Walk with those we serve

Did you know?

On a YES trip, a meal shared between a student and a person we serve costs about $7. This summer, we are asking for your help as we invest in the lives of others.

In the world of YES, the smallest gift means so much to the people we meet. By donating just a few dollars – a number even as small as your shoe size – we can be a powerful voice of Christ’s love in the world.

The basis of the YES approach to service is creating community; coming together to love God’s people and His creation. If just two people with size 7 feet donated their shoe size, five individuals could share a meal together. If just fifteen people teamed up to donate $10 each, a student could be given a scholarship to attend a trip, and have their eyes opened to the love of Christ on a YES weekend.

We want to create opportunities for even the youngest among us to give meaningful and valuable gifts. Donating any amount brings the donor together with the trip participant, the participant with people in need, and all of us together as a family, striving towards the one goal of loving each other as Christ loves us.

“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10

During our Leadership Training weekend, May 26-29, the YES leaders hosted a carnival for families at our FOCUS center in Pittsburgh.

YES Trip Testimonies

Christ calls us to love our neighbors. As a YES trip participant, those neighbors were most often the poor, the hungry, and the homeless. However, leadership training made me realize another critical component of YES: that we’re all each other’s neighbors. The philosophy of YES, as I had come to misinterpret it, was rooted in solely making neighbors out of those whom will likely never own the mailbox next door to mine. While this is undoubtedly a piece of the puzzle, it is flawed, it ironically disjoints, and it misses the bigger picture. In all actuality, the reason why Christ calls us to love our neighbors is because we are all made in His image and likeness. Regardless of socioeconomics, skin, or spirituality, we are called to love. This agapic, kenotic love is not restricted for those most ostensibly in need of it. We’re all in need of this love. That being said, YES leadership training highlighted the equal importance of loving and pouring into the participants as well. YES is a multifaceted ministry designed to also serve the kids and families in attendance. To be a YES leader is to be a neighbor. The two are synonymous. The YES leader recognizes that the optics of worldliness can make one look poorer and hungrier than the other. We must love and serve the person in front of us, understanding that we’re all deprived in one way or another.

-Peyton Powers, YES Leader


For me, to be a YES leader is to simply be willing; willing to serve, willing to love, willing to listen, and willing to be uncomfortable (in the best way possible). You need to be willing to do what God wants you to do, no questions asked. Trust Him.

What I received from YES LT is something unexplainable: an inner confidence, a voice, a purpose, an ever more present yearning to do something MORE. I also received love, a deeper love than anything I’ve ever experienced from everyone that surrounded me. I have been blessed with genuine, life long friendships with people I grew to know in only 3 days. I now have a calling to share the love of Christ with a remarkable group of people.

-Catherine Gillquist, YES Leader

Where are our YES Leaders now?

We have been taking students from participants to leaders since 2012.  YES is shaping what they pursue in life and opening up opportunities for real self-awareness and discovery. What are they doing now?

Trip Leader: Michael Moussa

What are you doing now?
I have just graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry. I am now taking a gap year (working/traveling) before I matriculate into Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine in August of 2018.

How many YES trips have you been on?
13 YES trips and 2 leadership trainings

Has YES helped in different aspects of your life?
Absolutely. The teachings and lifestyle of YES have manifested themselves into all aspects of my life. How I interact with others, serve and encourage others, view poverty, and view suffering have all been enhanced through YES. Lastly, YES has nurtured in me the leadership skill that I have been/will be using the rest of life, the skill of leading with love.

What would you want to tell future trip leaders? 
Be excited. Ahead of you lies a journey of unending learning, compassion, sacrifice, and self-growth. My best advice to you is to dive in headfirst. Indulge in the feeling of stepping out of your comfort zone, for there is no greater indicator of growth. It’s not easy at first, but through practice and willingness, leading with love and confidence will become you.


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