A new year has brought a new crisis into our world, a new plan in Africa, and a new face around the office.

A new crisis into our world…
Twenty-five years ago, Reach Out’s mission to “equip and multiply leaders globally who influence the younger generation to follow Jesus” began in Ukraine. While that mission continues today, God is using us to meet the needs of the people in that country through our team there in unique and powerful ways.
Because our base of ministry operations for the country has been in Western Ukraine for many years, we are now strategically located to care for the needs of refugees and IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) in significant ways. Funds have been, and continue to be, collected for our ministry friends and partners located in that region.
Since the war began, our partners there have organized housing in 11 locations, hosting between 400-500 people per night. Daily, they are engaged in helping families cross the border into safety. Vehicles have been purchased to drive into places like Bucha and deliver humanitarian aid, and then return full of people fleeing for their lives. Mattresses, pillows, blankets, food, and games for the children were purchased for those in the safe houses that have been created.
They even hosted a wedding in one of the safe houses for a couple whose special event had been cancelled due to the war raging in their town.
These centers have brought together many of our Eagle Leaders, some who have fled to safety, and others who are working to manage the safe houses there.
Vitaliy, one of our JFYM Eagle Leaders (featured in our March newsletter), recently traveled to Western Ukraine to help wherever needed. God is using his knowledge of the German language to communicate with those bringing in supplies for the center that are coming across the border from Germany.

Sasha was one of the first youth leaders trained by Reach Out in Ukraine. In the early formation of Reach Out’s training footprint in Ukraine, Natasha (Sasha’s wife), was our director of the Youth Ministry School there. It was in that ministry school where Sasha and Natasha met and were soon married. Several years ago, Sasha received one of the first bachelor’s degrees in youth ministry in the country. 
Most recently, Sasha has been serving as the pastor of a thriving church in the city of Bucha. Now, Natasha and their younger children have made it safely across the border, while Sasha and his older son are currently helping in the IDP centers that have opened. They were recently made aware that his church and home were hit by a missile. Thankfully, people who had taken refuge in the basement of the church were safe. Pray for Sasha, Natasha, their children, and the members of their church as they faithfully walk through these uncertain days.

A new plan for Africa…
This year, the word our African leaders are concentrating on is “implementation.” Over the last several years, hundreds of churches and thousands of youth leaders and parents have been trained in Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry. This year, our African country leaders are initiating “implementation workshops” for those who have already been trained in JFYM. These workshops are designed to allow participants to: (1) share testimonials of what God has done in their churches, schools, and communities through JFYM; (2) discuss challenges and roadblocks they have faced; (3) review the 6 essential characteristics of the life and ministry of Jesus that we teach in JFYM; and (4) develop individualized action plans for each participant’s life and ministry. Thirteen countries have already facilitated their first workshops, and the results coming in are incredible! Here are a few highlights:

In DRC, Mwema Bertin wrote that at their first implementation workshop, 55 leaders attended. That weekend, they also celebrated 120 youth saved from a hosted outreach event!

In Malawi, Billy Banda held an implementation workshop on March 24 in the Dedza district. Forty-two participants showed up representing 18 different denominations! One of the youth leaders present said, “JFYM has helped the youth in our church. They are empowered and reaching the non-Christians on their campuses and they are doing outreach events. In the past, we did not do that.” One pastor said, “Jesus-Focused Youth Ministry has brought revival!” Billy Banda writes: “We have been encouraged to note the work is bearing fruit and these follow-up meetings give the church leaders strength to move on.

In Mozambique, Iwell Phiri communicated that during the first quarter of this year they hosted an implementation workshop with 28 leaders in attendance, and through school evangelism they have seen 820 new believers baptized and have followed up with intentional discipleship!
A new face around the office…

Although this face isn’t new to Reach Out, it is new to have her join us in our office in Flower Mound, TX! Christina Oleksyuk (right) has been our Country Leader for Ukraine for the last three years. She has been leading the training for our Eagle Leaders there, as well as training various churches. During the pandemic, she started a very effective online mentoring ministry for our team in Ukraine. And now, for the foreseeable future, she is here! What a blessing to have her with us during this tumultuous time for her country.
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion,
“Your God reigns." Isaiah 52:7
Jesus is Lord,
Randy Riggins, President
Reach Out Youth Solutions