March 3, 2018
Saturday Youth Activities
The opening weekend of Portland special meetings was designated as a youth weekend, including a youth service on Friday evening and a full day of activities the following day. The first item on the agenda for Saturday was breakfast at the Fellowship Lodge, with breakfast burritos, mixed fruit, and cinnamon rolls on the menu. Once everyone’s appetite was satisfied, the plates were cleared and teams of young people participated in a short challenge to construct towers using only sheets of paper and tape. It was remarkable to see what tall towers were constructed in just a few minutes!
Following this, the group moved to a seating area to sing a few worship songs and then listen to a devotional from Terrance Scott (pictured above), who was visiting from Seattle, Washington. He spoke about relationships, and specifically about the relationship between an individual and God. It is commonly known that any good relationship requires communication, and Brother Terrance said this applies to one’s relationship with God as well. Without communication, a relationship withers, and you can tell your relationship with God is withering if you find you are just going through the motions at church, or if you are always eager to leave church to go somewhere else. God’s main communication with mankind is the Bible, and if we have a love of His Word, it will keep our relationship with Him strong. In addition to finding instruction in God’s Word, Brother Terrence emphasized that the Bible is a great affirmation of God’s love for us. To help illustrate that point, a video titled “Father’s Love Letter” was shown, which depicted dozens of verses that declare God’s love and care for humanity. The devotional concluded with encouragement to value God’s Word above all things and to obey it, because then it will be a refuge to us and a source of blessing for ourselves and those around us.
After a time of prayer, some of the young people drove out to Vancouver, Washington, to spend the afternoon playing laser tag and others made their own plans. Everyone returned at 6:00 p.m. for a dinner of pulled pork sandwiches and more fellowship. Several people participated in a skit that showed individuals carrying burdens with labels such as “lost” and “selfish.” Someone who portrayed Jesus ripped away the burdens and replaced them with the labels “found” and “servant,” demonstrating the powerful transformation God can make in one’s life.
The highlight of the evening was the time for testimonies. Several of the young people shared how God has helped them, and then Brother Terrance and his wife, Meisha, shared an extended version of their testimonies. Sister Meisha spoke first, telling how she grew up in the projects with almost no parental supervision. As a child she was violated and taken advantage of, to the point that she felt there was a curse on her life. By age sixteen she had two daughters and thought she might become a prostitute, but one day at a bus stop, someone gave her an invitation to church. She attended a Sunday service and went forward at the alter call to pray, and the Lord saved her! Over time the Lord healed her wounded heart, gave her a loving family, and provided her a job at the Christian organization World Vision. She encouraged the young people to seek God first regardless of challenges because He has good plans for each one.
Brother Terrance’s testimony was quite different than Sister Meisha’s because he was raised in a Christian home and was taught the right way to live. However, as a young man his family went through difficult times, and he decided to turn away from the Lord. He started selling drugs in an attempt to get out of poverty, but this led him to dangerous situations and eventually he was arrested and imprisoned. After his girlfriend (Meisha) was saved, she kicked him out of their home and invited him to church. Eventually he did go to church, where the Lord dealt with his heart. He realized that giving your life to God is not an act of weakness, but an act which takes boldness and courage. He repented and was saved that day, and even though he felt unworthy to return to his church family, they welcomed him and God made him feel right at home. Brother Terrance ended by saying that being a Christian is not about acting holy; it is having a relationship with God and letting Him guide your decisions, not worrying what others will think. When we surrender completely to God, He will be glorified in our lives and we will have nothing to be ashamed of.
It was a blessing and encouragement to have the Scott family visit and share their testimonies. Following their inspiring and challenging words, the evening closed with a time of prayer.