Tribute to Mike Yconellie

Tribute to Mike Yaconellie

  |   Posted: January 13, 2004

A Job Well Done

July 24, 1942 - October 30, 2003

"If I died right this minute, I would be able to say, 'God, what a ride! What a ride!'"
Mike, YS Convention, Charlotte, 10/24/03

Compassion's longtime friend and spokesman, Mike Yaconelli, died on Oct. 30 following an auto accident. He was driving his dad's truck from Medford, Ore., to his home in Yreka, Calif., when the truck veered off the interstate and hit a light post. Pathologists determined that Mike was already unconscious when the truck left the road; they determined that it was due to heart arrhythmia or a stroke.

Mike's funeral was held on Sunday, Nov. 2, in Yreka. About 800 people attended, including many from the local community, his church, close friends and family. The service was an incredible celebration of Mike's life and impact and was filled with both laughter and tears. Six hundred of his friends and family gathered two weeks later in San Diego for an equally meaningful memorial service.

Mike was co-founder and owner of Youth Specialties, a ministry that annually serves more than 100,000 volunteer and career youth workers. The scope of the ministry has grown to three national conventions, 100 one-day training seminars, four contemplative Sabbath retreats for youth workers, and two national conventions for pastors in addition to books, CDs, videos, Youthworker journal and a Web site (

For 40 years Mike ministered to thousands through his writing and an extensive speaking schedule, often using the platform God had given him to speak up for the needs of the world's poor children while endorsing Compassion as the "folks who do sponsorship the best."

In the close to 20 years that Compassion has enjoyed a ministry relationship with Mike and Youth Specialties, thousands of Compassion kids have been sponsored.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

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