Today, the college side of our team (Amie, Kyle, Jake and I) helped lead a youth conference for the Christian youth of the area. The Yngsdals informed us that many of the refugee youth are typically not discipled and do not get much training. The hope was that we, being similar in age, would be able to shed a light on what it looks like to be a faithful Christian and church member while at university.
After much thought, we decided to talk about evangelism and discipleship. We wanted to give them practical tools to go and share the gospel with their friends and their family. We desired for them to have tools to play their own role in fulfilling the Great Commission, outlined in Matthew 28:18-20. Yet not only did we desire for them to have these tools, we desired for them to understand the importance of discipleship.
To kick off this conference, we worshipped the Lord through song. Three of the refugee youth-led worship, Michael, Ralph and Frances (Siyabonga). All of them sang, played the keyboard and the drums, and were extremely talented in them all. We sang Our God, Reckless Love, and a song in their language. It was so beautiful and refreshing to sing with these brothers and sisters in Christ. What a joy to live worlds apart, in very different cultures, and yet worship the same God.
After singing, we led the youth through the two topics. We started with evangelism, walking them through specific tools they could use. We started with storying, explaining how they can use any story in the Bible to share the gospel with someone. We then walked them through God, Man, Christ, Response and the Three Circles evangelism tool. Finally, we explained the concept of testimonies and how they could use their own stories to tell of all God has done in their life, through the power of the gospel. We had them team up in groups to practice using one or more of these tools. Initially, we were all wary of how well this practice session would go, afraid they would just spend the time talking to one another, instead of actually using the time to practice. However, the Lord is so good! As we walked around to answer any questions they may have had, we were encouraged to hear every group seeking to practice using these tools. In addition, it was expressed various times how thankful they were to be taught practical tools they can use to evangelize.
After giving them time to practice, we spoke to them about the importance of discipleship. We read 2 Timothy 2:2 and informed them if the example of Paul and Timothy. We taught that they need to have a Paul in their life as well as a Timothy.
Once this training was done, we sat down for a time of Q&A where we asked them questions about South Africa and they could ask us questions about the United States. These questions ranged from likes/dislikes to news to religion. It was a wonderful time of cultural exchange where both sides got to understand how the other views the world.
Overall, this youth conference was a wonderful time. We all left encouraged by the deep desire these youths had to learn about evangelism and discipleship. We left knowing them better and gained an understanding of their worldview. Pray these youths would continue to seek the Lord faithfully, seeking to both evangelize and disciple. 1 Timothy 4:12 states “Do not let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” Pray these youth would cherish and live out the word of God.