Karl Van Cura

Executive Director

Where and when did you get started with YFC?
March 4, 2013 as Executive Director

What is your current position and what do you do?
I am the Executive Director of Siouxland YFC and I am here to provide vision, leadership, and to rally churches and like-minded individuals around the fact that “we are today’s advocates for teens”.

How did you get called to ministry?
I came through a 5 year period listening to God’s heart and discerning my part in his grand story.  Having left a successful landscape business, worked with teens, experienced 5 mission trips in 3 years and a broken-heart for under-served and less privileged youth, God called me out of the church and business into inner city ministry.

How would you describe your family?
My wife Laurie of 10 years is a pastor of spiritual formation at our church.  My children: EC (25) lives in GA in the Army, Doug (21) in Army ROTC and Anamarie (18) in Early Childhood Development both at IA State.

What are some things you like to do outside of work?
Working out (mostly) regularly, road biking, taking walks with my wife and dog in the morning, cross country skiing, reading and mentoring men.

What is something interesting that few people know about you?
I have ridden in 15 RAGBRAI’s in a row (a bicycle ride across Iowa every July).  I have also ridden 117 miles on my bike in one day.

What is (are) your favorite sport team(s)?
I came from Chicago, so I am a die-hard Bears, Bulls and Cubs fan.  IA State alum so I love the Cyclones.  But since I need a team that wins most of the time, I cheer on the Sooners with my wife.

What is (are) your favorite food(s)?
Chicago style deep dish Pizza and spicy Mexican.

What is (are) the most extreme place(s) you have traveled to?
The top of any mountain skiing from the peak, Africa, Honduras, Haiti and Grand Cayman Islands.

 


 

Here I am Lord send me. This is quite a familiar scripture verse, but not easily lived out in our Christian walk. Hello my name is Karl Van Cura the new Executive Director for Siouxland YFC.

 

I originally hail from Chicago and moved to Sioux City in 1993 to work for Dakota Dunes Development Company. Shortly thereafter, I felt a call from God to start my own business here in Sioux City, which I’ve run for the past 18 years. A recent season of holy discontent and a providential conversation with a board member of YFC this past November sparked the process of interviewing and ultimately accepting this position at Youth for Christ. 

You might say my calling to Youth for Christ actually began back in 2001. Having come through several deep painful trials in my life, I got on my knees and asked Jesus to be Lord over my life and everything in it. Up to that point He had just been my Savior. Over the next decade God would start the process of equipping me to become a leader in children and student ministries, mentoring men, and leading in other areas within the local church.

Then through a series of 5 mission trips over 3 years including trips to Haiti, Africa and Honduras, God started to place a heavy burden and restlessness on my heart. This wouldn’t be satisfied until I started to examine and pray about where He really wanted to use me. On these trips God broke my heart for young people that were lost and on the fringes of society. Every time I came back home I would ask God “where could I get involved in a ministry like this locally in Siouxland?”

The past 2 years it had become such a restless force in my life that I was actually losing sleep, waking up in the middle of the night to talk with God about it. Had I not been at this point of crying out to God, searching for His direction, I would have not heard the call that God placed on me to come to Youth for Christ. So here I am, changing career paths from secular to ministry, willing to lead Siouxland Youth for Christ into the next phase of its ministry… to reach the lost young people of this generation and to bring them into a restoring relationship with their Creator and Redeemer Jesus Christ. I am reminded of what Jesus says in Matthew 25, “whatever you’ve done for the least of these you’ve done for me.”

I feel extremely blessed to be a part of what God is up to here at YFC. The more I examine the organization, board, staff and volunteers, I visualize and anticipate excitement for the ministry potential to greatly impact and lead lost young people to Christ.

Each of us has the opportunity to serve the marginalized young people of Siouxland and to reach them for the cause of Christ. May God bless you and create an opportunity to understand how your story can intersect with God’s story to impact young people of Siouxland.