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Hello everyone! My name is Charles Juma, and I live in Kenya, East Africa. I was born and raised in a very poor village in western Kenya.  Immediately after finishing high school, I left home to look for employment in a big city. My destination was Mombasa City, a tourist destination on the east coast of Kenya on the shores of the Indian Ocean.

To go to Mombasa, I had to go through Nairobi (Kenya’s capital). When I reached Nairobi, I realized I did not have enough money to make it to Mombasa, so I decided to stay with some friends just outside Nairobi. With the little change left in my pocket, I boarded a bus to Ruiru Town to find my friends. On a Saturday evening during my first week in Ruiru, I came across a small Baptist Church whose choir was rehearsing for Sunday. The choir director saw me and invited me to church the following day. During the service, I heard the gospel for the first time. Until then, my entire family and I were Muslims. During the response time at the end of the service, I received Jesus as Savior and Lord, which radically changed my life! A short time later, I returned home and witnessed to my parents and siblings and all of them became followers of Jesus. I began to sense God’s call in my life and returned to Ruiru to serve as the volunteer church choir director and youth Sunday School teacher.

Shortly after, in 1987, the US missionaries who started the church in Ruiru organized a conference on youth ministry, which was the first of its kind for that mission agency in Kenya. They invited Dr. Dave Adams and Randy Smith to be the key speakers. It was a life-changing event for me. During the last service, led by Randy, I surrendered my life to be a youth pastor. Randy sent Jon Barr to train me for one year. By the end of the year of training, my youth group grew from around 10 per week to more than 125. Consequently, thousands of teens heard the gospel every week in public schools and in other planned youth events.  I am happy to say that this series of events inspired the founding of YMI as an organization. I became YMI’s First-Born, and the church’s first full time paid youth pastor.

In 1998, YMI sponsored me to come to the US to further my training in youth ministry. I obtained my BS in 2002 and my M.Div. in 2006. I took some time off before enrolling for my PhD, which I hope to complete very soon. YMI has remained a true friend, supporter, and inspiration. Over the years, YMI has provided me with opportunities to serve in various ways. In particular, I have enjoyed my role as a youth leader trainer. I have trained hundreds of youth leaders in 13 African countries, and as a result, every year thousands of youth are being reached for Christ and discipled! I am all that I am today because YMI believed in me and prepared me for the work of the ministry in Africa. I will remain forever grateful to God for the way He continues to use YMI to produce and prepare many more Charles Jumas around the world for His service and glory!

Charles Juma (shown on right) at the
Center for Youth Ministry East Africa in 1988

Charles Training Youth Leaders in East Africa.

About YMI

Over 90% of the world’s formally trained youth leaders are in the USA, ministering to only 3% of the world’s youth. YMI is dedicated to changing this statistic. We want to be a part of a worldwide movement committed to reaching the world’s youth for Christ by training youth leaders globally. With your help we can empower and equip churches across the world with the leaders they need.

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