Testimonies

YES KC 09 - Grace

The YES trip was the most amazing experience I have ever had and it changed me in so many ways. I used to think that people were homeless mostly because they were lazy. Now I realize that these people have real lives and were merely put into difficult situations. This trip showed me that Christ's light shines in everyone and sometimes it just takes a smile to bring it out.

- Grace



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YES KC 09 - Elizabeth Waters

To someone who was going to go on a YES trip, I would tell them that they should have an open mind. If you go into something like this with a closed mind, your sterio-types may have difficulty changing. The trip completely changed my perspective. I thought that all homeless people were depressed and mean. That was my sterio-type. I've realized that most of them are extremely nice, kind people. The smallest things that we overlook are miracles in their eyes, and it showed me how grateful i should be for everything I have. I think the trip has kind of humbled me. Smaller things make me happy, when I probably never thought of those things before the trip.

Elizabeth Waters


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Philadelphia, August 09

The OYO/Yes trips i have attended have opened my eyes to see that homeless
people have more faith than many of us and that the stereotypes we have of
them are wrong in many ways.  They are people just like us who at times,
all they need is a little bit of
acknowledgment and someone to talk to. - Miranda Bandeli


An absolute life changing experience. It has opened my eyes to see the
light of the Lord and how his works shine through us as Christians. These
humble works made a difference in someone's life; whether it be a homeless
person or an ill person. Just thinking about our positive impact on
someone else's life, gives me the chills. It truly is an unforgettable
experience, for not only did I make a difference in someone's life, but
they also altered mine. Their love, faith, and beliefs touched my heart
enough to make me cry. I wish there could be a way for everyone to
experience what I did. Trust me, now life goes on in the path of light.

With love,Mary Salim


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Erin KC Trip Sept. 09

Thanks to the YES trip in Kansas City, my eyes have been opened to the amazing capabilities of our young people. We tend to shelter them for the purpose of caring for them, but all we are doing is denying them the opportunity to care for others. Actually, we are preventing them from doing the very thing they were created to do: to see Christ in themselves and others. After taking our teens on this trip and watching Christ's love pour out of them, I have a much better understanding of what it means to be service minded in the Church. We don't serve because we should, we serve because we are made to. Anyone who wants a chance to live as they were intended should jump at the chance to be a part of a YES trip. A word of warning though: you will never be the same.

- Erin Learned



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From the KC Trip 09

"As a Youth Director, I try to find ways for our teens to live out their Christian faith by doing rather than just saying.  The YES program provided an opportunity for all of us who participated on this trip to minister to the poor and deprived only to discover that we ourselves are just as poor and deprived. Every participant recognized the face of Christ in each person we encountered – stereotypes, generalizations, segregation, racism, judgments – were given a new perspective."

Camille


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Western Region Teens in Action - South Central LA

by Katrina Bitar
Western Region Youth Director

Someone once said that if your faith is struggling… if you are feeling weak and wavering… go feed the hungry. You are sure to find God there. Whoever said that left one thing out, and that is that no matter how strong your faith is, and no matter how clearly you are able to see God in your life, nothing makes for a clearer picture than spending time with the poor and needy. And most importantly, taking your children with you to do so.



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NAC Teen SOYO Orthodox Youth Outreach

by Fr Kevin Scherer
NAC Teen SOYO OYO Coordinator

Orthodox Youth Outreach (OYO) was designed to be a resource to the local Church in fulfilling the commission of Christ as outlined in Matthew 28:19: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” The driving philosophy behind OYO is simple: train Orthodox young people, as early as possible, that it is the normal action of every Christian to share the love of Christ to every people group – especially the poor and needy. Our desire is to train up an army of servants for Christ who have only one vision: to empty themselves on behalf of the other.



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I Left My Heart in South Central

by Elaina Matook
NAC Teen SOYO President

It amazes me in what unexpected places Christ can be discovered…

For nearly half an hour we searched the streets of Los Angeles trying to find someone to eat breakfast with us, which proved to be more difficult than we had predicted. But finally, we spotted her – “the Prophetess Holy Ling,” as she called herself– singing on a street corner with a black cowboy hat, a tambourine, and a contented smile. From the start we could tell that she was a bit mentally unbalanced, but the faith she possessed blew away all my previous assumptions and stereotypes.



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OYO Phoenix (October 2006)

by Chris Rayyan

Last month, a group of about thirty Orthodox Christians and I were given the opportunity to participate in an Orthodox Youth Outreach program in Phoenix, Arizona. Although about half of the members on the trip were native to the Phoenix metropolitan areas, all were asked upon arriving to make a promise to themselves that on the trip, they would each attempt to embrace the city of Phoenix without any preconceived notions, as though it contained a life unknown and undiscovered; a task, which for many, was easier than anticipated.



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Stereo Types & Shakespeare

by Nancy “Eve” Sapp

Before the Nashville OYO trip, I don’t remember the last time I shivered so much. As a resident of Florida, anything under sixty degrees is considered extremely cold. So, spending February 16th through the 18th in the below freezing temperatures of Nashville, TN was quite a difference.


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