Bibles and Backpacks

August 10, 2021


Expansion Through Pandemic

While some organizations are struggling in the aftermath of the pandemic Youth For Christ in East Alabama (EAYFC) is expanding.

Ironically, COVID has propelled EAYFC to expand its ministry efforts. Shockingly, the local YFC chapter found their ministry growing despite the COVID restrictions. When Local Executive Director Tabitha Vasilas first came on board, EAYFC was in two of the five chartered counties throughout East Alabama. During the pandemic, EAYFC expanded ministry into two additional counties. And just recently expanded to another county.

Bibles and Backpacks

Over this past year, EAYFC learned most young people in their communities have no basic knowledge of the Bible. Tabitha commented, “We learned that, despite the fact that we are located in the ‘Bible Belt,’ many of our students don’t own a Bible or even know basic Bible stories or characters such as Noah or Moses!” Consequently, EAYFC has begun a campaign to collect Bibles and backpacks for kids in the detention center and schools, which is also a great way to engage the community in their ministry’s work. Their goal is to collect 500 Bibles and backpacks, then distribute them to young people in their communities who need them.

Tabitha did some research and what she found was devastating, “statistically, only 4% of Generation Z members (youth ages 11-19) have a biblical worldview, this is an alarming statistic. It is evidence of how far we have removed God from our society. Without His standard of morality to influence and shape their thinking and decision-making, our youth will remain without hope.” 

Creating Meaningful Relationships

Tabitha and the EAYFC team found another serious problem when looking further into the struggles of the local young people in the community. 

“We’re seeing greater numbers of issues: identity struggles, insecurity, depression, mental health… We asked school administrators, ‘What’s the number one need? How can we serve you?’ They answered unanimously, ‘Can you get us mental health services? Kids as young as kindergarten are suicidal, and it’s just awful,’” Tabitha noted.

“With all the many different voices coming at the youth of our society, and the access that they have to things we didn’t have growing up, it is just overwhelming for them and leading them into very, very dark places,” said Tabitha. 

Tabitha sums it like this, “The Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path. And that Jesus is the light and hope of this world—the way out of the darkness. The Bible says, ‘You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.’ And the word of God is the truth, and it points to the truth, which is Jesus. Jesus is the solution to everything. The youth desperately need access to the Bible in order to discover for themselves who this Jesus is and what he has done for them.”

East Alabama YFC has found caring adults (volunteers) willing to share the truth in love really makes a lasting impact on young people. For a generation who tend to identify themselves as having no religion (the “nones”), these pivotal moments of interaction are as impactful as getting the Bible and backpacks into their hands.

Interview with Faith Radio

Listen to Tabitha’s interview with FaithRadio. She shares how God is using YFC East Alabama with Tallapoosa County campus of the Alabama Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches. As well as the Bibles and Backpacks initiative.