Dean and Laurie Edwall
Dean and Laurie grew up in Minnesota, both attending the same church and Bethel College (now Bethel University, St. Paul MN). Dean’s overseas mission experience started through a singing tour to Japan and the Philippines. He attended the Urbana Missions Conference ’76 where he connected with YFC and the need for someone with his training and experience in South Africa. He initially led New Song, a YFC musical touring group, sharing the Lord in schools and churches across South Africa for two years and then spent a year directing YFC work in Durban.
Laurie’s missions experience began with two summer outreach trips to Eastern Europe and local outreach with youth through their church. These led to a long-term passion to minister overseas. She and Dean started dating while he was on a furlough and, after getting married in January 1981, they moved to help assist with YFC in Pietermaritzburg. Dean and Laurie were involved in Campus Life, rallies, camping, music, discipleship groups and other kinds of outreach to youth from all cultures during very challenging times of apartheid in the early 1980s.
They participated in YFC outreach trips to the island of Mauritius and eventually moved to join YFC in Cape Town under the leadership of David Kadalie where Dean continued with music and youth outreach as part of the YFC staff team and then the regional team. Laurie led the follow up ministry with new Christians until their first two children were born. In 1989 the Kadalie and Edwall families moved to George, a four hour drive from Cape Town, to pioneer a new YFC ministry.
Dean and Laurie have had a long term commitment to YFC in George where Dean is the Centre Director. YFC George currently focuses primarily on two main ministries with a staff team of 26. KIDSTOP is their broad outreach to community children-at-risk and children on the street. Options Care Centre (which Laurie started in 1997) reaches out to youth and families who are in a pregnancy or HIV crisis. For more information about Options check out www.optionsgeorge.com.
Assisting other YFC ministries get off the ground in Knysna, Mossel Bay and Calitzdorp has been part of their calling, and Dean served as Acting National Director for three years during a time of transition.
Dean and Laurie have three children who were born and raised in South Africa. Christy achieved her PhD in English Literature and she is currently teaching in the UK. Jason studied graphic design and is living in George and working with a local business. Joel is in his Residency as a Family Physician in Alabama. He is married to Jess, a nurse, and they have one daughter.