We need to equip young adults to help change their world
I am the product of spiritual genetic engineering. God has placed a passion inside of me to see global change through young people.
Never in history have we been faced with these demographics—60 percent of young people live in Asia and 90 percent of the world’s youth live in developing nations. These countries are part of what’s known as the 10/40 Window—a geographical region that is the most densely populated and yet the least evangelized.
Young adults worldwide are facing horrific issues, which we must confront. The average age of human trafficking victims is between 10-18, and 60 percent of those rescued from brothels in South Asia are infected with HIV. Approximately 1 million youth and children are sold into the sex industry annually.
Those, as young as age 5, are being recruited and forced to serve in combat in nearly 50 wars worldwide. Child labor is another concern in developing countries. Forced labor threatens the physical, emotional and mental well-being, as well as the proper development of a child. The International Labor Organization estimates that 215 million children, as young as age 5, have been forced to work in order to pay off the debts of their parents.
Because of these startling statistics, we must equip the younger generation to face and transform the challenges that have gripped and oppressed the world’s youth. We cannot afford to close our eyes or turn a deaf ear to their needs.
Having lived abroad during most of my adult life, I’m familiar with seeing these travesties, while ministering in more than 133 countries. I was convicted and later mandated by God to establish Global Leadership Training Center (GLTC) and Young Adults United for Global Outreach (YUGO).
The vision of GLTC is to empower candidates for global impact. The Bible-based training program equips students with cutting edge 21st century strategies, leadership skills and methods for impacting nations such as environmental sciences and alternative power sources. We also teach young people about international public health, human trafficking, economic empowerment, literacy and resettling refugees.
Our module known as the Global Mission Placement program gives graduates an on-site apprentice opportunity to serve on the field. My present class recently returned from the townships of Soweto, South Africa, where they were helping toddlers and minors infected by AIDS through rape. We distributed aid to the poor, ministered to Somalian refugees and empowered women.
YUGO gives youth an avenue to experience missions through training coupled with hands-on application. YUGO trains participants on the how-tos of short-term missions. My desire was to open up the mission field to young people by extending the same opportunity that my mentors Terry Mize and T.L. and Daisy Osborne gave me.
Through their mentoring, I have served as a mission consultant to several growing churches such as Frederick Price’s Crenshaw Christian Center in Los Angeles and Bill Winston’s Living Word Christian Center in Forest Park, Ill.
Churches can empower the younger generation by establishing a summer youth missions outreach. Congregations can also teach youth how to pray effectively for nations by focusing on the specific concerns that affect those countries. Additionally, churches can develop mission-minded youth groups and plan events centered on cultural awareness. Pastors can also encourage young people to adopt an annual foreign missions project.
As modern day Pauls equipping the Timothys of tomorrow, we must instill in them the same urgency Paul left with Timothy, according to 2 Timothy 6:20. As we train and equip the young adults of today to impact the nations, we will transform a generation to embrace their call to be God’s ambassadors to those who have no voice.
Ministering for more than 30 years in 133-plus countries, Patricia Bailey-Jones is founder of YUGO. (Young Adults United for Global Outreach), GLTC (Global Leadership Training Center) and SEW (Sisters Empowering the World). She has served as a consultant to heads of states, diplomats and other important government dignitaries in Uganda, Burundi, Congo, Western Sahara and countries in the Caribbean. You can visit her website at mtmintl.org.