Strategic Partner Update


Expanding—Not Waiting Out The Virus!!

MI has a clear vision, “to evangelize and disciple the world’s youth through the local church”.  This vision is the first thing you will see here on our website.  We succeed when we are able to see youth evangelized, discipled and mobilized in every region of every country. 

Our primary method is “training the national trainers”.  It has been decades since Western mission mentality was to send “Americans” to evangelize the world.  Modern missions recognizes that world missions can best be accomplished when nationals are trained and mobilized.  The most effective approach for reaching the youth of the world with the Gospel is to train nationals who will in turn train more nationals.  Our academic programs have become the anchor in our vision to train national trainers.  But, with the interruption in our ministry because of Covid, we have used the time to re-envision what YMI needs to be.  Here is the new perspective that our executive leadership has brought to YMI in the last year.

Phil Rice — Romania: European Director and VP of Ministry Expansion:

After almost three decades we are constantly reminded to keep expanding the work we are doing with two simple concepts: vision and encouragement. These are the two main focuses we are working on for the new Saturation Multiplication Training (SMT) strategy – Casting the vision and walking alongside nationals to encourage them to continue fulfilling the Great Commission.

In doing this our prayer is to reach the 2.3 billion lost young people in the world with the GospelSMT is as “simple” as the Great Commission when it comes to casting the vision, but is complex when it comes to working out all the details.

One of the ways to the ways to start a movement is to inspire people to do great things for God by reminding them to look for His leadings. And one way to kill a missional movement is to believe that they have to do it our way. Working and living overseas the past 9 years has taught me one thing: Vision will be accomplished as God does His work His way with His people in His time.


Jon Barr—USA: Executive Director of Training Development:

While Covid-19 has allowed us to reexamine our vision and get our SMT initiative started in several countries, it has also allowed us to recommit to our belief in the local church. YMI is unashamedly a strong proponent of the local church which is why it is affirmed in our vision statement.

However, we live in a broken world because of sin.  Part of that brokenness is the fact that not every youth subculture or even country locale has an effective local church. In these areas we have found ourselves waiting for new churches to be planted so we can train their youth leaders.

All of us serving with YMI have been convicted that standing still is not God’s choice. We are now developing a new initiative to encourage our graduates to partner with established local churches to purposefully plant youth churches – YCP for short – in these areas. Our academic curriculum will be updated, to reflect this thinking, and our new SMT initiative will reap the benefits of youth leaders trained and prepared to start youth churches where the church is not.


We have the benefit to have been working in a number of countries in academic education. This means there are numerous youth workers and pastors in local churches in these fields. But there are many more churches who do not have trained youth workers. 

This is what we feel God is calling us to work out in the SMT strategy, to have quality youth ministry training in every region of a country.


YMI succeeds when we are able to see our training move from the trainer and impact the teenager. While our academic training is our distinctive, SMT and YCP extends our “training the trainers” down to the Country by Country, County by County, and Church by Church level as our trained leaders reach out and win youth to Christ and disciple them to be ambassadors for Christ.



I have a daily alarm set as a reminder to pray for youth work at 2:22 PM (2 Timothy 2:2). Will you pray with us too? 

Recently God convicted me to pray more specifically out of Philippians 1. This prayer helps us focus on two things. First, Paul reminds us to be thankful that we are together in this gospel ministry that He began and will complete until the day of Christ Jesus. Second, he reminds us to pray for their love to abound with knowledge and discernment so that they can approve what is excellent… to the glory and praise of God! 

Will you pray with us for our brothers and sisters around the world who are called to reach this generation for Christ as we all continue to give all praise and glory to God for the work He is faithful to complete?

Updates from Our Trainers


Jon is working on a youth church planting strategy and Sonnet continues to work in donor relations. Both have their COVID-19 vaccinations as Jon will be going to Mexico in May and are excited about the possibility of visiting Russia in the fall.

You can contact Jon at

or Sonnet at


It has been a season of travel and reconnection as we have met with family members, friends, ministry partners, churches, and the YMI team and leadership. God has been faithful to provide financial support, relationships, and encouragement along the way. We hope to finish well here in the US in order to be as healthy and equipped as possible to return to Romania.

Say Hello to the Hintons at: 




Melissa and I sprinted during our last several months teaching classes and preparing ministry to continue in our furlough absence. I also taught our first classes in Central Asia albeit online.

We are now in the states and recently attended a missionary debriefing retreat to process the last 10 years on the field.

Currently we are reporting to and serving the people and churches in the US that make our ministry possible.

If you would like to send the Hughes family a note of encouragement, email:


We are ready to go home to Ukraine and restart our life and ministry there. Vasya has done a wonderful job in our absence and we have 6 new graduates from Kyiv Theological Seminary. God has provided our financial support during the furlough and we are so grateful for the love shown to us from our partners in ministry and YMI. We flyout on July 27th and covet prayers for the transition.

 If you would like to send the Hughes family a note of encouragement, email:



As Karen and I continue to meet with our team for missionary care, it is truly a joy for us to minister to our YMI team of missionaries, who are committed to growing and maturing in their personal relationships with Jesus, who are committed to seeing young people all over the world come to faith in Jesus and then be discipled and who are committed to seeing their own children grow and mature in their relationships with Jesus. Praise the Lord for the team of missionaries that God has assembled to be a part of our YMI Family.  

Contact the Mills at


On May 29, 2021, a graduation ceremony was held for graduates of the Kyiv Theological Seminary. We have six graduates in the Youth Ministry program.  Thank God! We have started a partnership with the Vinnytsia Seminary of the Bible Exposition on the training of youth ministers.

In September,  we start the annual program of Youth Ministry at Kharkiv Bible College.

Contact the Ostryis at



Reconnecting in person at this year’s YMI gathering is the theme with the Rice family. Caleb said it was great to reconnect in person, because meeting online isn’t deep enough for people who need to do things together to connect.  Brady said the Louisville gathering was immensely helpful in realizing how important it is to reconnect in person after the long absence of interpersonal “3D” relationships. Our family was so refreshed to be together with our YMI family as we shared stories and had immediate understanding of struggles we faced with living overseas during the pandemic.  It was exactly what we all needed.

 You can be in touch with the Rice family at



Joe and Cori Beth hosted our YMI Family Gathering event in Louisville for all our missionaries who could make it to the U.S. We had a great time of fellowship among our team. Since Asia remains closed due to COVID restrictions, the Groms are relocating to the Los Angeles area to serve alongside the Kaptain family in an interim ministry until Asia opens.

To contact the Groms: or