N17 wrap up, but more to come

September 3, 2017

Dear New Hope,

The N17 team is BACK from our time in Windhoek, having had an incredible experience of seeing God powerfully work in the lives of the Agape Youth kids, and among our missionary partners serving there so faithfully.

To be sure, we are still in the midst of processing our time there, and will be doing so for some time to come.  We will be meeting several times in the coming months to debrief, and have plans to share stories from our experience with you all, our broader New Hope body.  Stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, here are some preliminary thoughts from the team members on ways in which we saw God work, places we were stretched, and specific areas that you can join us in praying for God’s continued working through the faithful service of the We Love Africa Foundation and it’s teen-focused ministry, Agape Youth.

Ways we saw God at work:

  • From year to year, real, visible, heart and life change in the Agape Youth group.  Joy and happiness in children that did not make sense given their life situation, injustice and abuse.
  • I saw the Lord pierce the hearts of young people with conviction and I saw him strengthening the faith and resolve of his Namibian children — our young brothers and sisters in Christ.
  • In the powerful forward movement of the Gospel against oppositional undercurrent of false teaching, fatherlessness, and tribal disunity.
  • No matter what tribe, what poverty, what abandonment & abuse the youth identified themselves with, once the power of the Gospel preached by Steve transformed their hearts, they were filled with deep repentance & true joy they had never known.
  • Witnessing the richness of true joy and hope stemming from the impact of the gospel in the lives of the youth.
  • In the softening of hearts (my own included!) and in the forming of friendships that will, Lord-willing, last into eternity for His glory

How we were stretched:

  • Fully trusting in God and in sufficiency of prayer when things went wrong or were not going well.
  • The needs of the Agape Youth members are manifold, and their experiences are different from mine in so many ways. So I was deeply challenged to lean on the power of the Holy Spirit to serve them. Thankfully, the Spirit works through weak instruments, and God’s Word is powerful and effective, regardless of cultural differences. I’m convinced of this now more than ever.
  • In this third year, I felt God asking me to be genuine with the children in ways that I had not been in previous years.  This was tough.  The novelty of knowing someone for past two years had to mature into deeper understanding and engagement.  I felt God pushing me to use all that God has done in my life & surrender my agenda and pride.  This wasn’t easy for someone who is so task-oriented.  It was hard to let-go of my agenda of getting to know every single kid in my group deeply.  But when I did, God answered and directed me according to His will.
  • Fighting off physical sickness. I would have been regretful if I let it affect me and did not give my all.
  • Trusting God to enable connections to form within my group, when I don’t feel like youth ministry is a particular strength; the risk of reaching out in love to cross barriers and meet people as Jesus did – where they were at – and feeling quite inadequate to the task if relying on my own strength and wisdom

Area for which we are committed to pray:

  • Long term health for a very powerful ministry that is creating a youth movement in the poorest children in Windhoek, Namibia.
  • More laborers for the harvest! The Hongs and Jen need more people to come alongside them and help in the short term and over the long haul.
  • All the saints serving Agape Youth: Steven & Seo Yeon Hong, Jennifer Chon, who pour out all that they have and then some.
  • All the saints serving We Love Africa: Sr. Park family, Jr. Park family, Kim family who often work without much needed encouragement and man-power to carry out the arduous tasks of ministry of Kings Kids & frontier missions of the Himba Tribe.
  • That the team will effectively share and report on what is happening and what the future vision of this ministry is, and in result garnering even more support and awareness from the church.
  • For continued unity, encouragement, and growth in God’s Spirit among our brothers and sisters serving tirelessly in Windhoek, with incredible long-term vision and Christ-like, faithful servant-hood: Steve & Seoyeon Hong, Jen Chon, the Kim family, and the two Park families.
  • For growth and maturity of faith among the teens of Agape Youth, and especially that God would continue to raise up leaders from among them to shape this beautiful youth movement for His glory and their great gladness!