International (MNN) — Today, August 12, is the official International Youth Day as proclaimed by the United Nations. One Hope, however, celebrates International Youth Day year round.
"They [the UN] try to resolve and meet the needs of children and young people, but most frequently it's strictly from a material point of view and [they] leave out the spiritual application," notes Bob Hoskins, founder and president of One Hope. One Hope has taken action to be sure that the ever-pressing spiritual needs of young people are being attended to.
In 2006, One Hope began a program for youth and children in what is considered to be one of the most Christianized nations in the world: Swaziland. Expecting to go in and find dedicated Christians, One Hope instead found a nation with a higher percentage of HIV/AIDS among its population than any other country in the world.
This discovery provoked a plethora of questions. What was a supposedly-Christian nation doing covered in a disease most often transmitted by sexual immorality? How must young people view sexuality, theology and Christianity if AIDS is continually on the rise?
Such questions brought One Hope to the conclusion that more research about the youth in the country must be done before programs for true transformation could even be designed. "We began to dig a little deeper and discovered that the Word of God had been there, but it was not really engaging or transforming the people," explains Hoskins.
The research in Swaziland led to the creation of a research branch of One Hope, as well as a project known as the Spiritual State of the World's Children. This project tests the spiritual state of young people in over 60 countries with the goal of knowing how to better address problems and introduce the Gospel to every nation in the world.
"We go in and we do research with the children and young people, discover their worldview, their heartfelt needs, and what will engage them with the Word of God," explains Hoskins.
When studies on a country's youth are complete, One Hope discusses the findings with the country's leaders, who are often shocked at the information. This provides One Hope an opportunity to work hand-in-hand with a country to build up the education system and to reach out with the love of Christ with a better understanding of the way the youth there think. (One good example of a completed research study and subsequent changes altering a country is One Hope's work in Colombia.)
Every day is International Youth Day for One Hope as they research the beliefs of youth around the world and implement godly programs accordingly. Their studies continue on in each country even after the initial youth research is completed. If you have the passion and ability to help One Hope in this endeavor, or if you'd like to access the ministry's country findings, contact the ministry or contact Bob Hoskins personally at [email protected] Any ministry is welcome to use the information One Hope has found thus far.