KenyaCharles Juma, Training Trainers
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. I left home immediately after finishing high school to look for employment in Mombasa City, a tourist destination on the shores of the Indian Ocean.
To get there 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 temporarily stay with some friends in Ruiru Town, just outside Nairobi.
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. 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 choir director and youth Sunday School teacher.
Shortly after, in 1987, the U.S. missionaries who started the church 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 keynote 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, and by the end of the year my youth group had grown from around 10 per week to more than 125. Subsequently, 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 Youth Ministry International 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 where I obtained my BS in 2002 and my M.Div. in 2006.
Youth Ministry International 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 Youth Ministry International 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!
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