From thousands of feet above the deep blue ocean, I looked through the tiny window and gazed at the beautiful sky, with its whimsical clouds which seemed to play hide and seek with the sun. It was mesmerizing, whispering words of peace and comfort. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands" (Psalm 19:1). This bible verse resonated in my heart while I was gawking at the scenery. Everything around us truly speaks of God’s glory and majesty. God has “built something that will last” to remind us all the time of His great love. Inside that plane one afternoon on my way back to Belgium from Poland, I remembered a quote from Paul Jordan’s presentation during the Zonal Youth Committee Meeting: “I think if I were to describe what we are trying to do, it is best put as building something that will last (Steve Clark, 2019).” Then I realized, “building something that will last” has always been God’s mission, and He has called each of us to respond to this call.
The Zonal Youth Committee Meeting 2019, a gathering of youth leaders across Europe, was hosted by City on a Hill in Bielsko-Biala, Poland. It was a time of sharing, encouraging and training. I can still vividly recall how my heart pounded in excitement when Jeroen asked me if I’d be willing to go to Poland for this meeting. Although it was not very clear at first as to what would be expected of me in this gathering, I was elated at the thought of meeting people from other communities of the Sword of Spirit especially those who are involved in youth work in their local community. I served as a youth worker in our community in the Philippines in the past years, and facilitating youth encountering the Lord has made a big impact in my Christian growth. That is why I am truly grateful for the opportunity to be involved again in serving our young people in Jerusalem community in Belgium. With this new service, I know that attending trainings would widen my perspective as I gain new insights from those who are working with the youth in different communities across Europe.
We first gathered together on the 25th of January in which we had the opportunity to join the Harambee meeting, the gathering of young people of the City on a Hill community. I was moved by the eagerness of these young people to get to know the Lord more. I instantly felt their openness and their warmth as they welcomed us. After the Harambee meeting, we had some social time together and I was able to get to know the other youth workers better along with what is happening in their locality.
The 26th of January was our main day together. There were 20 youth workers from different communities across Europe who attended the Zonal Youth Committee meeting specifically from Leuven, Bielsko-Biala, Gdansk, Sosnowiec, Belfast, Dublin, London and Glasgow. We started our meeting with a time for prayer and worship. Then, we shared with each other what the Lord has been doing with our young people and the most significant blessings that we have received in our youth work over the past years. We also took a period to share the challenges that we encountered in our service. It was a truly an encouraging time and lots of practical wisdom were imparted. Afterwards, we had a session on Youth Pastoral Goals which were presented by Paul Jordan and Phil Morrison. We talked about what we are trying to achieve in our youth work and where we see these goals in action. We were divided into groups and we discussed why certain goals are important for our youth work and what are the key aspects of building it. We learned from each other and subsequently developed ideas for certain topics such as brotherhood/sisterhood, mission, sexuality and worldview, and how can we apply these in our youth work. Then, we looked at our youth demographics over the next few years which made me realize how significant is our work with young people in building God’s Kingdom. Finally, we had a session intended for the YES retreat, a weekend for young people from different youth groups and associated outreaches of the Sword of the Spirit. We discussed helpful topics/workshops and gathered suggestions for the over-all theme and speakers for this year’s YES retreat which will take place on October 25 - 27 at Ganaway Activity Centre in Millisle, Northern Ireland. We ended the Zonal Youth Meeting with the Lord’s day ceremony. Then, we had a lovely fellowship time as brothers and sisters with our unforgettable dance challenge to the beat of some Polish music.
I truly believe that God is calling everyone to take part in His mission of “building something that will last”. However, there are several times when I tend to doubt myself and the call that He has given me. “What if do it and it doesn't work… what if I don't have the talent…what if I’m not good enough?" But I thank the Lord who constantly reminds me that when He breathed His life into us, He created each of us to shine, to make a difference, to leave our mark. And I’m truly grateful that in this mission, we are not alone. We have our brothers and sisters in Christ who journey with us in building something that will last, in building God’s Kingdom here on Earth.