David & Summer Williams and family

By David Williams

My wife Summer and I came to Youth-Reach with a heart to see a ministry led by the Lord; somewhere we could see His hand working daily. We came from incredible ministries that touched on some of what was in our hearts, but we desired to do it differently from what we had seen.

As we were sitting at a table with some of our friends, we shared a dream that we had five years before moving to Alabama. We talked about a dream for a place where we could minister to young men through a Christ-centered family approach. Little did we know that something like that already existed. We found that the Lord had already laid it on a man’s heart and he had founded the ministry we would soon call home.

Over the first five years at Youth-Reach Gulf Coast, we have experienced a side of ministry that isn’t rooted in tradition or religion. It is rooted in unconditional love for each guy that comes through.

We were encouraged to bring the guys into our family, and not to “protect” our family from them. This was one of the most important aspects of our long-term commitment. It drove us to stick around through the years of ups and downs.

Summer graciously washed condo laundry at 75 cents a pound to supplement our stipend. I, along with a few other staff members, would take on extra work as well. We were all in and saw the Lord’s provisions as we made $50 a day for washing used cars. He was making a way for us to stay.

We believe the Lord has given us a treasure to steward in Youth-Reach.

We see that He has ordered the steps and the direction, and in our obedience, we find joy and see fruit. There isn’t a rush to get to the front of the line, but patience to wait on the Lord and His direction. In that, Summer and I realize the future of Youth-Reach is in His perfect hands.

We have seen the Lord provide in both the loudly miraculous and in the ways that could go unseen. We have a testimony that SCREAMS of His faithfulness, from cash being left in the mailbox to cover the cost of tires to best friends that believe in us to the point where they donate funds for a pool.

Youth-Reach would not exist without those who faithfully believe in what the Lord can do through those who are willing. We have dentists that have given thousands of dollars in dental work to give brand-new smiles to our guys. We have veterinary clinics that give thousands of dollars every year in support. A local family donated all of the electric materials and labor to get our transitional living home finished at Youth-Reach Gulf Coast. From donors who give $5 a month to those who give $1,000, all the needs we face are met through gracious provision.

“The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Proverbs 16:9. 

I don’t think I fully comprehended the reality of this verse when I first learned it as a kid. I thought that, for the most part, sheer talent, will and knowledge would get me to where I “wanted to be” in life. Little did I know that it was at the end of my will and strength that the Lord’s will would be fulfilled.

When Summer and I committed to the Director position in Alabama, we knew that it would be our lifelong “yes.” To have families around us that walk faithfully alongside us has been amazing. To realize that we have a group of people who all carry the same heart for the mission of Youth-Reach is our way forward.

We are now seeing relationships develop with the Houston and Costa Rica staff to see the vision the Lord gave Curt and Shelley Williams nearly 40 years ago protected and stewarded for the decades to come: That we will be less of an organizational staff at Youth-Reach and more of a family serving together.