A message from Executive Director, Ash Zook.
I just returned from Ghana in late November, and my excitement level was almost as high as when I first joined YLI. Over the past 13 years I have either lived in Ghana with my family or have taken four trips each year. But since 2019, I have only been to able to travel to Ghana three times. This is the reality that we all have endured since March of 2020.
It is humbling to think it was almost 20 years ago, in 2002, that I stumbled upon Jim Moye’s phone number at a friend’s house. I had not seen Jim since 1994 when I was in a his discipleship group at Eastern College. I reached out to Jim and Fran and we met for breakfast during which Jim told me about a vision God had given him and Fran to start a discipleship work in Ghana, and that the Lord had given him the word picture “Coach” to describe the heart of this ministry. The surprising thing was the night before I had a dream that I had been hired to coach a team of young Africans. A couple months later I was on a plane to spend a month with Jim and Fran as they were starting YLI.
The vision God gave Jim and Fran was to start a discipleship movement with young leaders in Ghana’s Christianized south who would then move north into Ghana’s Muslim world and into surrounding Muslim countries. Jim did not live to see this vision realized, but today YLI is based in Ghana’s largest Muslim city. And YLI leaders are working in northern Nigeria’s dangerous Muslim dominated regions.
Last month was the first time our entire group of disciples had been together in Ghana in almost two years. When I arrived home I was amazed but not surprised. Amazed at what YLI has been doing during my absence, but not at all surprised by God’s faithfulness. YLI has multiplied more through the pandemic than any other time since 2002.
YLI’s 20th anniversary is a time of celebration and thanks to God. Please read on about 2021, but keep in mind the African proverb, “If we stand tall, it is because we stand on the shoulders of our many ancestors”. Or as Hebrews 12:1 says, as we run the race before us, “we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses”. And although we grow older the discipleship race we run results in a prize that will never perish!
Ash Zook, Executive Director
Ash Zook and Jim Moye in Ghana, 2002.