"I have come to find that God leads, moves, and works everywhere so why can't I?" said one of the delegates to the 2009 NYI Convention in Manila. "I am ready to go and make disciples in my community, and whether its at youth group, at work or school, I know God is with me and I'm ready for anything. The convention helped me to be better equipped in every way and understand what is needed for understanding and as I continue to live for God and learn more things along the way, may I be
used in a better and greater way with purpose that makes a difference in peoples lives."
After months of planning, after months of
preparations the Global NYI Convention finally came! In Manila we had seventy participants come from fifteen countries! They came from Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, East Timor, Singapore, Taiwan, Philippines, Japan, Korea, Chuuk, Guam, Thailand, Myanmar, and two creative access countries. This is more than twice the number of delegates who were able to come to the 2005 NYI convention in Indianapolis. This was the largest representation of youth leaders that has ever come together in the Asia-Pacific region where we serve. So many for the first time saw their brothers
and sisters in Christ from across the region,
and then through the videoconference, across the world... for the first time! It was so exciting!
Before the official NYI convention started we spent a few days with our regional
delegates and participants in Manila to spend time discussing what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and to talk about Jesus' call for us to also make disciples. We talked about how God was calling us to new encounters with him as young people through prayer, through spending time in scripture together, and through worship. We discussed the tremendous possibilities for youth to impact
their communities through loving and investing in children. We also felt God leading us to make a difference in our communities through getting involved with the social issues that are affecting the community; thingslike domestic abuse, child trafficking, lack of clean drinking water, lack of educational opportunities, drug and alcohol abuse and the many reasons that cause it, and more. And we feel God leading us to, as young people, to begin planting churches. All of this points to our
central goal and desire to "Make Christlike Disciples Among Youth." So for three days we prayed together, we worshipped together, we ate together, we played together, and we had
workshops together. And God met and challenged us in powerful ways to return to our homes with His heart for the people who live around us.
Halfway through the event, we transitioned to the Global business meetings and worship. This meant that we also transitioned to staying up all night long, since the meetings were held exactly 12 hours away in Orlando. To have fun with this the theme for the event was 'Up All Night' and we bought hundreds of packs of instant coffee to prepare us for this and designed tshirts with coffee and a moon on the front! I was a little worried how well we would do staying up all night for
three nights, especially during some of the less-than-exciting business meetings, but everyone was energetic and engaged. They were excited to be able to participate in this and everyone from the official delegates to the visitors were ready to fight sleepiness! In our meetings we elected new leadership and made changes to our ministry plan to help us be more reflective of the global church that we are, and not just a church that centers in North America. It was such an honor to be a part of these decisions. And at the end we shared in communion together. Hundreds of youth and
youth workers literally across the world, remembered
the broken body and shed blood of our Lord, together.
One delegate shared why this event was so significant for him. "This convention is important to me for this is a dream come true for Nazarenes to experience what it really means to be a global church. Imagine for the first time
we're able to share our lives together through videoconferencing though we are apart
geographically!This i the reason why it is important to me. It changes our view of our church towards being a true global community. We are one family."
I am more and more convinced that an event by itself is nothing, unless it is a
chance for participants to encounter God and to return to their homes changed and with a different perspective. The most rewarding part of the entire event was to read some of the comments of how God touched their lives during this very long week. Let me share a few comments:
"For me personally this convention has been a mind and
eye opener. I always thought that I was the only one struggling... but hearing the testimonies from the other brothers and sisters in Christ around the world I understand now that we are the same and it is only Christ that can carry us through. I am going home a different person."
"I know that I will be a different person
altogether and I'm so proud. God has renewed my mindset, placing a more loving and caring mind in me."
"I will bring home this passionate heart, more passionate than ever. This won't be easy but if I will not start it, then who will?
"I am learning to listen and let God speak to
me in various ways and I am excited to share this excitement that I have right now."
"I have been really touched and challenged through the workshops, speakers, prayers, and worship. God has challenged
me to be intentional in my conversations and to be more involved
in my community."
This is what it was all about, God touching the lives of people and their desire to share this with others!
Please check out our event highlights video and other videos of our services and worship at apnyi.org.
Thank you all for your prayers and support for this life-changing event!