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The first iYADA meeting was held in the Towns-Alumni Auditorium where 29 girls from across Liberty University’s campus gathered, Sunday, Sept. 29.
Sarah Reese, a junior women’s ministry major, saw the need for a women’s outreach program. According to Reese, the organization is a girls-only club and began in September of 2012 in a Liberty dormitory room. This year, iYADA is funded by the Center for Ministry Training.
“The Lord weighed on my heart a need for a community where girls can really plug in and grow in Christ together,” Reese said. “We live in a world where we compartmentalize it.”
Reese said she wanted to provide an environment for relationship and spiritual growth for girls. Regular meetings for iYADA are held Sundays from 7-8 p.m. in Towns-Alumni Auditorium.
“Our basic mission point is to train, disciple and help women grow in their walk with the Lord so that they can change women’s lives in the community and the world,” Grace Stotmeister, a junior women’s ministry major, said.
Both Reese and Stotmeister helped establish the ministry. According to both of them, the goal is to build up Christian women that are not only part of the Liberty body, but also part of the Lynchburg area.
According to Morgan Vellinger, a sophomore business major who began attending iYADA in 2012, said that many girls struggle with living fulfilling lives where they seek the opportunity to minister to people.
“I feel iYADA is good (at) translating missional living,” Vellinger said. “I’ve learned a lot last year, and now it’s just taking off, and I’m excited for what the Lord is going to do.”
One of iYADA’s goals is to help girls truly understand the role that God has called them to do, Reese said.
“In the Christian circle, it’s easy for us to do service projects … but we don’t understand what living missionally everyday is,” Reese said. “We don’t understand the role that God has called us to that he laid out in scripture.”
The name for the organization was inspired by a similar organization at Carson-Newman College, a liberal arts Southern Baptist college in Tennessee. “Yada,” Reese explained, is a Hebrew term for “to know or to find out and discern.”
Members of iYADA have the opportunity to be a part of small groups and serve once a month in the community. Reese said iYADA visited a local nursing home in the past. The organization has also worked with Brentwood Church in Lynchburg by providing baby clothing and diapers for children in foster care.
“I think how the Lord has expanded it this year is a blessing,” Vellinger said. “We weren’t expecting it to get this big this fast, and we know the Lord is behind it from the funding and that everyone is so supportive.”
As iYADA continues to raise awareness on campus, it has drawn a number of girls that are seeking to build relationships and strengthen their ability to share the gospel within their community.
“I see the community within the girls to talk about struggles,” Reese said. “That’s part of how our relationship had been strengthened, because when Christ is the center of your friendship, it’s a different level than any friendship of this world.”
Regular meetings will begin Sunday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m. For more information, visit the Liberty splash page or the iYADA Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/gstotmeister/.