I am Living MLKs Dream

"I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of "interposition" and "nullification" -- one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.I have a dream today!"

Our country has a long way to go, but we are living the dream today. Our three kids are growing up in a world where this is possible because of this man's dream, which is actually Jesus' dream.

Thank you, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. for living your life above fear and the cruelty of systems and choosing the way of Jesus. Thank you for courageously choosing love. Our family thanks you.

World Adoption Day

A few months ago after a typical midweek dinner, I had a thought. A prompting actually. I asked Judah if he knew what the word "adopted" meant.

Judah and his younger sister were adopted from Ethiopia in 2011. After a calling from God to adopt, a subsequent excruciating infertility journey, and a 22-month adoption process, God gave us Judah Abebayehu and Addise Aster Tarike. Judah was 2 1/2 years old and Addise was 11 month when they came home January 15, 2011.

Now, Judah and Addise are thriving nearly 4 years later in our family. God's restored so much in our lives and theirs. After dinner that night, that question blurted out of me:

Me: Judah, do you know what the world 'adopted' means? Judah: Yeah, it means that you take someone into your family and you love them forever. Me: That's right buddy. That's exactly what that means.

Heart. Melted. Yes, that's what adoption means.

Over the past nearly 4 years, we've been diligent toward opening conversations about their adoption. Their names carry their birth country and birth names. We celebration Melkam Gena (Ethiopian Christmas on January 7th) every year. We frequently discuss their adoption and answer their questions as they arise. Their whole stories are important to us...and them. Their birth country and families are paramount to their story.

This journey has been anything but easy. When I think about the first 6 months Judah was home, it levels me to think about how far he's come. Judah's one resilient boy. He's lost so much - a birth country, a language, a people. But he's also gained health, a family, and hope for life.

At 6 years old, he gets that adoption is more than a legal process. It's about love and forever and commitment and a future. As I watch him in this moment contentedly watching a Batman cartoon, I can't help but to smile in gratitude for how far God's brought us all.

I also remember a conversation we had last month. Together, Judah and I were folding laundry and for whatever reason I said,

Me: Who's in charge of our family? Judah: You guys (mom and dad)...WAIT! GOD! God's in charge of our family. Me: Let's certainly hope so. Judah: Yeah, because God makes everything better. Because he's the King!"

God really does make everything better. We trust him in the midst of an orphan crisis. And we trust him when God brings those orphans into families and everything turns upside down. We trust him in it all because he is the King.

I was invited to be a World Adoption Day Ambassador, and couldn't be happier. Adoption matters. Even in the midst of great loss and grief, restoration is the end of the story. And today we smile because of the goodness adoption has brought our family.

One the first #WorldAdoptionDay, I hope you'll join our family as we celebrate how God restores families, even in the midst of brokenness and loss. See more of what's happening globally with this movement here: WorldAdoptionDay.org.

 Judah and Addise, we love you no matter what. Our hearts - and hands - are smiling because you are a part of our forever family. XOXO ~ Momma and Dadddy


April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.

Launching a Second Women in Youth Ministry Cohort

This month I am completing my first Women in Youth Ministry Cohort and it has been phenomenal. To say that I've enjoyed these 9 women, learned from them, been inspired by their growth, and challenged by their leadership is an understatement. I'm SO very grateful for God bringing these unique women together for the purpose of pressing into their calling and developing their gifts in new ways. I've seen utter breakthrough, transformation, and miracles in their lives. They've taken a deeper look into souls, their ministry, and their callings. Together we've asked tough questions, explored fearful topics, grieved each other's losses, and celebrated victories. It's been a dream come true. Those women below are an answer to prayer and I'm so grateful to see how they're flourishing in new ways because of their commitment to their transformation...

A couple women completing the cohort this month had this to say about their experience...

"The Women in Youth Ministry Cohort was exactly what I needed in this phase of my ministry journey. I had been looking for something like this for a long time and as soon as I hear about this cohort, I knew this was an answer to prayer. Being a part of this cohort for the last few months has been a breath of fresh air and such an encouragement to me in my personal life and ministry context. This is an opportunity I would recommend for any woman in a youth ministry role, especially to those who find themselves serving in an area where they aren’t many other females in ministry to connect with on a regular basis." - Jessica Charney, youth pastor in Northern California

"Being a woman in youth ministry comes with its own set of joys, challenges and learning curves; being a part of a coaching program through TYC helped provide a space where all of those unique elements could be discussed, where resources could be shared, and where I knew I would be welcomed and understood. Coaching sessions throughout the year allowed for asking the hardest and (sometimes) most ridiculous questions, knowing that an experienced and skilled mentor would be walking the vocational ministry journey alongside me. I especially appreciated the emphasis on leadership materials developed by women!" - Rebekah Strobel, youth pastor in Washington state

The Youth Cartel

The Youth Cartel

Here's a little more about The Youth Cartel's second Women in Youth Ministry cohort...


This whole-life coaching program is all about developing and equipping you as a woman in leadership. Being a woman in youth ministry is different. It demands unique skills and awareness as we approach the challenges and opportunities due to our gender. We will learn across a scope of subjects including theology, practical life realities, leading men, and issues defined by this group. Each time we meet is very intentional and structured to provide encouragement, challenge, and transformation. This cohort provides customized attention to your specific context and needs as a woman in youth ministry.


We will journey together for about 6-months. The group chooses exact dates based on our schedules.

  • Two 2-day, face-to-face meetings in Orange County, CA
  • One face-to-face meeting at the Women in Youth Ministry Campference at Lake Junaluska, NC
  • Three online meetings for 3 hours each (via Google Hangout)
  • Participants get four 30-minute phone calls with April Diaz
  • Access to a secret Facebook group for ongoing support, connection, and interaction
  • We'll do a healthy amount of reading and cross-disciplinary learning, as well
  • Cost - $2250, including Campference registration (+ participant travel costs)
  • 8- 10 sharp women in leadership will be accepted

Some may look at the cost and discount their participation. I've come to believe, "where there's a will, there's a way." If this is something you'd benefit from, let's find a way! I've also participated in similar cohorts and paid a lot more. It's one of the best investments, in my opinion, you can make in your leadership. The learning you'll have from the other women and myself will be beyond a conference and these detailed bullet points! And you are worth theinvestment. Our churches, families, and students desperately NEED the voices of women pouring into them, making decisions, and engaging each other.

Interested? Questions? Ready to apply? Email me at april@theyouthcartel.com.

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April L. Diaz

April has been a visionary activist her entire life. She has made it her mission to lead high performing teams and develop leaders in the margins of society while caring for our bodies, mind, and spirit. Secretly, she’s a mix of a total girly girl and a tomboy, and is still crazy about her high school sweetheart, Brian. Together, they co-parent 3 fabulous kiddos and live in Orange County, CA.