October 27th-29th was a highly anticipated weekend by our young people in the Scottish Mission as many of them were looking forward to the annual Youth Retreat in Glenshee.
Despite the unexpected cancellation due to heavy rain, road closures, and a power outage at the retreat venue on Friday night, the enthusiasm of the youth remained undiminished. On October 28th, they convened at the Edinburgh Church for a Youth Day of Fellowship instead. The theme for the day centred around "Thriving or Surviving."
Almost 80 young people aged 16+ joined the day event featuring Pastor Anthony Fuller as the keynote speaker, who, up until very recently held the position of the Youth Director for the South England Conference.
In his morning message, “God and You”, Pastor Anthony used the story of Joshua to inspire the young audience. He highlighted the direct communication between the Lord and Joshua, urging the youth to set aside time each day for prayer and the study of God's Word to help them develop a deeper connection with their Creator and enable them to discern His guidance in their lives. As Pastor Anthony concluded his message, he invited the young individuals to engage in a moment of prayer.
The morning proceeded with a testimonial account highlighting God's faithfulness to those who faithfully observe the Sabbath by refraining from taking exams scheduled on this day. The second testimony centred on God's grace during moments of mental health challenges, drawing comfort from the words of the Psalmist reminding us of God’s past guidance and blessings. This encouragement served as a reminder to keep our focus on God rather than our circumstances.
Beverley Anderson, The SM Prayer Ministries Sponsor, presented a message about our need to ask God to give us a stronger desire for prayer when we feel that this is lacking. She invited those present to engage in a 7-day challenge, praying before bedtime and asking God to wake them up in the morning for personal moments of prayer. Beverley shared her own experiences of God answering this prayer by awakening her well before her alarm would sound. She emphasised how these prayerful moments had been a significant blessing, deepening her personal relationship with God.
In Pastor Anthony's second message, titled "You and Others," he addressed the challenges of loving those in our midst and highlighted the fact that to achieve this we must first love God and for us to do so we must understand how much God loves us. Pastor Anthony illustrated that to know about God is not the same as knowing Him and our relationship with God should be so intimate that our immediate instinct would be to turn to Him for guidance, comfort, and protection.
The Praise and Worship Team led those present in singing many inspiring musical items. The theme song was “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord” which evidenced the desire of the young people to experience God more personally.
Prior to Pastor Anthony's concluding message, the youth participated in an interactive exercise. They were divided into teams, each tasked with presenting to the audience compelling reasons for choosing God. Some of the responses included the notions that worshipping God brings happiness, fosters a healthier life, nurtures positive relationships, leads to victories, and encompasses love.
In Pastor Anthony's third message, titled "You and Purpose," he inspired the young audience to embrace strength and courage, acknowledging that these qualities stem from an awareness of the Lord's presence with them. He emphasised that it's in our weaknesses that God's power is most evident, motivating the youth to answer their unique callings while placing their trust in God as their ultimate source of strength.
During the concluding session, Elder Owen Anderson delivered an informative presentation on financial abundance, providing insightful tips on how to be financially wise. He highlighted the guidance provided in the Bible in matters of finance and shared a personal testimony from his youth, when as a young person seeking employment, he fully surrendered to God's guidance, praying, " I will go Lord wherever you want me to go, and do whatever You want me to do". He testified to God's unwavering guidance and blessings throughout the years.
All attendees relished the meals prepared by Oy’Nishh and Edward, with support from the Edinburgh Church members, for both lunch and dinner. The food was not only delicious but also abundant.
Cokine Kayya, Paisley Church Youth Leader, shared that he found the messages thought-provoking because they made him reassess his relationship with God. Cokine said that he also enjoyed the finance seminar where he learned how to be money smart.
Hilton Moore from Dundee Church expressed that the timely messages encapsulated in the illustrations and Pr. Anthony’s personal experiences impacted on the youth present. These messages reminded him that a form of godliness must be put aside and knowing God and His voice is the most important component to our Christian walk. Hilton also added that we must demonstrate love as it is at the core of salvation not just for us as individuals but for all those who we come into contact with.
Benjamin Bakina, Glasgow Church Youth Leader, reflecting on the event, said “We often look in the mirror, and ask ourselves “What’s wrong, how can I get better?”, and that leads us to question ourselves and doubt our own abilities. We see others seemingly prospering, and wonder “Why not me?”. These are questions I have asked myself on numerous occasions. And it always felt as if God was not listening - that is until Pastor Anthony Fuller came to preach in Scotland. I went in with my mind racing at 200mph and came out with a peace that I had not felt for a long time. Through Pastor Fuller, God spoke to me and reminded me that ‘my season will come’ - but in the meantime, he is waiting for me, with an outstretched hand, to accept his offer to be friends. Not just any friends, but best friends. God spoke to me on that day, and the message prepared by Pastor Fuller has given me hope and peace. And I am sure that others were touched as well. They say that all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord. And this was a perfect example of Gods goodness!
The Scottish Mission Youth Department, under the leadership of Pastor Claudiu Popescu, continues to seek God’s vision for the young people in Scotland aiming to provide opportunities for them to form meaningful and authentic relationships, to experience a deeper understanding of faith and to enlarge their territory for service to others.