By: Marjorie Drew

Much has been written about the homeless situation in Las Vegas. Tricia Hensser and her pastor husband Rob have an incredible passion for changing this and other problems of our inner city and they work with an uncompromising diligence. They are part of the visionary staff with YWAM, “Youth With A Mission-Las Vegas.” Las Vegas is first in the nation in suicide, divorce, homicide against women, gang crimes, gambling, alcohol addiction, and has 34,000 prostitutes roaming our streets. Youth With A Mission-Las Vegas, based here since September 1996, is making a difference by offering its short-term outreach training program for groups from churches around the world. The program is designed to teach young kids how to disciple and proclaim evangelism. 
Tricia said, “We provide training, food, dorm accommodations, outreach costs, host staff, which includes a registered nurse on premises (Barbara Ford), sound systems, etc., so the visiting team has only to concentrate on its ministry. Some of the groups find out about us through the website, and some of our members go to conferences called YOUTH SPECIALTIES, where they meet pastors. Some Christian schools contact us directly asking if they can come.”
Part of the ministry is Street Outreach: 2-2 or 4-4 witnessing in busy downtown locations with drama, music, and testimonies, and working the Street Café at 911 E. Ogden Ave., where they serve food from noon to 2:30 p.m. every Thursday and Saturday. YWAM’s vision is to one day not only have a food line, but also a place where many of the thousands of homeless can be seated and served complimentary food and beverages. 
“Also, one of our goals is for the teams who come to us to be able to return to their home bases better prepared to reach out to their own city’s lost and hurting people. We are certain they will have learned much through their life-changing experiences and cross-cultural discipleship here.” 
YWAM’s commitment to training has led to the establishment of dozens of specialized schools and to the University of the Nations. Each YWAM “base” is a completely autonomous, nonprofit corporation and is responsible for raising its own funds, staff and operating costs. There is so much more to know about their other programs, so if you would like more information or want to help, please call (702) 658-5450.

Elizabeth Kegg is a bright-faced, soft-spoken young woman, a college graduate from England. She came to Las Vegas to be a part of the YWAM program. Elizabeth said, “I don’t know what my expectations were. I just felt God was guiding me to fill out an application and send it in and I was accepted. Of course, I will have to go home and get a job soon, but for now I’m just excited about going out on the streets and ministering to people. It’s been a great challenge to me to be involved in a program like Mission Adventure… an amazing adventure.” 

Yes, it’s sad we have homeless people. The subject has come forward often lately, but there are those who could be helped and their lives changed if they were willing to seek direction. The Las Vegas Rescue Mission feeds the homeless daily and shelters them, but their mission is to help clients rebuild their lives. Some can… some won’t. This is the story of one man who wasn’t a bad man, just one who’d made bad decisions.
James Feiza was a good kid growing up in a small town in Illinois. From an average church-going family, he was baptized and had plans to become a minister. But things changed. James became a troublesome teen--drinking, hanging out with the wrong crowd. Soon, nothing mattered but the next drink.

A heavy drinker, James still found good-paying construction jobs, but spent all his money on alcohol. Three years ago on a trip to Las Vegas from Arizona, he lost track of his buddies, the car they came down in… and had nothing but the clothes on his back. Hung-over and broke, he walked to the Las Vegas Rescue Mission. “It was as if God hand-carried me to this Mission,” James said.
He is now on the Mission staff and heads the work program for clients who have come to the Mission as he did. The clients are “men and women who want to get right with God and straighten out their lives.” He also has charge of a list of clients as a one-on-one evaluator. “Not a counselor, yet, but someone they can talk with about their problems; answer questions they may have with their new or renewed WALK. We (evaluators) talk with clients to see how they are coming along spiritually and emotionally. The craving for alcohol or drugs is often hard to ignore. Learning to become part of a group again, like a family, can be very difficult.”
People of all occupations come through the gates. They need part-time jobs to sustain personal needs or long-term positions to get out on their own. So, before you dig to do that yard or maintenance work, call James at
(702) 320-2107. He may have an able person available for the job. You’ll be helping someone to begin a new life… and you’ll save money, too.

Brandon Stubbs, a fifth grader at Ira J. Earl Elementary School, said candidly, “At first I didn’t like school, but by the time I got to the fifth grade, I had it figured out. I began to study hard and brought my grades up, like math from a C- to a B+ and brought my other subjects up, too. I like school now, my friends and the teachers who are helpful and fair. I also found football, which made me try harder all the way around.”
Brandon played quarterback on the Green Bay Packers. “Not the real ones,” he said, “but I hope one day to be a Dallas Cowboy. That’s my goal.”
Go, Brandon, Go!

Footnote: Don’t miss the new dinner theater production at the Alexis Park Hotel. Ben Morgan’s BA-DA-BING is a blast and the food is scrumptious!