Agape Youth Bible Camp is less than 24 hours away. This week has been packed with final preparations and precious opportunities to connect with and serve the young people of Agape Youth (AY). Yesterday was marked by one-on-one discipleship meetings, home visits, and some minor upgrades to Max, the AY gathering facility.
The discipleship meetings and home visits were deeply instructive for each of us. Many of the boys and girls of AY are such shining examples of faith, perseverance and hope. Through so many obstacles, disappointments, and hurts, they continue to seek and serve their King. They are teaching us about trust, vulnerability, and long suffering.
Week by week the AY kids meet to worship, fellowship, and study God's Word together. Some are coming to understand the Gospel for the first time; others are growing in grace as they continue to follow Jesus; still others are discipling their younger brothers and sisters and inviting newcomers into the AY community.
Through these boys and girls the Kingdom of our God is expanding.
Our sister Alyssa joined us Monday evening and wasted no time getting to know the kids and joining in the beautiful fray! Praise the Lord for her. Becca was delayed a bit and is scheduled to arrive tomorrow (Friday).
As a team we've been starting our days together in God's word and praying together for the day ahead. Brian Lee has been leading us through a fruitful stud of Christ's signs in the Gospel of John -- the very same narratives we'll be studying with the AY kids at this weekend's camp. Our days have been ending with a nightly time of debriefing and prayer.
These days together have served to highlight the magnificent variety of gifts and experiences represented in this team. What a beautiful group of servants -- dependent and needy, yet redeemed, Spirit-filled, and powerfully equipped to serve the Kingdom. Praise the Lord for them! And praise the Lord for you, brothers and sisters, and your continued support and intercession!
We need you to pray, brothers and sisters. As the camp draws nearer, everyone is working hard to handle last-minute logistical needs, prepare their hearts, and entrust all of this to our Lord. The enemy would like to derail, discourage, and divide us, but our Lord is mighty to preserve, prepare, and use his people.
Rob for the N19 Team
And when I look closely,
I suddenly see
That I am Barabbas,
Once guilty, now free.
These were the closing lines of today’s Agape Youth Worship Service message. Our preacher, Brian Hoza, helped us all behold the scandalous grace of God in Jesus Christ, who died for “Barabbases” like us — notorious sinners deserving death but receiving love and mercy.
What a great day we had worshiping Jesus with 100 or so young people. Following the worship gathering, they were led through a series of seriously fun games, and we had a chance to reconnect with many of them. It’s so good to see the fruit of the Spirit’s work in their lives, maturing and transforming many them. We also got to meet lots of new young friends, many of whom will be at this coming weekend’s Agape Youth Bible Camp.
All 17 members of the Agape Youth Worship Team, along with the N19 Team
Later we enjoyed dinner at Pastor Kim’s house. He and his family have been serving in Namibia for 7 years. One goal of this annual trip is to minister to the Kims, Parks, Hongs, and Jen Chon — faithful servants who are pouring out their lives for these young people. Please pray that our team would be an encouragement to them, even as we partner with them, pray with them, and seek to support their efforts here on the ground.
We’re winding down this Sunday evening at Steve and Seoyeon Hong’s apartment and Jen Chon’s apartment in preparation for a full day tomorrow. In the morning, God willing, we’ll get together with many of the Agape Youth for one-on-one discipleship meetings, small group sessions, and other activities.
Alyssa Leone, our 11th team member, is scheduled to arrive tomorrow evening, and Becca McAteer (member 12) is scheduled to arrive just before the weekend.
They are all here!!! The Park family, Alex, and Jessica have made it safely to Namibia, minus some luggage. They are all adjusting well and we are glad to be reunited.
Today we spent the majority of the day at Max (pronounced Mox) which is the building that Agape Youth meets in. The benefit of having such a large team this year is that we can spread out, accomplish different tasks, all while getting to know more people. We had a group finishing some painting work on a canvas to decorate the walls. Another group spent a few hours teaching girls from the village how to sew reusable menstrual pads. A few others were practicing with the Agape Youth praise team to get ready to lead praise for the upcoming camp. All activities have provided great opportunities to casually get to know the people we will be spending time with at camp.
Here are a few ways that you could be praying:
“Will you trust him – to forgive and welcome you? Will you trust him, even if he’s not fixing the problems you think he should? Will you trust him if he makes you wait?”
Rob asked during his sermon at the Agape Youth Sunday Service. And as he asked each question (which I think most of us were expecting to answer internally) you could hear a few of the youth answering each question with a resounding “Yes!”
Good morning, afternoon, or evening New Hope Fellowship! In the case you were wondering, most of our team members have made it safely to Namibia and we still await to be reunited physically with the Park family (Steve, Cathy, Chris, Ellie, and Lauren), Alex Lee, and Jessica Oh. Though the camp has not started yet, thanks to Jen Chon and the Korean missionaries (We Love Africa) we have had ample opportunities to meet and get to know the Agape Youth kids, most of whom will be attending the camp starting on Friday. In the days leading up to the camp we will be spending much time together in their village. In addition to hanging out with them in a natural setting, we do have a lot of things to prepare for the camp. Please pray that as we prepare and work that we would not lose sight of who is in front of us!
Above (left picture) in the middle is Derricks and to the right in the grey suit is Mitchell. Both Derricks and Mitchell have become believers through this ministry and are now serving as leaders of Agape Youth. As we heard their testimonies and clearly saw their heart to joyfully serve the Lord and their community, there was great evidence that the faithful labor has not been in vain, that the faithful preaching of the word of God did not return void, that the faithful sacrifice to sow seeds did indeed yield fruit. Praise the Lord for that!
One of the things I love about this ministry is that they are discipling and equipping young people to be leaders and to serve, with the hope of reaching others around them!
Transportation from place to place would not be possible without the tireless efforts of Jen and the We Love Africa missionaries. From the airport to each place we need to be at they have served us tirelessly to get us to where we need to be, sometimes at the cost of them being late (oops!). As we have observed them serving the kids of Agape Youth, Kings Kids, and Hope Village it is evident that their gain is Christ and all the out-workings of their service is rooted in a deep seated trust that Christ is better than anything this world could offer.