Meeting Teens Where They’re At

After several failed attempts to connect over the past month or so, Holly Bishu and I finally made contact—success! Full of life and zest, Holly sauntered into the busy coffee shop bringing with her a brightness and a lightness that was much needed. Getting right down to business, I learned all about Holly and her passions, work, and career aspirations.

Holly works as a local missionary for Young Life, a missions organization whose primary focus is developing and fostering relationships with adolescents and sharing the Christian faith with them. Her role has reach, impact, and responsibility. Working with the minds of tomorrow means developing a creative and loving approach; but also, as Holly simply puts it, “It means just being there and always showing up”. Holly’s measured effervescence gives her the appeal of combined youth and wisdom, which explains why she so easily fits in with teens; yet why they also lovingly refer to her as “Mom”.


It may come as no surprise that Holly’s initial intentions after finishing off a degree in Political Science with a minor in African American History at UBC was to leave Vancouver in search of new landscape. As it often is with our plans versus those of our Maker, God set Holly on a different path, one that included having her stay close to home to pursue mission work in Vancouver with Young Life. Holly began working for Young Life in 2015 and hasn’t looked back.


Holly's work with teens takes many forms, but always involves meeting teens where they are at. One of the things her job entails is the discipleship of three teenage girls. This plays a key role in Holly’s reach: these relationships matter and help her further connect with other teens. They spend quality time together, laughing and learning. Once a week they meet for Bible study. “The girls and I study what God is teaching me in the week; and this means I have to be very vulnerable,” she says. Being aware of how God is working in her life and sharing those topics with her teens sets a good example for them. It’s a wonderful model of fostering intentional Christian relationships.

As Holly considers the challenges and obstacles she faces in her work, she is constantly reminded that loving people for who they are and letting them know they always have a safe place to be is of the utmost importance. Teens are inundated with so many messages and are often expected to cross great divides that they are truly not ready to traverse. Having members of Young Life like Holly working within our communities with our teens is a spectacular gift from God.


God certainly works in mysterious ways. 1 Thessalonians 2:8 says, “So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.” At the age of 16, this verse spoke so deeply to her that she felt driven to memorize it, and since then has regularly thought of that passage. Years later, after joining Young Life, Holly discovered that that verse is the very foundation of Young Life. God was way ahead of her!

When asked what her future looks like, Holly quoted Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” I think we can all apply this truth and make it a part of our present and future. Thank you to Holly for being such a strong mentor and reliable source for our youth.

To hear what Holly is up to, or to support her financially and through prayer, you can subscribe to her monthly newsletter. Find out more about the Young Life ministry at

Kirsten Henderson looks at life through a lens filtered by both realism and enthusiasm. A mother, writer, explorer of ideas, and avid reader, Kirsten equally embraces new adventures and staid tradition. Kirsten attends the Westside Church North Shore campus.

Categories: Community,Culture,Local Missions,Written