Do you know that over the last few years, teenagers aged 15 to 17 have had the opportunity to participate in a missionary project here in Québec? Once reserved to those aged 18 and over, Mouvement Jeunesse (formerly called JBEQ) recently created at new project aimed specifically at teenagers wanting to take part in a short-term mission experience.
When Sylvio Janelle, pastor of Église Baptiste Évangélique de St-Georges, heard about Mouvement Jeunesse ado for the first time, he was on board. His church already believed in this ministry as they were already sending their youth to Mission Jeunesse été as well as receiving help from teams during their summer project J’aime mon voisin. Pastor Janelle shared this idea with his energetic youth leader Jean-Philippe Doyon, who lost no time in contacting Dominick King, youth pastor at Église Le Sentier in Gatineau. What a “coincidence”: Dominick was currently looking for a Church to partner with for this project.
And so, summer 2018 was the start of a collaboration between two youth groups and the fruits that God produced were so encouraging that the 2019 edition has been planned with great anticipation. Both congregations praise God for what he has done in their youth groups through this project.
Here are 3 blessings they want to celebrate:
1. Many teenagers are taking part in an enriching missionary experience
There were around twenty teenagers, ready and willing to dedicate two weeks to learn hands-on mission work. Two weeks of tangible service, helping people in need, and showing God’s love in action. What an encouragement for Churches to see youth wanting to give an not receive! Even better, their involvement benefits them as well.
A few teenagers, having tasted the joy of service, returned home with the intention of getting involved in their congregation. Others, mostly from St-Georges, will participate next year in a mission trip or will work in christian summer camps. They no longer want to sit with their arms crossed, but act as disciples of Jesus, committed to giving their time to further the Gospel.
They no longer want to sit with their arms crossed, but act as disciples of Jesus, committed to giving their time to further the Gospel.
2. The youth’s faith grows and is strengthened
A young girl who participated in the project told her youth leader how much she had benefited from meeting young christians from other Churches. She shared she had understood the meaning of baptism through spiritual discussions with others. What joy ensued when she announced her desire to be baptized! Youth leaders were amazed to see the teenagers encouraging and motivating each other to follow Jesus and obey him.
They also were able to see hearts being transformed within many teenagers. According to Dominick, many of the youth came from christian families where they lived in a bubble and thought the “outside world” was different and to be avoided. But this viewpoint was changed as they were exposed to the realities of the people they were helping, their suffering, their needs, and how much they needed Jesus’s love as much as the youth did. Shortly after, the youth pastor noticed that they seemed to better understand his teaching on grace and the importance of loving your neighbor, because they had connected with others and their suffering.
3. The next generation is trained
“Too often, we are in the heat of the moment. Our desire is to train tomorrow’s leaders; this is a wonderful and relatively easy way to do so!”
says the pastor of St-Georges. During the project, youth are given training in which they learn to share and understand the Gospel in addition to discerning their missional identity. They make new friendships, develop leadership, serve and assist local Churches, discover the realities of urban and regional life, and unearth their love for Québec.
Teenagers who participated benefited from the constant presence of youth leaders who invested in their lives and were able to get to know them better, something which can be more difficult in the context of regular youth meetings.
Collaboration between the two Churches also benefited the youth leaders who were blessed by working together and learnt much from each other. “Jean-Philippe is a zealous man; he has been a source of inspiration and motivation for me”, says Dominick.
A call to everyone
We see this cleary: God is working in Québec’s youth. Mr. Janelle and Mr. King had front row seats and hope that many more Churches will embrace this project and experience the blessings that will flow. They are calling out to Québec’s Churches to consider sending one or many from their congregation (leaders and youth) to join them this year. Everyone is more than welcome to come for a few days or for the entire project!
Let us pray for Québec and particularly for these teenagers who wants to live for Jesus!