Read a YAV dad letter
The Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) Program offers exciting opportunities in Christian service and learning for young adults (19 to 30 years of age.) The YAV Program has 16 sites in the United States and abroad and requires a commitment of one academic year. Young Adult Volunteers serve in communities of need.
“YAV Dad” Jeff DeYoe, who also happens to be the senior pastor of Worthington Presbyterian Church, Columbus, Ohio, recently wrote the following letter to Hunter Farrell, director of Presbyterian World Mission, after being inspired by his recent visit to his daughter’s YAV site in Guatemala.
My wife, Ruth, and I recently returned from spending a week in Guatemala with our daughter, Tina, who is serving our church in the Young Adult Volunteer program. While we were there, we also had the opportunity to meet a couple of other YAVs who are there for the year.
I just want to share with you my admiration for these young people and their commitment to serve the PC(USA) in this way. They are most certainly serving in very challenging circumstances. Tina is working at a women’s shelter/day care program in Quetzaltenango. We visited her workplace in the city and saw how desperate life can be for very young teenagers who have had children, and for those who have needed to escape abusive situations. While visiting such workplaces as Tina’s, we learned that if it were not for these young volunteers who come from our church and other committed churches and organizations from the U.S., Europe, Australia and elsewhere, there would be much less offered to Guatemalans facing such challenges.
Tina lives with her host family outside the city in a poor, rural area. We had the opportunity to stay with them and meet their extended family. We even celebrated the host mom's birthday last Saturday night in true Guatemalan style! On our last night there, we were invited by the sister-in-law of Tina's host family to come to her home for supper. Although I have eaten at some very poor tables in Colombia, Jamaica, Palestine, and on a Navajo reservation, this was the poorest table at which I have ever eaten. Yet I was simply blown away by the hospitality and loving and warm welcome we received.
As a parent, I am thankful for the way the PC(USA) maintains a support program that helps these young folks emotionally and spiritually with periodic retreats, as well as with contact people for personal support. I am also impressed by how the YAVs who are in proximity to each other work to stay connected to enhance their mutual support.
Having observed Tina's circumstances and after hearing the stories of other YAVs, I want to express to you how well our denomination is being served by these very gifted, faithful, and committed young people. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about the kind of commitment it takes to do what they are doing for a year! You simply cannot be prouder of your church than when you visit these young people in their mission surroundings and realize how much of a heart they have for this important work.
I believe that this is a clear example of truly living out the gospel in the way Christ has called us to, and I am humbled by the fact that my daughter grew up in two different Presbyterian congregations from which she learned this kind of commitment to service in Christ.
Thanks for all you do in support of this important program. This is the type of theologically/spiritually sound mission that makes our church's witness in the world unique and relevant!
Rev. Jeff DeYoe
Worthington Presbyterian Church
Thanks for sharing this story! It helps me to better share about this opportunity with our students at Millersville University.
It's good to hear stories such as these as our Presbytery prepares to establish a position in the nation's capital. Besides, I heard from Jeff personally, about the impact of the program on his whole family. Kudos to all