Greetings to all of you who are Ambassadors for Youth Ministry!
I just heard Tony Dungy, coach of the Indianapolis Colts football team in the US, say that he feels that today’s church youth workers have the most important job of any in the world! I agree! We are so thankful for all that you do to further the cause of reaching youth where you are.
I apologize that we aren’t quite as regular in sending you this communiqué lately. Like you, our ministry plates are full. But that is always the case isn’t it! The bigger factor for us lately has been a financial crisis of sorts in NNYM, and we have had to focus hard on sustaining our base here in San Diego. I am pleased to announce that we have weathered the worst of the storm. While there is still much to be done, we rejoice in God’s goodness and affirmation.
OF URGENT IMPORTANCE: Registering you for the Youth Commission Meeting in Thailand!
I need you to confirm with me immediately by email about your plans to attend the next Youth Commission meeting on 24-25 October, 2008 in Pattaya, Thailand. The Youth Commission will be held prior to the WEA General Assembly to be held October 25-30. Here is the schedule:
· 23 or 24 October—Arrival: Our Youth Commission meetings will begin at Noon on Friday, in the main hotel, in Pattaya, Thailand. You will probably need to fly through Bangkok (about one hour away). If you are arriving on Thursday (like Toni and me), we can share dinner together and some fellowship!
· 24-25 October—YC Meetings: We will meet from lunch on Friday and meet solid through dinner on Saturday, just before the opening session of the General Assembly. If we do not finish our business, we will likely convene during the week of the General Assembly.
· 25-30 October—The General Assembly: This happens only once every 7 years and is an important time to interact and showcase the vision for the Youth Commission. It will also be a great blessing to hear the speakers and meet the delegates from over 100 countries. It begins with an evening General Session on Saturday, 25 October and concludes with a luncheon on Thursday, 30 October. Please make every effort to stay for the entire program. We will need your help at an Exhibit Booth as well as making contact with others who may be interested in starting Youth Commissions in their areas.
It is important that you register very soon. To register on-line go to http://www.GA08.org. If you know you will have financial complications, please surface that with me now. As I mentioned, we’re having some difficult financial times, so we need everyone to do their part to fund their way. However, we don’t want lack of finances to put a damper on this important meeting, so please talk with me about this now, so we can give God the opportunity to provide!
Africa: Kenya in Crisis – PLEASE PRAY
Kenya hasn’t had a civil war in 150 years. But the aftermath of the disputed presidential elections in December has resulted in over 1,000 deaths and 600,000 people displaced from their homes. While governance structures are weak, youth gangs are causing havoc in ways that affect transportation, trade and security. Here is a word from our African Coordinator, Solomon Gacece, who lives in Nairobi: “The political climate in Kenya is still tense. Political leaders held meetings with the former UN Secretary General Kofi Anan as the mediator. Please pray with us. Many families whose homes were burned are still living in camps. The Churches in Kenya have served voluntarily in the camps providing food, clothes, medicine, encouragement and biblical counseling.
“Sports Outreach Kenya, jointly with Church Youth, have been organising games for recreation in the camps. This has given us the opportunity to share the gospel and to teach forgiveness. We are trying to help the young people practice peace at home and in their local communities as we uplift the name of Jesus.
“At the moment, we are organising sporting programmes in Kibera slums in the city of Nairobi
(the biggest slum in Africa with over 800,000 people)—the place where the rioting started with burning of houses, looting and killings after the announcement of the presidential elections results.”
It looks like a power-sharing agreement has been reached since Solomon wrote. Please continue to hold them up in prayer.
India: National Conference Launches Youth Ministry Project
Daryl Nuss attended the conference in February in Bangalore that launched the India Youth Commission’s effort to discover “best practices” for youth evangelism there. He reported: “You would have been very encouraged about how this Forum turned out. There was a wonderful spirit of cooperation and vision among the leaders of the groups who attended. In the leaders meeting, they went around the group and each organization or church shared what they could contribute to the network. Malcolm Ezekiel and Jacob Isaac will be following through and taking leadership. Malcolm will build the networks in the 11 designated cities. Jacob had two video cameras going and captured an interview of every leader on key topics and every message. This will be the start of the content for future helpful resources. They are also launching a website called ‘Yuvapedia’ with the byline: ‘What you need to know about ministering to youth.’ Yuva means youth in Hindi. They are off to a good start. It is gratifying to already see some tangible results with the project.”
Latin America: Faithful Progress
Jorge Zuniga reports that they held a very successful “Living School” for youth leaders in Costa Rica. He plans to travel this year to other Youth Commissions and youth ministries in South America, Argentina, Colombia and Peru. We praise God for their faithfulness and fruitfulness!
United States: From Barrenness and Blessing
As I mentioned, the Network in the U.S. has had to undergo some serious cutbacks due to budget shortfalls. Before we made additional cutbacks we put out an all-out request for 30 days of prayer from members, friends and supporters, asking God to provide. Thanks to God’s faithfulness, enough funds came in, over and above expectations, to eliminate the need for additional cutbacks and keep the Network moving forward!
At the same time God has blessed with significant opportunities to be advocates for youth ministry. Last month I was asked to come to the White House and bring a report for a President’s commission about progress of the churches in finding providing mentors for the hundreds of thousands of kids that are on waiting lists. A week later I had the opportunity to make a keynote presentation at the Global Pastors Network conference in Orlando about the significance of reaching and mobilizing youth in the modern-day missions movement.
God has given us exciting opportunities in an exciting time to serve Him. Let’s continue to hold each other up in prayer. I welcome news and prayer requests that we can share with others. God bless each one of you!
WEA Youth Commission