Who is the I-55 Partnership?

The I-55 partnership is a network of individuals and groups who are interested in working together to minister to university students from around the world. I-55 partnership originates from Isaiah chapter 55. This passage is subtitled in the NASB as “The Messiah’s Invitation to the World.” The text begins with an invitation for those who have no money and are thirsty and hungry.

Later it encourages all of us to seek the LORD while He may be found, to call upon Him while He is near, and to forsake our sins and wickedness. It also promises that when GOD’s word goes forth it shall accomplish GOD’s desires and His purposes. So much of this passage relates to the partnership of those who are working together in Ocean City, MD to provide jobs, housing, food, encouragement, and an understanding about who Jesus is for International University Students involved in the summer Work & Travel program.

I-55 Partnership English Club

What we continue to see and experience is the reality of Isaiah 55:5, “Behold, you will call a nation you do not know, and a nation which knows you not will run to you, because of the LORD your GOD, even the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified you.

Steve and Shelia Young

Steve and SheilaSteve is a native of Baltimore, MD and attended Virginia Tech where he earned a BS in civil engineering and then an MS in sanitary (environmental) engineering. Shelia was raised in Maryland and received a BS degree from Radford University in early childhood – elementary education and special education. Both were impacted spiritually through involvement with CRU while students – Steve received Christ and Shelia gained assurance of salvation. They were married in March 1976 and joined the staff of CRU/Campus Crusade for Christ three months later.

In January 1978 they moved to Jos, NIGERIA (West Africa) where they spent seven years of vocational ministry with the Agape Movement of Campus Crusade.

The Youngs returned to the USA in May 1985 and began serving with CRU in Salisbury, MD in 1986. Their ministry of evangelism and discipleship involved students and faculty at Salisbury University, business and professional people in the community, and numerous local churches.

Steve & Shelia began working with Campus Crusade’s International Development department in 1995. Throughout the 17 year period (1995-2012), Steve and Shelia participated in numerous short-term international trips primarily to Africa and Europe. The Youngs helped to set up and run international fund development events and conferences, accompany investors overseas on ministry trips, and teach, train and mentor Campus Crusade International Staff in indigenous fund development.

During the past six summers Steve & Shelia have coordinated a project in Ocean City, MD focused on ministering to the thousands of International Students who go there as part of the Summer Work & Travel Program. They do this in cooperation with local churches / ministries, area businesses, the Chamber of Commerce Seasonal Workforce Committee, and the U.S. Campus Ministry summer project of CRU. 

Many students have heard the Gospel and experienced the love of Jesus, and a few have committed their lives to Christ. GOD has enabled the team to have spiritual conversations with students from Belarus, Bosnia, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Taiwan, Turkey and Ukraine.

During the fall and winter months, Steve and a team of Americans have taught more than 20 one or two-week long English Clubs in Bulgaria, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine.

The Youngs transitioned off staff with CRU after 37 years in July 2013 and joined Living Faith Ministries. In September 2016 Steve & Shelia split off from Living Faith Ministries and formed their own non-profit, tax exempt organization called the I-55 partnership. 

In September 2001, the Youngs moved from Salisbury, MD to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where they currently reside. Steve & Shelia both have a strong commitment to involvement in the local church and a heart for personal discipleship ministry. Shelia is service oriented while Steve enjoys teaching but both relate well cross-culturally. Steve and Shelia have been married for 40 years and have four adult children and two grandchildren.

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