Hide Not Thyself

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“Is not this the fast that I have chosen?…that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” (Isaiah 58:6-7, KJV)

The sad recent events in the United States regarding names like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor have taken the world by a storm. They have acted as tipping points on issues concerning racism and injustice, with roots that extend deeper and further than what recent news and social media headlines might suggest. 

Racism exists because the world has not accepted the gospel of Jesus. The book of Genesis teaches that there is only one race—the human race. Regardless of ethnicity, racism is equivalent to hating our own relatives. It is essentially hating ourselves. The gospel confronts the entire human race over its prejudice. Racism and prejudice are manifestations of hatred fueled by human arrogance.

It is important to note that the gospel of Christ is ultimately the only solution because it is the only force strong enough to transform the human heart. Jesus speaks of the gospel as seed that changes the heart of an individual. When we accept this seed, we become a new creation and citizens of heaven. We become children of God. The gospel can do miraculous things within our hearts because with heart transformation, unity replaces division, love replaces selfishness, and kindness replaces hate.

In the near future, Millennials and Gen-Z will make up nearly 60% of the global workforce. We as young people in God’s church have a powerful and large part to play in confronting the world with the gospel, which alone can break the bonds of racism and injustice within our generation.

So, what are some things that Christians can do?

Learn

Many of us are unaware of the dynamics that surround the lives of marginalized communities in our world. May this be an opportunity to educate ourselves in relation to the history, even the recent history of hate and injustice that have been ongoing since the fall of humanity.

Listen

Listen to friends, acquaintances, and even strangers about their perspectives. Seek to understand where they’re coming from.

“The golden rule is the principle of true courtesy with its truest illustration seen in the life of Christ. In associating with others, we should aim to put ourselves in their place. We should enter into their feelings, difficulties, disappointments, joys, and sorrows. We should identify with them.  Then we should do to them as we would have them do to us if the roles were exchanged” (Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 134-135).

Intercede

Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God.” The best way to champion justice is to champion truth, and Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). Take time to intercede and to pray on behalf of those suffering from injustice in the world, because it is that prayer moves the arm of God to do something. But in your prayers, also ask what He would have you do. Develop a personal biblical plan on how you can be a peacemaker on a daily basis and not just when the media highlights injustice.

“Christ tears away the wall of partition, the dividing prejudice of nationality, and teaches a love for all the human family. He lifts men from the narrow circle which their selfishness prescribes; He abolishes all territorial lines and artificial distinctions of society. He makes no difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies. He teaches us to look upon every needy soul as our brother, and the world as our field” (Desire of Ages, 823).

As we prepare to be face-to-face with God as one heavenly family, let us not hide from, but turn to, and embrace all those who are oppressed and suffering in our communities. Let us take part in the true fast of Isaiah 58 and not remain absent from members of our own family, our own flesh. Especially when they need us most.

Andrew Park
President, GYC

Plot Twist: Your Conspiracy will Backfire

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It doesn’t take long for the crises of life to bring conspiracies to the forefront that persuade many. There’s just something about “knowing” information the rest of the world is not yet privy to that brings on a subtle thrill – chasing after the latest imaginative idea to fit into a broader elaborate, incredible framework. I need evidence, you say? Why, the educators, scientists, officials and even religious powers that be have prevented all efforts to reveal the “truth,” so in this case, you’ll need to rely on “my research” to bring out all the reliable facts. I know, I know, I don’t have an education in any of the pertinent fields, and I know I can’t provide any well-respected sources by people who do, but this is obviously because all such research has been covered up!

What I have just described is an unfalsifiable position. An unfalsi…what?

Merriam Webster describes the word “unfalsifiable” as follows: “Not capable of being proved false.”

Here’s the thing with unfalsifiable positions. If they cannot be proven false, then they represent ideas that cannot be tested (for any number of reasons). If their validity cannot be tested or verified, then whatever it is that is being advocated for is probably worthless, because there’s no reasonable way to ascribe merit or value to it beyond the time expended in the pursuit of a dead end.

But here’s the real problem. By asserting that which cannot be disproved, or conversely, proven, we bring ourselves into disrepute before the world as Christians.

Consider the following texts:

You are not to say, ‘It is a conspiracy!’ In regard to all that this people call a conspiracy, And you are not to fear what they fear or be in dread of it.” – Isaiah 8:12

Here, God commands Isaiah to avoid conspiracies, and in context suggests that one’s focus should be on God’s instead.

11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. 12 For it is a SHAME even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.” – Ephesians 5:11-12

Here, Paul calls it a shame to even speak of the things evil people do in secret.

So what should be our focus instead?

Paul in Hebrews 12:1-2 tells us that our focus should be on laying aside every sin and weight in preference for looking to Jesus.

Jesus Himself could not have said it more clearly in Matthew 28:19-20. Our role is to share knowledge of Him with the world, to let the people know that we can have a personal experience and relationship that makes life joy-filled and abundant (John 10:10).

So where is your focus?

Not convinced enough to make a shift in focus? Here are some additional thoughts on the dangers of conspiracy theories.

The time will come when unguarded expressions of a denunciatory character, that have been carelessly spoken or written by our brethren, will be used by our enemies to condemn us… Let all beware lest by reckless expressions they bring on a time of trouble before the great crisis which is to try men’s souls.” {6T 394.3}

The less we make direct charges against authorities and powers, the greater work we shall be able to accomplish, both in America and in foreign countries. Foreign nations will follow the example of the United States. Though she leads out, yet the same crisis will come upon our people in all parts of the world.” {6T 395.1}

It is our work to magnify and exalt the law of God. The truth of God’s holy word is to be made manifest. We are to hold up the Scriptures as the rule of life. In all modesty, in the spirit of grace, and in the love of God we are to point men to the fact that the Lord God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth, and that the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord.” {6T 395.2}

If we wish men to be convinced that the truth we believe sanctifies the soul and transforms the character, let us not be continually charging them with vehement accusations. In this way we shall force them to the conclusion that the doctrine we profess cannot be the Christian doctrine, since it does not make us kind, courteous, and respectful. Christianity is not manifested in pugilistic accusations and condemnation.” {6T 396.4}

Say ye not, A confederacy [conspiracy], to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy” (Isaiah 8:12). While we should not seek for controversy, and should not needlessly offend, we must present the truth clearly and decidedly, and stand firm to what God has taught us in His Word. You are not to look to the world in order to learn what you shall write and publish or what you shall speak. Let all your words and works testify, “We have not followed cunningly devised fables” (2 Peter 1:16). “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place” (2 Peter 1:19). {2SM 371.1}

God has given man precious promises upon conditions of faith and obedience; but they are not to sustain him in any rash act. If men needlessly place themselves in peril, and go where God does not require them to go, and self-confidently expose themselves to danger, disregarding the dictates of reason, God will not work a miracle to relieve them. He will not send his angels to preserve any from being burned if they choose to place themselves in the fire.” {RH April 1, 1875, par. 4}

Perhaps the real conspiracy inherent in human nature is our need to watch the news, track each sign, and figure out exactly where we’re at in the course of history. Then, right at the last second, we can fear ourselves into living and doing what’s right as if that will finally save us. For that, there’s a parable in Matthew 25.

I don’t know about you, but it is my desire that we all be found faithful going about the work God has given us to do, rather than focusing on the distractions that hinder us.

Eric Louw
VP of Marketing, GYC

By Many or By Few

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As a local church pastor, I went on several visits with a church elder trying to reclaim missing members. After knocking on several doors, we sat in the car and debriefed about the experience. His assessment shocked me: “Pastor, I believe we have enough members. What we need are disciples!” He was right. Matthew 28:19 calls us specifically to make disciples of all nations—not just members but people who will take sacrificial initiative to follow Christ. Such a call is given to this generation as well.

GYC will host its annual convention this year from January 1-4, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. The theme is based on 2 Samuel, “By Many or By Few.” Our hope is to be inspired by the story of Jonathan and his armor bearer who boldly believed in the power of God to deliver them and help them overcome their greatest challenge – the Philistines.

Our challenges today are many and they come from within and without. They can be physical, emotional or spiritual. But the success that Jonathan and his armor bearer enjoyed lay in the fundamental principle of discipleship—simple trust in God. Such a trust we need today, and this year’s GYC will aim to inspire our generation to answer the call of discipleship. As we make this the theme of our meditation, we want to remember our perennial need to seek Christ, make Him the center of everything we do and lift Him up before the world. Specifically, we seek to do this in three areas: the program, the community and the prayer focus at GYC. We believe that these areas are relevant to our generation today and are worthy of your participation whether this will be your first GYC or whether you’ve never missed a GYC. 

At this year’s GYC, we are introducing a new segment called breakouts in addition to our seminars and plenary sessions. These are one-hour talks given by individuals who have exemplified excellence in their profession and faithfulness to their God-given call. We will hear from a variety of presenters including missionaries, lawyers, educators, canvassers, pastors and more. We have also sought to provide more opportunities for young people to explore mission opportunities at the exhibit hall and highlight ministries that are making a real difference in people’s lives around the world. We have been intentional to provide our participants with more opportunities for deep Bible study and fellowship by providing flexible times in the program for spontaneous group Bible study, singing, literature ministry or prayer. 

Secondly, we want to uplift Christ in the GYC community. As previously mentioned, our exhibit coordinators have been intentional about making sure that every exhibitor provides opportunities for you to utilize your God-given talents for Christ so that you too can participate in the mission of expanding the Kingdom of God. We will begin making disciples by reaching out to the community in Louisville through our evangelistic efforts during GYC. We also invite you to engage in ongoing discussion with your friends and other like-minded young people through the GYC app, where you can share your thoughts and experiences and encourage one another through social media even after the Conference is over. In our day and age, we often see that social media can be a polarizing force, but we believe that it can also be used as a great unifier if we let Christ shine through the content we produce and share. There is nothing stronger than a well-connected, supportive and loving community. After all Jesus Himself said “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” John 15:35. Let us make this our aim at this year’s conference and beyond. For all social media posts relating to GYC, please remember to use the hashtag #GYC19.

Lastly, prayer must be a fundamental biblical discipline that this generation understands and practices. A generation that doesn’t pray is a hopeless generation. The prayer focus at our GYC conferences has been gaining tremendous momentum in the last few years. Several years ago I remember going to the prayer room as one of the leaders of the movement and feeling saddened to find less than ten people gathered to pray. While I am confident that many individuals prayed in private or in other communities during those events, I believe that if we want to see Jesus come in our generation, we need more calloused knees and broken hearts that can be made new in Christ. Over the past few years, as we have worked to make prayer a fundamental aspect of GYC, we have seen more than a thousand people praying together and witnessed miracles taking place as a result. One of those miracles has been the Iceland Project, where a group of young people, together with their church leaders, prayed for the country of Iceland and prayer-walked the entire capital city. As a result, atheists started coming to church, young people experienced revival and lives were changed for eternity. 

We don’t want to be on this earth any longer than we have to be. We want to go home! But in order to do this, we need to accept the call of discipleship, take ownership of our prophetic identity and live sacrificial lives for Christ to the end. Whether by many or by few, Jesus will finish this work! On November 22, 2019, we begin the 40 Days of Prayer leading up to the GYC conference and I invite you to join us in this event via social media. Also, if you haven’t registered for the Conference yet, I invite you to do so now. Let us gather together by God’s grace at 6 pm on January 1, 2020 and see what God will do as we lift Him up!

Be Faithful,

Moise

Special Gloves and a Bus Stop Encounter

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On the afternoon of August 13, 2019, I was distributing GLOW tracts in different homes as part of the GYC Mission Trip to Iceland. As I went door-to-door, I came across a man who was washing his wife’s car. I introduced myself and offered him the GLOW tracts. He was grateful and assured me that he would read them as soon as he was done washing the car. He proceeded to ask me where I was from and I told him that I am from Kenya. In a rare gesture, he stretched out his hand to greet me. “Your hands are cold,” he said. I left him and I prayed in my heart that God would enable him to read the tracts. I went on distributing the tracts in the other houses for about one hour until I was close to finishing my territory. As I was coming out of one of the homes, I saw a car following me from behind. It suddenly stopped and I thought perhaps I was in trouble. However, the man whom I had met earlier, was the one in it! He greeted me and said “Here, have these gloves to keep your hands warm. They are special because they are also a gift I was given by my friend, but have them.” At that moment, I could see some emotions in his eyes, and I asked him if there is anything he would like us to pray about. He declined but promptly said, “Please remember me in your prayers.” This kind gesture really warmed my heart. I surely believe that God led the man to read the GLOW tracts. Although I did not get to know the name of the man, God knows him and the burdens of his heart. When I pray I just tell God: “In your kingdom to come, please remember the owner of the special gloves.”

Two days later, I was dropped off in my territory in the Reykjavik area. It was raining heavily and I sought shelter at the bus stop. As I was waiting for the rain to subside, a woman came to the bus stop and inquired if she could get a bus to a certain direction at that particular bus stop. I told her that I was not certain. I proceeded to assist her by checking google maps which confirmed that she was at the right bus stop. I had some GLOW tracts with me and I wanted to share them with her. Before I could do so, she asked me what I was doing in Iceland. I told her: “I am here with GLOW ISLAND.* We are distributing GLOW tracts.” Her eyes lit up and she exclaimed, “Oh! I know GLOW Island; you are the group of young Christians who are distributing small pamphlets. You are doing a great job. When I got the pamphlets, I went home and we read it together with my husband and everything written there is the truth from the Bible.” She inquired which church I belong to and I told her the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Well, surprisingly, she said that she listens to the Adventist radio and there is a program she likes on Mondays. She went ahead to ask if there is a physical Adventist church in Iceland and I directed her to the website and asked her to fill out a form asking for fellowship. Interestingly, the lady was from Ethiopia. This encounter reminds me of the story of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8:26-40. I believe that just like the encounter Philip had, the Ethiopian lady I met shall be led by the Holy Spirit to the scriptures and search for truth. Our dear heavenly Father desires all his children to know the truth. You and I have to be co-laborers with Him so that this message will reach to His children.

It is indeed a special blessing to work in the field of God. The joy of heaven will be felt best when we see the people that God used us to lead to Him. This mission, in particular, changed how I see God. I have gotten rid of my own selfishness. Day by day, I am learning to let self die and allow the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I did not understand the science of prayer and faith until this mission. My prayer life and faith has changed. Thank you GYC for giving me the opportunity to serve in this mission!

*ISLAND is the Icelandic spelling of Iceland.

Linet Nyaenya, Kenya
GYC Missionary to Iceland, 2019

Linet is an Advocate practicing Law in Kenya. She has a heart for mission in unentered areas under an Adventist Bible – based missionary group of young people founded in Kenya: Africans Living in View of Eternity (ALIVE-Kenya).

For additional testimonies and stories to come from this trip and others, be sure to follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter.

To attend GYC and become an active part of this worldwide movement, visit www.gycweb.org

A Call to Revival

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I have always had a special interest in working with young people at my church, but for the past few years, I have been preoccupied with work and other school-related responsibilities. I was being consumed by earthly demands to the point that I completely neglected my communion with God. This resulted in a gradual detachment from spiritual things and infrequent church attendance. I felt a tremendous void in my soul. My spirit was tormented, and I was unable to sleep at night. I soon realized that God was leading me to a higher calling, and He needed to start the preparation process. I was impressed to search for opportunities to attend a mission trip. The Holy Spirit led me to the GYC website and once I registered to receive information, I received an invitation to attend the GYC 2019 Iceland mission trip. In a miraculous way, God ensured that all requirements and necessary approvals were granted so I could attend this mission trip.

I was not prepared for what God had in store for me upon my arrival to Iceland. I learned that the main goal of this mission trip was to allow the Holy Spirit to use us to reach the people of Iceland by praying for them and delivering a message of hope through the distribution of GLOW tracts. During the United Prayer and Devotional sessions, I learned the need to daily surrender myself as a sacrificial offering on God’s altar in order to be filled with the transforming presence of the Holy Spirit. As in the day of Pentecost, we poured out our hearts to God, confessing our sins and pleading for the presence of the Holy Spirit to equip us to serve as an instrument in the work that God was about to accomplish in Iceland. We were also exposed to and encouraged to study the Bible and to view our everyday interactions in light of the great controversy that is currently taking place.  

As we engaged in the spiritual activities and walked the streets of Reykjavik, we were encouraged to pray for divine appointments and to ask the Holy Spirit to guide our words to say the right things. Every step I took, every door I knocked on, and every house I GLOWed, I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit guiding my steps and giving me the strength to continue. That void that once tormented my soul at night vanished completely and was replaced by an indescribable peace. At last, I was in one accord with my God. The love and genuine care I received from my brothers and sisters attending this mission trip was a little taste of what heaven will be like. I found the true meaning of happiness and success by doing God’s will. I never want to return to my old ways. I am in love with my savior and I must continue telling the world about His tender mercies and love for humanity. Now I understand Jesus’ commission “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14

We parted daily to the mission field by asking God to Give Us Iceland or We’ll Die.

Sayi Figueroa, USA
GYC Missionary to Iceland, 2019

Sayi Figueroa has worked as a school administrator in NYC for more than 15 years. She is also an adjunct professor at the City College of New York for the Special Education and School Leadership Department. She is committed to sharing God’s love with the students and families in the inner cities.

For additional testimonies and stories to come from this trip and others, be sure to follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter.

To attend GYC and become an active part of this worldwide movement, visit www.gycweb.org

The Budget Miracle

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“Your GYC mission trip food budget is only $7000 US dollars?” Our local Iceland mission trip contact questioned somewhat dubiously as we traipsed through an Icelandic grocery store. “I don’t know if that’s possible.” He explained that he had been involved in cooking for church retreats and other groups there many times and that it took much more money than we’d been allotted for our trip. My heart sank. But this was God’s mission! I was just here to serve, and I knew the rest would have to be up to Him, even though now it seemed like we were trying to cook for a mission trip group on an apparently too small budget.
 
Several months before, my friend Ellen had been contacted about potentially cooking for the Iceland GYC mission trip. “I’ve really been wanting to do more for God,” she confessed. “And I feel this could be an answer to prayer. But I can’t do it by myself,” she told me. “You have to come with me if I end up going!” “I’d love to help you,” I replied, “but I don’t know if it’ll be financially possible for me.” I’d quit my job almost one year before and had spent some time volunteering in Thailand since then. I didn’t have a lot of extra spending money. But I prayed that if it was God’s will for us to go that Ellen would be chosen as the cook and that it would be financially feasible for me. One month later our prayers were answered. The mission trip leadership invited Ellen to officially be the trip cook and since they were paying for her flight, she graciously paid for half of my flight. We were going!
 
“Our Iceland mission trip food budget is $7000 US dollars for 28 meals for about 50 people each,” Ellen explained. Doing some quick math, it seemed to be a doable budget at $5 per person per meal. But as we were getting ready to leave, the trip leadership informed us that a bunch of mission trip participants were coming earlier than they’d thought and we’d need to provide 3 more meals now. That’ll affect our budget I realized; that will be less than $5 per meal now.
 
Soon we found ourselves stepping out of the Reykjavik airport into blustery gusts of wind.  Our local Icelandic mission trip contact met us there to take us grocery shopping. As we began perusing the grocery store shelves struggling to identify ingredients in the Iceland language, we told our Icelandic friend about our budget amount. And that’s when he told us he wasn’t sure that was possible. My heart sank as I thought about our now seemingly impossible food budget. Of course, I wanted to do our best to stay within our given budget to help keep this mission trip affordable for everyone. So Ellen and I began to pray. We’d prayed before the trip, but now our prayers were more urgent and more specific.
 
After tallying up how much we’d spent on groceries for our first shopping trip, I estimated that yes, I thought it would be possible to stay within our $7000 food budget for the trip. But it might be tight. We’d just have to see.
 
The missionaries soon started arriving and I didn’t have hardly a second to even stop for the next 10 days as we rushed around cooking three meals a day for 50 people, as well as taking regular trips to go grocery shopping. As the receipts from all our shopping excursions began to pile up, I wondered if everything with the money would work out. But I was too busy to have time to tally up the receipts.
 
In the evenings when the rest of the group returned from their daily outreach of passing out Glow tracks and praying with people around Iceland, bursting with exciting stories of how God had led them, I sometimes felt a tinge of disappointment that I wasn’t getting to experience these blessings of seeing God working like they were. But I would remind myself that God needs people to serve in every area and he could bless us here in the kitchen too. Ellen and I continued praying that we’d stay within the budget and be a blessing there to others.
 
As the trip neared its close, we did our final Friday shopping trip before Sabbath. I added that receipt to the big stack in my wallet and felt a bit of guilt. I had literally no idea how much we’d spent on food. And while I was guessing we were not over budget I felt bad that I actually didn’t know. But I’d not had a second to spare to add things up.
 
After a blessed Sabbath of fellowship and testimonies with local believers and our mission trip participants, the trip was over: Our last meal had been cooked, the kitchen cleaned. As Ellen and I drove towards the capital city of Reykjavík on Sunday, I pulled out all the receipts. Now I finally had time to do some accounting; the moment of truth had come. What would the results be? Had we made our budget? Gone over? Hopefully maybe come under a little?
 
I typed in all the receipt dates and amounts and did some quick formulas to find out the sum. No, that total amount could not be correct! I checked my dollar amounts back to the receipts. No, they were all right. Then I checked my formulas. They looked fine too. But something was wrong; there was no way that the total amount could be accurate. Maybe something really was messed up with my formulas. So I quickly added it up manually. Same number! How was it even possible? The total amount that had been spent on groceries and food for the entire mission trip was less than $3000 US dollars! That was not even half our budget! It was not humanly possible. Our local Icelandic contact had thought that even our full budget of $7000 was probably not enough. I got goosebumps as I realized that God had worked a miracle for us, a total financial miracle! And I knew with no doubt that just as much as God had been right there with the other missionaries going door to door, that He’d also been with us, as we rushed with 6 carts of food through grocery store isles and chopped boxes of potatoes. He’d blessed us with this miracle reminder that He’s involved in every aspect of our lives, whether that’s mission work on the streets, finances, or slicing at the kitchen counter. He’d given us this special blessing to show us that He cared about our service in the kitchen, that He had answered our prayers above and beyond what we could have even imagined, and that this was His mission trip!
 
As I jumped into life back in Canada after the trip, God had one more big blessing for me. Remember how I wasn’t sure that I would be able to afford to go on this trip due to my own personal finances? Well, during the Icelandic mission trip, I’d ended up having to put one grocery bill from the trip on my own credit card. I’d sent the receipt to GYC for reimbursement. Now, a month after the trip, the cheque finally arrived in Canada. As I tore the envelope open, I stared in disbelief at the amount. That was not correct. That was way more money than I’d spent on groceries. I glanced down at the memo line: “groceries and flight” it read. As tears threatened, I realized they were reimbursing me for my flight over. My heart burst in thankfulness to God for taking such good care of me and of my finances, for answering all my prayers, and for honoring my limited efforts to serve Him in Iceland.

Alissa Dreher, Canada
GYC Missionary to Iceland, 2019

Alissa Dreher is looking for opportunities to serve God in any capacity that she can and asking God to direct her steps each day. She will soon be heading back to Asia to help support a missionary family there

For additional testimonies and stories to come from this trip and others, be sure to follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter.

To attend GYC and become an active part of this worldwide movement, visit www.gycweb.org

Faithful To The End

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When I first heard of the Iceland mission trip, I was intrigued. Not because I had the desire to pray and help bring secular Europe closer to Christ, but simply because it was Iceland. Who doesn’t want to go to Iceland? After I arrived, during our first united prayer session, I was silent and asked myself what I had gotten into. I soon diagnosed myself with imposter syndrome, because I felt that I was not nearly as good a Christian as the wonderful people I found myself surrounded with. Nonetheless, I decided I would give it my best shot.

The following evening, after our hour-long united prayer session and worship, we went out for the first time to pray for each street we walked down, each door we knocked on, and each individual we came across. Now I really contemplated what I had signed up for since it was so unlike me to go up to a house by myself and offer prayer. I prayed that God would give me the right words, for I was not worthy. I prayed that the Lord would use me despite my sins and transgressions and that none of them would come between God and the people. After a few rejections, I began to sense curiosity in people. This was what kept me going.

With practice and more fervent prayers, I began to see how powerful God was. While I was delivering GLOW one day, I happened to be assigned to a territory filled with apartments. In Iceland, most apartment complexes have a foyer where you can deliver the mail to its tenants. While I was doing this, I came across a huge complex and I was thrilled because I saw all the postboxes I was going to be able to deliver GLOW to. However, when I went to open the door, it was locked. I was flooded with disappointment because I saw all the postboxes. I tried opening each door of the building, however, it was all in vain. I buzzed a few apartments to see if they would let me in, but I received no answer. For some reason, I had the urge to keep trying, but there was nothing left to try. Finally, I resorted to the solution I should have done in the first place. I prayed that God would open the door. Shortly after, a tenant came out of the building and I stopped him offering him prayer and the GLOW. He accepted the GLOW and gave me a prayer request, but he was running late for work so he did not have time to pray with me. As he was leaving, I asked, “Could you let me in the building to deliver GLOW to the rest of the building?” I had my doubts, but he happily opened the door, allowing me to reach everyone else in that complex. This showed me just how quickly God can answer prayers!

Prayers are more powerful when we put aside all doubt and ask for the Holy Spirit, but even with our little faith God still shows his power. One day I was GLOWing and it was pouring outside. I tried to stay positive, but the cold wind and my damp clothes got in the way. I wasn’t having much success with offering prayer either, so I decided to simply GLOW the houses instead of knocking on doors that day. That way, they couldn’t reject the pamphlets and they would find it in their mail at some point. Usually I try to push through my doubts and weaknesses, however, that day I let my fear get a hold of me. Despite this, I came across this home and as I was going to put the pamphlets in their mailbox, I could hear their voices inside. I felt the need to knock, not because I had felt that they needed prayer, but because I thought it would be social suicide if I was in the middle of putting something in their postbox and they just happened to walk out. Either way, I knocked. A young adolescent couple answered and I gave them the redundant GLOW Iceland introduction and offered prayer, expecting nothing of it. To my surprise, the young man said yes with excitement and started listing things off. Once he was finished, he looked to his girlfriend, who had rejected the offer for prayer, and told me to pray for her and her family anyways. I prayed with them and let God give me the words. Once I was finished, the character of the girlfriend was transformed, and she became curious about the GLOW tracts. This encounter taught me that even with my little faith, God is all-powerful and will show his love in mercy regardless of my lack of it.

With each and every prayer session, devotional, worship, personal conversations with God and encounter with the people of Iceland, I realized that we are all sinners and we all need to ask the Lord to forgive us and use us in spite of our weaknesses, because if it was based on who was worthy to do His work, none of us would be qualified. I began to see that we can only accomplish so little, and we are in need of being willing to let go of ourselves and to be bathed in the Holy Spirit daily. “Prayer and faith will do what no power on earth can accomplish,” (509, Ministry of Healing). This mission taught me so much about how far away I was from God, how dependent I need to be on Him and the power of prayer. I was able to pray with many individuals and saw how much some of them longed for something deeper and a more meaningful life. I continue to pray that God will give us Iceland, and I hope that I can continue this mission everywhere I find myself in so that I can be used by God and spread His message to the end.

Jose Brenes, USA
GYC Missionary to Iceland, 2019

José Brenes is a freshman student at the University of Michigan currently studying pre-medicine. He grew up in the sheltered Adventist community of Berrien Springs, MI; now that he is in a new setting in the college town of Ann Arbor, he is excited to see how God can use him in a worldly environment.

For additional testimonies and stories to come from this trip and others, be sure to follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter.

To attend GYC and become an active part of this worldwide movement, visit www.gycweb.org

How I Learned to Pray

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One night, earlier this year, I was on Facebook when I saw advertising for the GYC mission trip to Iceland. I have always wanted to go to Iceland, so I clicked on it to see when the dates were. My heart sank, August 8th-18th! The busiest time of the year for me. So I went to bed and told myself to just forget about it. But as hard as I tried it wouldn’t leave my mind.

A few days later I mentioned the trip to my parents and they encouraged me to sign up. I still wasn’t ready to send in the application. I figured I would never get the time off work and get everything done in time. Little did I know that God had other plans. To make a long story short, I got the time off work and all the sponsors that I needed, my passport came in two weeks and before I could even think I was on a plane to Iceland. It’s an understatement to say that I was nervous because I was very nervous! I had never flown that far by myself to meet people and do something that I had never done before.

When I arrived in Iceland I found out that we were going to be passing out GLOW and praying with people in the towns around where we were staying. My mind started going crazy! I am not a person that just likes to knock on doors and pray with strangers. But it wasn’t like I could just go home – I was thousands of miles away. So I sent up a little prayer for help because there was no way that I could do this alone.

After the first couple of days, I really started to miss home. I started to miss my Mom the most; we are very close. I called her one night crying because I really just wanted to go home. She then asked me why and I started to tell her. Then it hit me! Was I willing to give up on the people in Iceland just because I wanted to be home? Maybe there is just one person there that needed a smile or needed me to hand them a GLOW tract and pray with them. Maybe one day they would be in heaven because of it. Was I willing to give all that up? My mom then told me that I would be okay and that I could do this.

The next day, I was in Jonathan Walter’s car and we were in our area getting ready to start the day. I then heard him say “Sarah, are you ready?” Everything inside me was screaming no, but all that would come out of my mouth was yes. As I got out of the car I was totally freaking out. I had never done anything like this by myself before and I didn’t think that I could do it. I then began to pray for peace, strength, knowledge, and to not get lost. As much as I hate to admit it, I can get lost super easy. After praying that prayer I had so much peace. A peace that I had never felt about anything!

There are many other stories that I could tell you, but I believe that this is what has made the most impact on me. On this mission trip, I learned so much about prayer. I learned that I can talk to God about every single little thing in life and that I can pray all day. I had grown up praying but before the mission trip, I would just pray to God when I needed something. Not as a true friend.

I am so thankful that God made a way for me to go on this mission trip even when I thought it wasn’t possible. He knew that it would draw me closer to Him and that it would change my life forever. Thank you so much GYC for making a difference in the lives of not just the people in Iceland but also others around the world.

Sarah Lake, USA
GYC Missionary to Iceland, 2019

Sarah Lake is the Office Manager at Horse Plus Humane Society. She has a passion for missions, horses, and her family. Sarah is active in her local church youth ministry and looks forward to serving God wherever He leads.

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To attend GYC and become an active part of this worldwide movement, visit www.gycweb.org

Bursting out of Your Comfort Zone

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The greatest places in life often exist outside our comfort zones. Have you ever witnessed a geyser bursting up into the air? Geysers are caused by boiling heat and pressure that build up and form a beautiful attraction for all to see. When God’s passion is inside, like the pressure that forms a geyser, you cannot keep it in. Coming to Iceland for the GYC mission trip this year was definitely a life-changing experience for me where I truly let go and let God burst out through me.

On a particularly cloudy day, dozens of doors were slammed in my face block after block. “Oh, Christian? God? No, thank you.” The same rejections over and over discouraged me almost to the point of giving up. I remember praying to God, “Please Lord, let this last street be different.” Right after I prayed, a religious woman opened her door and actually prayed for me! The people I met after that opened their hearts with a reception and willingness to let me pray with them. God is good. Later, I met an older lady picking berries who did not regard me much at first. She took some GLOW tracts and then I walked away. To my surprise, she followed me to the next street and asked for a few more to give to her friends.

On the final day of GLOW and prayer outreach, I set a goal of giving out 1,000 GLOW tracts. Not only did God more than double that goal, but three business allowed me to leave piles of the health tracts for their elderly clients. What a huge blessing! Acts 1:8 states, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” I ultimately pray that God will continue to take me out of my comfort zone in service for others. We all need an unexpected geyser experience. The greatest places in life often exist outside our comfort zones. However, it is in these places where we truly reach the end of ourselves in order that we might go to the end for God’s glory.

Marselinny Mawuntu, USA
GYC Missionary to Iceland, 2019

Marselinny (Elin) Mawuntu studies at Wildwood Health Institute for the medical missionary training program, studying health evangelism. She has traveled to many places within the U.S. and abroad, passionate about missions in sharing God’s love. Through His guidance and revival in her life, she is looking forward, prayerfully, to what God has in store for her next in the future.

For additional testimonies and stories to come from this trip and others, be sure to follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter.

To attend GYC and become an active part of this worldwide movement, visit www.gycweb.org

From Fear to Faith

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“GYC Mission Trip to Iceland,” read the title of the newsletter that showed up on my phone. This was ironic as I was (right then) in a foreign missions committee meeting from my church. I didn’t pay too much attention to it. No money, I thought, as I put my phone down. And I have a job, I can’t just leave. Little did I know that God wasn’t done yet with trying to convince me that He wanted me on this trip.

A few weeks later at my church a missionary spoke on foreign missions during the divine service. I had actually just walked out at the beginning of the sermon because I had something to do and ended up talking to a friend in the hallway. By the time I set foot in the sanctuary again I had missed half of the sermon. But just listening to the last part was enough for me to know that God was calling me to something very special: mission trips. I stayed after the service to pray with a small prayer group that got together every week and I asked God for wisdom about the Iceland trip.

As soon as I came home from church, I signed up. But not without a serious talk between me and God. You see, I would never go door-knocking when my church would do so. And they do it at least once a month, mind you. It’s just not something that I felt comfortable with. Well, comfortable is probably an understatement. It freaks me out, gives me anxiety, and makes my heart jump out of my chest. That’s a better way to describe my relationship with that type of evangelism. I am a cinematographer, photographer, and copywriter by trade, that’s how I do ministry. I am not someone who wants to be on the front lines knocking on doors. But sometimes you have to be radical for God. Sometimes He calls you somewhere and you have no idea why. Sometimes He calls you out of your comfort zone because He knows that that’s exactly where He needs you to be. Call me crazy, but I signed up. As soon as my thumb tapped confirm, all I could think of was: what in the world have I done? Yet I had a sense of peace, knowing that I was doing the right thing, that I was exactly where God wanted me to be.

The first day of the mission trip arrived and I was in the van on my way to knock on my first door. My heart was racing, my blood flooding my cheeks. I looked at my sheet with instructions over and over again, trying to memorize every single word that I had to say in case someone opened the door. I was the last one of my group to be dropped off. “Blessings”, the Aussie driver, Tim, said as I hopped off the van. His words became an audible blur to me, a faint whisper that was overcome by the sound of my throbbing heart as I set one foot in front of the other towards my first house. I rang the doorbell. No one opened. I left some Glow tracts in the mailbox. The next few houses were just as desolate as the first one. I secretly hoped that this would be the case for every single one of them. I could handle putting Glow tracts in mailboxes. If someone would come to the door I would just walk away as fast as I could, pretending that nothing had happened. Maybe they’d think those tracts had magically showed up on their doormat, or some alien had left it there as a message from heaven, calling them to repentance.

But then I heard the sound of footsteps and the squeak of a door. I looked into the eyes of an Icelandic local, me trying to smile as if it were possible to hide my nerves. With all the energy that my body could come up with, I pitched my invitation to prayer (probably sounding like a complete robot with how well I had memorized the lines) while wondering if he could detect the tremor in my voice. “No, thank you,” echoed his voice. There, he said it. My first rejection with many more to come. “That’s ok, here’s something to brighten your day.” At least he took the Glow tracts. And he hadn’t slammed the door in my face either the way I had expected everyone to. Off to the next door I went.

I only knocked on doors for one day and put Glow tracts in people’s mailboxes one other day. GYC needed my skills as a cinematographer and photographer to shoot some video and photos for them. It was a sense of relief yet at the same time a disappointment. I came on this trip because I wanted to overcome my fear and discomfort of knocking on doors. I wanted to see God use me despite my anxiety, weakness, and inexperience with any type of outreach like this. But then my mindset changed. God was able to use me in door knocking. He had given me two full days to turn my weakness into His strength. But the other days He needed me to do something nobody else in that group could do, which was to use media to reach future potential missionaries with the story of surrendering all on a mission trip.

Did I ever overcome my fear of knocking on doors? Not entirely. I’m still nervous just thinking about it and I’m sure when I do it again my heart will still plead with me to drop those Glow tracts right then and run away, so as to avoid a full-blown heart attack. But that’s the detail I want you to notice: “When I do it again.” Because I will do it again. Next time my church goes door knocking, I will be there. Heart attack or not, I know that God will be there to keep it in place, rejection after rejection, but also seed after seed that is planted, even if it seems unlikely. Even if no one seems interested, there will be seeds planted, despite my weakness and fear. If God can use a simple soul like me, what is preventing you from being used by Him too?

Danique Tersmette, USA
GYC Missionary to Iceland, 2019

Danique works as a cinematographer, photographer, and copywriter. She is passionate about sharing the gospel through media.

For additional testimonies and stories to come from this trip and others, be sure to follow us on social media or subscribe to our newsletter.

To attend GYC and become an active part of this worldwide movement, visit www.gycweb.org