, and decided to follow Christ.  In the months after returning home, Josh became a part of a local church, and joined it’s youth group.  He still comes to Young Life occasionally and is growing in his faith through the encouragement of both the church and Young Life.

We love Josh’s story for a lot of reasons, but in particular we love that it shows how Young Life and the church can work together.  We’re grateful for Bel Pres and it’s members for supporting our work with dis-interested teenagers who need to know about the God who loves them.   Lost teenagers are a difficult crowd to reach, but together Young Life and the local church can reach the thousands of teenagers in Bellevue who don’t know Christ.

Volunteer leaders who go to summer camp with kids, and then follow up with them throughout the year are what make Young Life work. We have plenty of kids involved and now need more leaders to mentor and disciple them.  We need adults willing to give just  a couple hours a week to invest in the lives of teenagers. The difference you can make is incredible and eternal. If you’d like to know more about becoming a volunteer leader, or think you know someone who would be a great fit, please contact GetConnected.

Re-Thinking Unreached People Groups

Nan’s note: Rev. John Kim is our new Global Outreach Director here at BelPres. He brings vast experience from his years in a variety of ministries. This is his first post for the BelPres mission blog. mail_image_previewWelcome, John!

Have you ever thought of making a difference with an unreached people group? When you think of an unreached people group you normally think of an obscure ethnic group living in a location almost impossible to get to. It can be, but it also can be an ethnic group that has less than 2% of its population that are evangelical Christian. And surprisingly you can find unreached people groups in some of the world’s most exotic cities, like Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, when you get beyond the beautiful city landscapes, bustling outdoor market shops, world financial center powerhouse, shopping districts and the best eateries in the world, has an underbelly of poverty and social injustice. Out of the 7 million people living in Hong Kong, 1.2 million live below the poverty line.  A few years ago, I had to opportunity to connect with Inner City Ministries (ICM), a Christian organization in Hong Kong that is reaching an unreached people group, the Nepalese. Originally, the Nepalese people came to Hong Kong as part of the Gurkha brigade of the British army. Most of the Nepali population in Hong Kong are the second and third generation of Gurkha soldiers that served in the British army in the 1970s. The Nepalese are one of the poorest groups severely marginalized by high unemployment, discrimination and the inherited disempowerment that comes from widespread socio-economic privation. Many of the Nepalese-Chinese children do not ever graduate from grade school and most follow the path to homelessness, drug & alcohol addiction, prostitution, and gangs.

One of the programs ICM has is a tutoring and mentoring program for children and youth. I came to one of the tutoring sessions and encountered one of the staff, Dhupa, who was teaching one of the classes to the students. Dhupa, a third generation Nepalese-Chinese, came to ICM as one of the students who grew up in the program and because of the love of Christ, she found a new life and noICM prayerw is an educator in the program.  In just a short time, you couldn’t help but feel love and compassion toward these children. I find it amazing that regardless of geographic location, children are the same everywhere you go. They play the same way, they joke the same way, they laugh at things the same way that all kids do. Dhupa shared story after story of children and families destroyed by drug abuse, homelessness and racial inequalities. ICM has groups that come in throughout the year to support the children & youth with tutoring, mentoring, bible studies, and music.

For many, unreached people groups are under the radar in our daily lives. Yes, there are places that many cannot go to but there are places accessible. Places where we can help and support organizations like ICM. They are on the front lines of sharing the love of Christ to the least in the world. I hope that we all will consider making a difference with an unreached people group. Impact.

Community Outreach Partner Focus: YFC’s City Life

Youth for Christ’s City Life ministry is a relational, holistic ministry that desires to see deep change in an urban neighborhood through transforming the lives of youth. Working together with like-minded partners, Christian adults connect with urban youth and work to introduce them in a natural way to the person of Jesus Christ, and then disciple them into the next generation of leaders for their neighborhood.

Every day at Youth for Christ we are blessed to impact young people throughout King and Snohomish Counties with the love and hope of Jesus Christ. One of them is a 7th grader at our City Life Club. Jose, the youngest of five kids, has not had an easy life. His father is absent and his mother has had a string of live-in boyfriends. Two of Jose’s older brothers joined gangs when they were in middle school and his two older sisters are teen moms. Only one of his siblings graduated from high school, and Jose has had difficulty making sense of it all.

Throughout of all this, YFC leaders are faithfully walking alongside Jose. We help Jose with his homework; bring him to YFC Club every week, to camps, special events and small groups. We listen to him. We even surprised him with the only Christmas gifts he received last year. We are very blessed to work with Jose. Scripture says, “Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

Jose recently said to a YFC staff member, “Guess what? I know what I want to be when I grow up! I want to be one of those investigators that helps protect children who have been abused!” It is remarkable that Jose wants to help others when he grows up, and we are honored to journey alongside Jose as God is doing a “good work” in his life. Your faithful support, through your prayers and financial gifts, ensures that this work continues every day for kids like Jose and hundreds more. Thank you!

Want to learn more about the work of YFC, or volunteer with them? contact Get Connected, below.

BelPres Serve Service Opportunity Contact Form

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Letter from the Editor

Last year during Lent I came across the term “Bright Sadness” to describe the season. This perfectly oxymoronic and paradoxical phrase was coined in Eastern Orthodox circles (the Greek translation could also be “joyful mourning” or “affliction that leads to joy”) and has been resting in the back of my brain ever since I first read it: a season of Bright Sadness.

This phrase is as enigmatic to me as the path I follow during Lent. When I think about Lent, my initial reaction could be characterized as apathetic. A time of sacrifice, temptation, and struggle. Hearing the TV remote call my name and remind me of the ease of snuggling up and zoning out as I attempt to do a devotional is not enjoyable. (more…)

Transformation in the Trees

During Lent we see transformation begin to happen in the landscape and in our hearts. The cold, darkness of winter is being re-formed into longer days, with color poking out from branches as the trees seek out a renewed sense of life and growth. Each tree is different than it was last year – its trunk has thickened, its roots are dug deeper, and each branch is being molded into a new shape for the coming season of intense growth and fruit production. Transformation is part of the tree’s life cycle, and is as regular as the seasons of the year. (more…)

The Impact of Immerse

All of the sessions were a blessing. I am going through difficult struggles in my marriage and with a defiant, explosive child. The ‘prayer writing’ and ‘teach us to pray’ session​s were particularly helpful in my process of turning these situations over to God and seeking to discern how God wants to use me to minister to my family.


I so needed a weekend just to be filled. Sometimes life gets so busy that it is hard to remember to spend time with God. This weekend gave me so practical ways to do that; it really met me where I am at. I have always felt envious of people that have said they have seen God or heard God only to learn that God has constantly been talking to me, I just haven’t listened.

(more…)

Top Books BelPres Library*: Part 2 of 2

*According to user data.

Explore these books and check out more resources at the BelPres Library. These books and many more are available in the BelPres Library. See our online catalog, listing over 5,000 resources.

Encounters with Jesus: Unexpected answers to life’s biggest questions
Timothy Keller                              

The people who met Jesus Christ in person faced the same big life questions we face today. Like most of us, the answers handed down to them didn’t seem to work in the real world. But when they met Jesus, things started to change immediately for them. It seems he not only had the answers — he was the answer.

Simplify: Ten practices to unclutter your soul
Bill Hybels

Simplified living requires more than just cleaning out your closets or reorganizing your desk drawer. It requires uncluttering your soul. By eradicating the stuff that leaves your spirit drained, you can stop doing what doesn’t matter―and start doing what does. (more…)

Growing Higher

Dr. Scott Dudley will join Christian Music Artist Clay Crosse as a keynote speaker at the 2016 Higher Ground Men’s Conference, on Saturday, February 27. Known for its straight talk and practical tools for the very real issues men of faith face daily in a compromised culture, Higher Ground has become synonymous with dynamic life change for men of faith in the Pacific Northwest.

Men just like Kevin.*

“As a young man I married a godly young woman and we served God together for decades. We recently celebrated our thirtieth wedding anniversary. But we almost didn’t make it.” (more…)

Taste and See

I bless God every chance I get; my lungs expand with his praise. I live and breathe God; if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy: Join me in spreading the news; together let’s get the word out. God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him. When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see – how good God is. Blessed are you who run to him. Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness.

Psalm 34:1-9, The Message

Dear Friends in Christ,

I’m about to begin a trip. The calendar tells me it is time once again to begin the journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, from Christmas to Easter. Christmas and Easter are words that  always bring a smile to my face as I joyfully anticipate the celebrations with family and friends. Isn’t it true, we love to be Christmas and Easter people. But this year, on Wednesday, February 10, we become Lenten people, as we turn our hearts and minds to the cross. During this journey, we’ll hear words like ashes, mortality, sin, and repentance. The music is somber. The mood is pensive. We are aware of our brokenness. This is Lent. Some folks say this is a very morose season of the year. I’ve even heard it described as a strange, bleak, irrational church season. And we might all agree. I must confess that through the years I have often not anticipated Lent with great joy, yet I realize Easter has meaning because of Lent, because we need a savior. And so it begins on Ash Wednesday. (more…)

Beauty for Ashes

“He will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair.” Isaiah 61.3

Recently, Community Outreach Team Member, Kris Bennett, and I traveled into the heart of Seattle to visit New Horizons and R.E.S.T. (Real Escape from the Sex Trade), two new BelPres Mission partners. Our first stop was in the Rainier Valley at the R.E.S.T. offices to meet with Edward Sumner, Director of Development, and Deborah Masten, Clinical Program Director. Founded in 2009, R.E.S.T. focuses on building pathways to freedom, safety, and hope for victims of sex trafficking, as well as for people involved in the sex trade in King County. They do this through building relationships with sexually exploited young people and responding to their needs, including understanding the barriers that keep them from living a life of freedom.

On any given night in King County, more than 1,000 young women are sold multiple times for sex. It is estimated that an average of 300-500 are underage teenagers. Sadly, the average age of entry into prostitution in the United States is between 13 and 14. As such, these girls require specialized, trauma-informed care that addresses the compounded, complex abuse they have typically experienced since childhood. In Joel 2:12 we read, “Yet even now,” declares the LORD, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” The Lord calls us, the Church, to fast, weep, and mourn over the brokenness in our community, where young women, in what is the most intimate of acts, are robbed of their dignity, value and identity as created in the image of God. (more…)

Ash

Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.

The word reached the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Jonah 3:4-6 ESV

The Bible has 56 references to ash. Why is ash and sackcloth such a common theme in the Bible? Ashes were used for various reasons: humility (Ezekiel 27:30), sacrifice (Leviticus 6:11), purification (Numbers 19:9-10), mourning (Esther 4:1) and repentance (Jonah 3:6). There are plenty of reasons and more scriptural examples besides these where ash is used, but it is the act of repentance that interests me the most.

There are definitely cringe worthy moments in my life where I would love to have a redo. I have always done my best to learn from my mistakes and all of them have made me the person I am today. Yet some of them seem so absurd, so out of character, that when I think back on them I am a little puzzled as to what I was thinking. Or more appropriately, what I was not thinking of. Mistakes in life will happen, God makes that plain: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 ESV). Due to my addiction to sin, I am called upon continually to repent. I am glad to know that I am saved by grace, “for by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8 ESV). But I would hope that over time I could reduce my faltering by keeping my heart, mind, and body focused on where God is calling me. (more…)

Behind the Scenes with Sandy Mabbott

I’m on day two of no more pumpkin pie, in hopes of brushing up on my self-control. I have to confess I opened the fridge to catch a whiff of cinnamon and cloves and a glance at the whipped cream. Oh, how I love that combo. This is hard! Stick with the pie, give up the jeans. Give up the pie, get into the jeans.

Although this is a story about Sandy Mabbott and not my pumpkin pie indulgences, it’s quite a connection to her after all. Keep reading. You’ll see how she died to something in order to resurrect to something better. Maybe Lent is being practiced here.

But first, as this month’s Behind the Scenes volunteer, let me share Sandy’s long resume of service. For starters, every Monday she relieves the receptionist for lunch. She’s been doing this for five years! As a previous staffer, she knows the phone system inside out. (more…)

What is God Calling YOU Into?

Have you noticed that the last several Lenten seasons Pastor Scott has suggested that rather than giving something up for Lent we take something on? Well, your Mission + Serve department has been listening. We’ve compiled some ideas for service and prayer in this Season of Lent. Of course this list is not exhaustive. In fact, if you come up with something from the list, OR something you’ve dreamed up on your own, would you please let me know? Shoot me an email at Nan Van Zwol. Read on for ideas and links, and Take Something ON for Lent!

  • Serve a meal at a day center or winter shelter, helping our neighbors who are unhoused, in transition or escaping from difficult situations. Opportunities with New Horizons, CFH, and others.
  • Register for the Discover + Live Your Purpose Webinar Re-Broadcast. Register HERE
  • Correspond with a Bellevue Presbyterian Church Missionary living abroad. Contact Nan Van Zwol
  • Pray for a First Responder through Bellevue Police Prayer Partners (BP3). Read more about it and sign up HERE
  • Give up 1, 2, or even 5 lattes a week in order to increase your gift to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering.
  • Volunteer with Club Jubilee at Chinook Middle School.
  • Join the Fireside Knitters, meeting first and third Thursdays, 9am-12pm in the Welcome room
  • Pick up a copy of Seek God for the City 2016, a Lenten prayer booklet specifically for Revival, available in the Lobby, or download the app HERE
  • Choose a Community or Global Outreach Partner to pray for every day. See our Mission + Serve Directory for a list of partners and missionaries
  • Prayer Walk your neighborhood daily, or weekly, or as often as works for you. Let us know what you did, below!
  • Pray daily for a Winter Impact Team. Pray for Haiti with Crossworld, Guatemala with Nicolas Fund for Education, and Dominican Republic with Children of the Nations. Contact Nan Van Zwol
  • Become a KidReach tutor or an Eastside Academy mentor.
  • Read Roadmap to Reconciliation by Brenda Salter McNeil (available in the church library), and join the Justice and Reconciliation discussion group.
  • Read a selection from the Lenten resources on display in the 1st floor Welcome Room Library
    Check out the Library’s Online Catalog for more Lenten resources
  • Join the Usher Team.
  • Join the Flower Committee.
  • Send a care package to a Missionary or BelPres College Student.
  • Pack a used handbag–in good condition–with toiletries and snack foods. Keep it in your car to hand to women in need you encounter.
  • Stop by the Mission + Serve office (on the 2nd floor of the Lower Campus) and pick up a Family Prayer & Action Journey pack. 30 days of prayer geared toward families wanting to pray together for issues of Justice. Produced by Steps of Justice

Fill out this Form to find out more, or let us know what cool thing you’re taking on in the comments section, below!

BelPres Serve Service Opportunity Contact Form

Contact information for ministry opportunities.
  • Please indicate the areas in which you have interest in serving.