Encouraging the Next Generation
During my DTS (Discipleship Training School) outreach to Kimbe, Papua New Guinea, my team and I, headquartered at YWAM Ships Kona’s vessel, the m/v Pacific Link, had some wonderful opportunities to minister to children and youth. Our activities ranged from games and crafts to worship, prayer ministry, and Bible studies.
Besides the normal struggles children and teenagers deal with anywhere, many PNG youth have to deal with the added tension of poverty and lack of opportunity for a meaningful future.
As my team reached out to students at the elementary school level on up to university levels, God developed a heart in me for them. Kids and youth are especially attuned to your attitude and they know if you’re really into loving them or not. You can’t pretend with them.
I aimed to leave small nuggets of God’s truth and encouragement with each group we met. I wanted them to know that He is on their side, that He calls them to rejoice in Him. We wanted to plant seeds in their hearts that would draw them closer to Christ and give a glimpse of the Father heart of God that is available for them.
At one high school, I shared the story of David and Goliath and how with God’s help, they can overcome the obstacles standing in the way of God’s dreams for them.
It was especially meaningful to interact personally with individual students. Below are two such stories.
This particular day, nearly twenty students had gathered at the university in Kimbe to hear my team share on the theme of faith.
We began with worship, then told the story of Peter stepping out of the boat on the storm-tossed Sea of Galilee to walk to Jesus. One of my team members also taught from Hebrews 11.
After we’d finished, we invited anyone who wanted to receive prayer to raise their hand. I noticed a young man in the center of the group who had raised his hand and went over to pray for him. He told me his name was Ricky.
When I asked him what he wanted prayer for, he voiced his concerns about passing his exams so he could attend police academy. As I sought the Lord on his behalf, I sensed the Holy Spirit telling me to ask for a steady job for him so he could provide for his family and so his siblings could study and pursue their dreams rather than holding down a job just to survive.
I was elated when Ricky nodded, confirming I’d heard from the Lord accurately. His father pastored a church and didn’t make much money. At nineteen, Ricky had been going to church all his life. He said that he prayed and read his Bible every day, “But what else can I do?”
I encouraged Ricky to deepen his relationship with God by learning to hear God’s voice. At first he seemed to think this was an odd concept.
But I said, “Go outside, sit under a tree, and listen quietly and patiently. The Bible says that those who wait on the Lord, will renew their strength. Ask God questions and then listen for him to speak to you.”
After my explanation, Ricky seemed to warm to the idea of hearing God’s voice. I felt privileged to pass on a concept I’d learned so recently during my DTS lecture phase.
Another student I prayed with that day at the university was Pius. At age twenty-six, Pius was attending the university while he studied general education and life skills, One of the first things I noticed about this young man were the scars crisscrossing his hands and face.
As his story unfolded, I found out that Pius had led a hard life. Although he was a student at the university, he had not received any other schooling beyond the third grade. With so little education, he’d spent his life fighting to survive. But that all changed when he met Christ at the age of nineteen. But until the study my team led that day, he’d had little idea how to live out his faith.
I could identify with him. I had a lot to learn about walking out my Christian life and still do. Just before DTS, I was not in a good place. I needed to draw closer to God and gain a better understanding of Him.
Pius said he struggled to understand what his professors taught in class so he needed God to touch his mind and help him learn. I prayed and encouraged him to believe that God wants him to expand his mind, to grow, and learn.
Pius expressed that he felt he could now trust God to help him complete his education. What a great opportunity God had given me to encourage a brother in Christ to fulfill God’s plans and purposes for his life.
By Daniel Lee
July 2017 DTS Student
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