Nationals Leaders Joining Our YMI Team

Youth Ministry International began in the late 1980s. In the early developmental years our leadership team was exclusively from the USA.  As we grew and developed, we began moving nationals into leadership roles.

National leadership rarely happens overnight for most mission agencies. One of YMI’s strength is that we function with a very small leadership team. In general, we train and release. This makes national leadership more difficult to put in place. However, with a goal of training national youth leaders around the world that will be able to touch the lives of all 2.3 billion youth living in this world today, we will need leadership and organization from nationals to accomplish this.

Every country in which we are presently training has different characteristics which define the type of leadership YMI needs to provide for these differing situations.

For example, in Nigeria there is a very strong organizational network that quickly grasped the need for training and equipping youth leaders. This requires YMI to provide very little leadership outside of vision-casting. Nigeria has literally been a train-and-release country from the time YMI began work there.

On the other hand, Romania has a very strong leadership network through local churches and the seminary, but it has not caught the vision for youth leadership training in the same way Nigerian leadership has.

This reality has required YMI to provide continued leadership for training and national vision-casting. Our European Director lives in Romania to provide that training.

Steve Kaptain, our Asia Director, lived in Nepal for 12 years and strived to create a solid network of trainers. One of those national trainers is Prabin, who is now the Director of the  Nepal Center For Youth Ministries and, along with his wife, continues the ongoing training of nationals in Nepal. Steve and his family have moved to Malaysia, allowing him access to not only Malaysia but Indonesia and China.  

I say all of this to let you know that our monthly digital Newsletters will contain reports from our national leaders along with reports from the USA leadership team. I want to introduce some of our national leaders so that you are familiar with them as they write future newsletters.

Vasya: YMI Ukrainian National Leader.  Vasya is a product of YMI’s Master’s in Youth Ministry program at Kyiv Theological Seminary where he graduated in 2007. After graduation he started teaching youth ministry at Rivine Bible College, and in 2012 became Director of Center for Youth Ministries Ukraine. He became a full-time trainer for YMI last year replacing Sam Hughes as YMI’s Ukrainian Director.

Seven:  Un-Named (for safety’s sake) National Leader.  There is little we can say about Seven besides the fact that anything we say specifically can put his life at risk. Because of the danger, we are not able at this time to include articles and stories from him. He is doing a fabulous job impacting his country.

Prabin:  CYM director for Nepal. Prabin was born a Hindu and grew up among the temples and idols of Hinduism. Through his sister, his whole family came to know Christ – which is no small miracle as his grandfather was a Hindu priest. After his salvation he had a strong desire to learn more about his new faith. This desire led him into service and witnessing for Christ. He eventually received a Bachelor’s in Theology and, with his wife, continued their education by getting a Master’s degree in Youth Ministry from YMI Master’s program at Himalayan Graduate School of Theology. His latest training conference had over 80 youth leaders in attendance. Prabin was also overseeing our work in Myanmar until the coup disrupted life and shut down the seminary.

Claudia: Claudia is our newest member to national leadership. In May she became the Director of our Mexican Center for Youth Ministry. Claudia is a product of our Youth Ministry Degree program at the Mexican Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS). She has been a teacher at MBTS for several years and has created a national informal training program that is training lay youth leaders around Mexico. Claudia is excited about youth ministry and reaching her country.

For now, YMI’s leadership is still weighted towards the USA, but as you read articles from Vasya, Prabin and Claudia in the future, I believe you will also realize that our national leadership team is doing a great job and is fully capable of leading us in fulfilling YMI’s goals and vision.

Jon Barr
Jon is the YMI Executive Director of Training Development