About Youth for Christ UAE

Big Weekend students and leaders

Youth for Christ was established in the United Arab Emirates in 2002 by Neil O’Boyle, starting in Abu Dhabi, the capital city. Early on, it was called Arabian Gulf Youth for Christ. National Directors over the past twenty years include Amy Kellogg, Paul Coles and Marilyn Rendle, supported by a National Board and volunteers. The mission of Youth for Christ UAE is to partner with the local church and like-minded partners, empower teenagers, and serve the nation. The name Youth Unlimited (EYU) is used as the community service arm in an effort to honor and respect our Muslim host country.

Partner – A national Youth Leadership Network (YLN) made up of youth pastors and student leaders works collaboratively to pray, plan and present the Gospel to EVERY teenager in this unique nation. Youth leadership events called EQUIP give the mostly volunteer leaders helpful insights into reaching youth with the Good News of Jesus, as well as opportunities for soul care.

Empower – A flagship activity has been an annual youth camp originally called Desert Challenge and now called Big Weekend. The most recent one involved over 200 teenagers and youth leaders from 12 churches and 35+ nations. It took place in February of 2020, only days before the COVID lockdown.

Serve – There are over 600,000 teenagers in the UAE and over 80% of them are from almost every other nation on earth, giving Youth for Christ/Youth Unlimited opportunities to teach Third Culture Kids, young people that grow up outside of their passport country. This transitional population is readily drawn to the Truth of an unchanging, loving God. Undergirding all ministry is a robust prayer presence, partnering with national and Emirates-based network called WakeUp Deborah, where women pray together for their own children, as well as the local population.

Ministry through the years of the pandemic has mostly been online via Zoom, with monthly YLN meetings, collaborative virtual music group compilations, a Big Weekend reunion, practical testimony and digital tech trainings with the International Digital Field Team, a hybrid Project Serve, Cross Cultural Kid awareness, and transition seminars.