Just Smile Ministries - Helping Youth & Teenagers Online
Pastor Josué Sánchez, the founder of Just Smile Ministries, lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. A youth speaker and columnist, he enjoys reading and spending time with his wife and baby.
JustSmile Ministries is not my ministry; it's Jesus' ministry. I'm not in control of it -- Jesus is! Plus, God has gathered an excellent team of 27 passionate young people to run it along with me. Youth from New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Canada spend many hours every day ministering to thousands of adolescents and making sure that JustSmile Ministries remains a safe and orderly place to be. I can be totally relaxed knowing that the good functioning of JSM does not depend directly on me. It's in God's hands, and this wonderful team are His fingers! Thank you Jesus for this incredible team. Thank you for bringing us together.
The vision of JustSmile Ministries is to provide Christian based advice for teenagers and young people - including those engaged in "at risk" behavior by offering them a place on the internet to receive help and inviting them to workshops and spiritual revivals hosted in churches and schools.
Statement of faith
We believe in the Bible. There is so much we can learn from it! All of it is inspired and good for us. It's a great book full of history, romance, suspense. . . We do our best to follow what it says and apply it to our daily life. We believe in Jesus. He is one with God the father and the Holy Spirit. He was born from a virgin and lived and died for us, without sinning at all! Then he resurrected and promised to do the same thing to us when he comes back (soon!). He's always ready to help us and if it weren't for him, we'd be completely lost. Even if we mess up all the time, he's ready to give us a new opportunity. We call that grace - amazing grace!
How it all started
It was late at night, and I was working on my next sermon, back in 2002. The concentration level was high - I could feel the ideas flowing faster than my fingers could type them. Then her email arrived. "Hmmm... should I open it?" I knew it was probably some teenager asking for advice. I was so immersed in my sermon, though! "I'll deal with it later". So I tried to finish up my work. I tried, but the muse was gone . . .
Reluctantly I opened the email and read it. She was lonely, her family and friends didn't understand her. She didn't know where to go. After a short prayer, an encouraging email with some advice was on its way to her inbox. The next day I received a reply from her. I was shocked and touched. She had been about to commit suicide, when she decided to check her email, just in time to receive my encouraging words. It was what she needed, when she needed it. She opted to live.
It was at that point that I realized the power of giving advice through the internet. With that power came a great responsibility. A sense of reverence filled my being as I humbly asked God for wisdom in this new ministry.
For the first few months JustSmile Ministries was a plain site: a few questions followed by answers. The teens filled out a form. I sent them personal advice by email. Both questions and answers were posted on the site. Nothing else. About 150 teens visited the site in an average month. Very few of them would actually ask for advice, though. Nevertheless I was happy, because that was more then ever before.
Now, a few years later, JustSmile Ministries reaches tens of thousands of teens every month. A team of about 50 committed volunteers from many different Christian denominations manage the forums and also travel to churches and schools giving a message of hope to teenagers.
All of us share the same passion: Jesus. That's why we enjoy sharing him with teens. We are the ones who are thankful for doing this ministry.