Sam and Melissa both had YMI president, Dr. Randy Smith, as a professor while attending Boyce College and Southern Seminary in Louisville, KY. Dr. Smith taught them missions courses, personal evangelism and youth courses. The relationship between professor and students soon turned to missionary and mission agency president. Sam and Melissa joined YMI’s team in Eurasia (specifically Ukraine) and soon became YMI’s Eurasia team leaders. Several years and 3 children later (Jarett, Evy & Corbyn), Sam and Melissa have been incredibly successful in Ukraine, where they now have 5 partnering Christian schools training youth leaders throughout the country. Those 5 schools have almost 90 students studying to become local church youth pastors!
In 2017 Sam attended a conference called “Two22” in Kyrgyzstan, where the reputation of YMI’s programs in Ukraine have spread.. Many of the main leaders in Central Asia lack, but want our YMI formal training. Sam and his team of youth ministry trainers are looking forward to solidifying plans to begin Centers for Youth Ministry and signing partnership agreements with multiple seminaries throughout the “Stan” region.
Through Sam and Melissa’s leadership, A Center for Youth Ministry Ukraine (CYMU) attained the needed legal and financial infrastructure. Through this Ukrainian organization, YMI is partnering to send national missionaries throughout Eurasia. Currently 2 of our 7 Ukrainian youth ministry professors are raising their support through CYMU to be full-time youth ministry trainers.