HUSBAND AND WIFE TEAM UP FOR YOUTH FOR CHRIST … Eliot and Lydia Nofziger are directors for The Outback YFC in Archbold and The Loft YFC in Stryker, respectively.
By: Amy Wendt
Local Stryker couple and Youth For Christ (YFC) leaders, Eliot and Lydia Nofziger are creating spaces for local teens “to have fun, make friends and talk about what matters” while giving them the skills and hope they need to navigate this uncertain world.
Archbold 2010 graduate, Eliot, is the director of The Outback teen center in Archbold, while his wife, Lydia, a 2015 Stryker High School graduate, is the director of Stryker’s YFC location, The Loft.
Following their marriage in 2020, the couple purchased a home in Stryker and now hosts fun nights and bible studies at their home.
“Today all the high schoolers that I invited were able to come over,” Lydia explained. “And we ate pizza, and I put on some Jack Box TV.”
The group of 11 went on to play some trivia online, and when more kids showed up, they switched to playing a game of “Fish Bowl” so everyone could participate.
Today, most area schools were closed due to dense fog.
On a weekly basis, one of the small groups for young ladies meet at their home for a book discussion, to play games and have snacks while learning about the Bible.
Lydia shares, “When we bought this house in Stryker we wanted it to be a place that kids know that they can stop by and that they are welcome to come and feel at home and feel safe.”
“I have been very thankful and blessed that we can use our home like that.”
Eliot added, “Our goal is to be able to reach any student, no matter where they are in faith, and be able to introduce them to the foundations of faith in a fun environment and in a safe environment where they can ask questions.”
YFC, a parachurch organization, is not affiliated with one particular church or demonination.
“The Nofzigers are active in the area schools by volunteering in the lunch room or at recess so they can connect with teens and extend the invitation to join the YFC activities that are available after school.”
“You might also see the couple or other YFC volunteers at the local library or sporting events. “Where the kids are, we want to go,” adds Eliot.
Lydia noted, “Friends then invite friends. I have one boy in particular who has brought three of his different guy friends on high school nights.”
“It has been really cool because those kids that come are not Christian, and one even claims to be an Athiest, and it’s awesome that he knows that his friends can come here, but they aren’t going to feel the pressure if they have this certain belief.”
In two weeks, the huband and wife team are also looking forward to “Breakaway Weekend” at Camp Lutherhaven for 6th through 8th graders.”
“They hope to have about 400 kids participate in this camp from the six counties that comprise the Defiance Chapter of Youth for Christ.
The non-profit will be featured at Everance’s upcoming Giving Tuesday event on November 29 at Founders Hall.
In the spring of 2023, YFC will be hosting an event called “See the Story” which is a prime opportunity for anyone interested in becoming involved with YFC to learn more.
Many may remember the popular fundraiser, Ladies Night Out that was held a few years ago at the Springfield Township Fire Department in Stryker.
That event hasn’t been possible over the last couple of years due to COVID however YFC hopes to bring it back next year.
YFC would love to be able to add more volunteers to their team and to partner with more local churches.
Their website, which is managed by Lydia, is a wealth of information about the organization.
To learn more about volunteering, attending their programs or to reach out to either Eliot or Lydia check out defyfc.org.
Amy can be reached at email@example.com