Christmas Letter from Mark Koop

Dear Ministry Partner,

Thank you for taking a few minutes to read this letter.  I recently came across this quote from Cassia (one of our new Youth Unlimited Apprentices) and I wanted to share it with you.

“Sometimes we have to be the hope of Jesus for teenagers so they can begin to build the hope within themselves.  70% of kids living in difficult situations who have one influential adult in their life will succeed.  It is such an honor and privilege to be that “one influential adult”, to build hope in the heart of a teenager.  What an incredible blessing.”

During the course of my childhood, my parents opened our home to 20+ foster children with heart-breaking stories.  As the youngest of 3 boys, having foster kids in our home gave me the opportunity to be a big brother.  I rather enjoyed it.  Recently I had a Facebook message that caught my attention from one of my foster brothers requesting my cell phone number.  I was very surprised to hear from John because I knew he was serving time in jail for attempted murder.   You see… John shot another drug dealer at a crowded bus stop in broad daylight.  The guy survived and John landed behind bars… again.  I responded to the message, gave him my number, and waited.  He called me later that day.  We had a long conversation, reminiscing about life in our home and he shared very openly how our family played a huge role in his life, showing him for the first time what real love is like.  We talked about how selfless love comes from Jesus and how we were designed to receive it and give it freely to others.

I really enjoyed investing time in John when he lived with us… its how I got my feet wet learning how to love and serve marginalized kids.  I am so thrilled that after all these years John has reached out to me from behind his prison bars.  Even though he’s far away in the physical sense, I can still be (as Cassia says) an “influential adult” in his life… building hope in his heart.  I believe it is making a difference for him… his story isn’t over yet!

This year our team of more than 60 youth workers have also been that “influential adult” hoping and believing for thousands of kids living in the most trying of circumstances.  In schools, clubs, drop-in centers, events for teen moms & dads and summer camps, through social justice projects in Rwanda and First Nations Reserves, we’ve been there.

And so have you!

We’ve had partners who have stood with us in every activity, been there every night. They have been an invisible part of every conversation and the resource behind every gift of love.

Will you join them and stand with us to make a difference in the lives of these kids this Christmas?

A one-time gift or monthly donations would be a huge help to us.  So please would you send back the enclosed form with your gift or visit our website and give online at

Please, join us in our goal of tranforming this generation from the inside out.

Wishing you a wonderful and Christ-filled Christmas,

Mark Koop

Posted on December 3, 2014