Shining a light in the brokenness

Inner City Youth Alive (ICYA) has been serving people in Winnipeg’s North End for 35 years, bringing hope and a future through Christ to youth and families. ICYA’s partnership with CBS is helping provide access to the Word of God.

Every year, ICYA disciples and mentors hundreds of youth. Terry is one of them and has been part of the ICYA family for 15 years. When he first started at ICYA, he was a non-cooperative 13-year-old, who would wander around pacing. Often, he would leave his desk to stare out the window. Unfortunately, his family situation at the time was filled with abuse and neglect and he showed signs of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

As ICYA built a relationship with Terry, he began attending Gem Lake Wilderness Camps, where he built healthy relationships with role models, ate warm meals and learnt about the redeeming love of Jesus.

As he re-entered home, he would be gone or even cut drugs in his kitchen. However, through ICYA, he began to learn more about God’s faithfulness and how to strive to be a man of integrity – all of this amid pressures to join a gang, friends getting stabbed or going to jail, and a tough family life.

When he was 16 years old, he wrote this: “For I see the dark on the streets like gangs and drugs. I have sat in the dark until I heard about God, but it never pulled me all the way out. Now I stand in the dark, but it’s like a window is there and a bit of light is coming in, so it makes me kind of out of place. Sometimes it’s ok, most of the time it’s dark but I know that light is still there, so I think, ‘what if I try to look out the window?’ So, I go to it, but I turn around and stand there again.”

ICYA staff and supporters continued to pray for Terry – being present and sharing God’s Word and His love for Terry.

Today, Terry is a young man of God, a loving husband, father to a little girl, and a compassionate leader working at ICYA. He is working to show God’s redeeming love to other Indigenous youth here in Manitoba. In recent years he even connected with Indigenous youth all the way out in the Fiji Islands!

While Terry’s story is about a community that surrounded him in the tough times and prayerfully supported him, it’s also about never giving up, and about God reaching into brokenness, and filling it with light and hope.

Today, Terry is using the valuable materials from CBS to share the gospel with young leaders from the community. Each workday he helps lead a Bible study with their work skills participants.

The CBS resources are used each day through our Bridge Drop-in, Gem Lake Camp, and Community Ministry. The devotionals and youth bibles are given to ICYA youth mentees. ICYA is grateful that its partnership with CBS is helping make stories like this happen.

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