Assemblies of God Empowered Magazine Kingdom Initiatives - Page 18

WANGANUI, NZ YOUTH OF THE NATION By Michelle Shearer, Children's Pastor & Youth worker, Richmond A/G, Nelson It was 10am. The buzz in the air and the noise, giggles and excitement was contagious. The road trip was about to begin! Youth of the Nation, we’re on our way from Nelson! That excitement never let up. These guys and girls were expectant and hungry! Two vans, 20 people, loud music, snoring, ferries, Maccas, pillow cricket and a mass of food and prayers from our church families. We were set to go and full of expectation. Our first day was spent meeting the locals and checking out the town via Selfie challenges and scavenger hunts. First night into YOTN was incredible! Nick Khiroya brought the word and the response to Jesus knocking at heart 18 | EMPOWERED MAGAZINE doors was massive……and it didn’t end there. We spent the week watching our youth go from knowing God, to seeing and experiencing him. He was no longer the God of their parents or youth group. He was real, tangible and all-consuming! We watched as individuals chose to break away from fear, shame, addictions, depression and "the norm". They chose to step into something greater than themselves and we couldn’t be more humbled, proud and inspired. That change didn’t stay in Wanganui. It has been brought back to their homes, friends and schools; sharing Jesus with siblings and friends and opening their hearts to parents. God is working in so many wonderful ways! We thought you might like to hear a few stories from the youth themselves… “At Youth of the Nation I felt a very strong connection with God through the praise and worship. It was by far the best part for me, because through this, especially on the final night, I felt absolutely indestructible. This has greatly affected me. Now I am happier than I used to be because I know I have God on my side and in my life to take me through tough times and other issues.” “We felt so inspired worshiping with everyone and felt God in our hearts. Each speaker spoke in a way that was so personal. and we felt like we could really connect with it! We have come home being able to experience/encounter Jesus and share him with our family and friends.” “Youth of ‘My’ Nation”! What really struck me was the national response to Jesus from other young people; it was great to visualise other young Christians going after God. The teaching was insightful and energetic, always retaining a personal touch while