Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thailand Youth Camp

“I came to know Christ as a university student. In my first year I had to work in my free time and study. I met a Christian person where I worked. They would tell everyone about God and no one was interested, but I was.”

During the last week of October I was in Thailand (I know, I know this is really late!). I was able to spend the first part of the week at the Thai District NYI camp at Bangkok 1st Church. There were near twenty campers who came from Bangkok as well as Chang-Mai, ten hours to the north.

I got to help with a relational evangelism workshop. This was a lot of fun as the youth shared the people that touched their lives for Christ. When telling about these relationships they were excited to share and passionate. It really re-emphasized with me that the essence of the gospel is not in just sharing ‘facts’ but rather stories of relationships, which direct our relationship with God.

The campers used tools such as evange-bracelets and evange-cubes to help tell their stories of how Jesus impacted their lives. The feeling of many of the youth was captured in this statement, “I was very nervous to go and talk to people I didn’t know about Jesus. But after doing it I felt a new sense of confidence. I can do this!” One young camper was so excited that he began holding his arm up, showing the multi-colored bracelet and asking the children, “Who wants to know about my bracelet? Can I tell you about my bracelet?!”

Late during the camp two people joined. The first was a 4th grader (which I’m not sure why he was attending) and his friend. At the end of the camp the friend shared with the group, “I am not a Christian. I am a Buddhist. I wondered how I could come to this camp since we are different religions. But while I have been here I have had a lot of fun and have made new friends. I do not want to be a Buddhist anymore. I want to be a Christian.” Opportunities to share the love and joy in Jesus, even when we didn’t know it, came from every direction!

It was a huge privilege for me to get to be in a context like this. It is here in local communities and local churches that life happens. This event in another country reminded me again of my responsibility to be intentional in my local setting, as normal as it seems.

Please pray for the young people of the Thailand district: for Nit, Goh, Pie, Gang, and the many others. Pray also for Belinda, the NYI Coordinator for the Southeast Asia Field.