When Luma Haddad was 13 years old, someone poured into her life, encouraging her to believe that God had an incredible future laid out for her. For years, she has walked in that promise victoriously, and today serves as Young Life’s National City Area Director.
Through that ministry, she has focused on leading young ladies into a relationship with Christ, supported by her power-house team of women, Jessica and Constance. In today’s generation, having positive role models is more important than ever.
“Young girls need at least six positive adult role models in their lives,” explains Luma. “That’s where the church comes in, or a teacher, or a family member, or a coach, or a pastor . . . any one of those people can play a huge role in a young girl’s life.”
Especially now, in a social-media driven society, where peer pressure and bullying are commonplace, girls have so much pressure on their backs. The remedy, says Jessica, is to build relationships, which is what Young Life is all about.
At the core of their relationships is the message that girls have value, and that only Christ can fill the void they feel — not social media, not boys, not drugs, not alcohol, or anything else in this world. To foster authentic relationships, the Young Life team practices the “ministry of presence” by simply being in the arena of young girls’ lives to speak truth. They help women recognize who they were created to be, princesses belonging to their heavenly Father.
For the Young Life team, sometimes the fastest way to build relationships is through spending time in active listening, and just being available. As Yuma says, youth today don’t need more programs and activities. They need relationships with adults who will love and spend time with them.
“If you’re an emerging youth leader, be famous with a few,” she says. “Jesus did well with the 5,000, but he went deep with the 12. Focus on praying for those few, walking alongside of them, building a relationship with them, and God will use you.”
Taking on the mentor role doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. In fact, our brokenness leaves room for empathy and room to grow together. As Constance explains, “For us to be able to bring them into a nonjudgmental environment, and pour into them that stability that they need, that is really huge.”
In the end, the sacrifice is not about us, but rather about what Jesus can do through us. “Know that God is going to use you,” concludes Jessica. “These youth are not going to be attracted to you, but to Jesus in you.”
Follow Luma, Jessica, and Constance at: Luma Haddad’s Instagram: @lumalove3 / Luma Haddad’s Facebook: @luma.love.3 / Jessica Jeries’ Instagram: @J4Given / Jessica Jeries’ Email: J_Jeries@yahoo.com / Constance Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.