When the New Year rolls around, will you be enjoying fireworks or throwing confetti? Reflection brings fond remembrances. As I write, I reminisce on experiences when I was a youth and involved in missions discipleship through Acteens.
I asked friends what it meant for them to be involved in missions discipleship. Four decades later, Tina still remembers exactly what one missionary said at an event she attended: “Being a missionary is not being outside your own country for Christ but being outside your own self for Christ.” Melanie said, “The most important thing I learned and experienced was that what I do, how I give, and where I go makes a difference in the kingdom. A huge difference.”
As a youth, I gathered with several thousand teenage girls at a national event. One speaker was absolutely unforgettable to me, and I smile at the memory decades later. When she entered the arena riding a unicycle and throwing confetti, she won the affection of the entire crowd. Missionary D. P. Smith had our total attention as she shared how God moved in her West African country. It made an impact on my life.
This Sunday, look at the youth in your congregation. By the time they reach adulthood, three out of four of them will leave the church. These teens need someone who would speak into their lives and invest in them as people invested in us. Take an interest in them and nurture a relationship.
Recently I had the privilege of reconnecting with D. P. For the second time, she made a profound impact on my life. Late one evening, she sent this prayer by text to my phone:
I pray that God will draw you ever closer to His heart with His still, small voice. May you clearly hear Him whisper your name as you go deep in His Word and close to His heart. He sings His songs over you. Deep calls to deep. May your joy be full. May your words overflow with His Holy Spirit power and grace. May your rest be multiplied. In the name of Jesus, amen.
In whose life are you making a difference? Your investment could mean transformation that will last a lifetime.
Our youth need to know You care for them and we do as well. Give us courage to invest in their lives and lead them in missions discipleship. May they hear You clearly whisper their name. Draw them close, and let them see and experience Your heart for the nations. May they follow You wholeheartedly all their days.
In Jesus’ name, amen.
Sandy-Wisdom Martin serves as the executive director/treasurer for national WMU.