Friday, August 10, 2012

First Nation Youth turn to Jesus in Canada

Jeff* is an outgoing and helpful young man who has attended the Native Youth Conference (NYC) in Western Canada for at least six years. But, Jeff identifies strongly with what he calls his peoples' traditional ways. He has always wondered about the reality of Jesus, and questioned whether the gospel message was for him.

Last month, on the last night of this year's NYC, the speaker gave a call for commitment. Who was the first to come up front? Bob,* a 55+ year old man with First Nations-style braids. He was one of 60 volunteers who worked hard all week-end at NYC.

Bob took the microphone and talked about how God was calling him to make an all-out commitment to following God's way. Jeff always admired Bob's commitment to his Native culture. Now Jeff was struck by Bob's statement! That was the turning point.

Jeff walked to the front and stood beside Bob and publicly confessed that Jesus is Lord.

Jeff was just one of 65 who made such a public profession of their faith at this year's conference.

When we began ministry in Canada in 1989 our prayer was not just to see Native people give their hearts to the Lord, our prayer was to one day see Native leaders working alongside missionaries in ministry. We praise the Lord that time has come! More and more across western Canada we see First Nations people taking their rightful place of Christian leadership in their own communities.

One place where this is very evident is among the next generation of First Nations believers. Youth and young adults are following the call to serve and lead. This annual gathering of nearly 300 young people from western Canada is almost completely planned, organized and executed by second-generation Native Christian leaders. To be sure, our missionaries provide support and encouragement, and work tirelessly alongside these young people, but the bulk of the work is done by these second generation believers.

(based on T.Dale Smith, InterAct Ministries newsletter, June 2012)

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