Our last full day of National Youth Gathering began with breakfast and a walk to the conference center for Bible study. The Bible study wrestled with the previous night’s topic of humility, reiterating the points covered in the mass event and digging deeper into what it means to be humble. Many of the youth found this study to be especially relevant to them and really enjoyed it.
In the middle of the study a girl near us had a medical emergency and needed to be taken by medics to a nearby hospital. The Bible study leaders did a terrific job of keeping everyone else focused on the study, despite what was going on around us. Please keep her and her youth group in your prayers.
After Bible study we took some group photos before the youth proceeded to their interest centers and other events, which included: going to an illusionist, an improv group, and “The devil’s playground.”
Following the day's activities, we ate dinner and walked to the Superdome for the mass event. The theme of the night was “Community in Christ Alone.” In general, the different speakers/skits highlighted that God forms the body of Christ using unique individuals throughout time and space, which are brought together like puzzle pieces that form a whole. The different speakers/skits included:
- “The 2016 Youth Group Draft”: A parody skit of sports drafts in which youth groups pick the best individuals for a youth group. The skit juxtaposed how world forms community — by picking the best people they can find — and how Christ forms community, which involves calling the broken, the needy, and the hurting.
- An international food tasting by the emcees, which included food from Canada, Germany, and Guatemala. Some of the foods producing the biggest “ewws” from the crowd included a Canadian dish made with fried pork fat, a German dish made with pork fat and pork blood, and Guatemalan snail soup. The most amusing reaction from the emcees was for a simple Guatemalan turkey soup…that contained ghost peppers. The unfortunate recipient naturally freaked out due to the spice and asked for water. In response another emcee slipped them more soup causing the crowd to burst into further laughter.
- A missionary to and a convert from the Czech Republic who talked about how God brought together an American missionary and a Czech youth through an ESL class, which lead to the youth coming to Christ and the start of a blossoming community of Christ.
- A time recalling those who attended the last youth gathering but have since passed away. During this time a trumpet player played "Amazing Grace" while a slideshow showed pictures of the deceased. It was a moving tribute reminding us that we are connected through time and space to the whole body of Christ.
- And a speaker who talked about the unique call of the church to forgive those who have sinned against us and to bring Christ’s light into a dark world. This speaker was one of the youth’s favorites of the weeks. To finish his talk and the evening we “kicked it old school (meaning when you were three years old)” and sang a gospel version of “This Little Light of Mine,” which got the whole crowd clapping and dancing.
After all the skits/speakers we were left with a question to discuss: how is community in Christ different from any other community? This question brings in the various points of the night with the answers being that Christian community:
1. Is made of rejects and broken individuals who are redeemed by the death and resurrection of Christ.
2. Transcends time and space and is eternal.
3. Bridges all boundaries including race, nationality, ethnicity, and social status.
4. Is founded on forgiving each other as Christ has forgiven us. Even when others commit terrible sins against us, we are to forgive them.
5. Seeks to shine light into the dark places of the world, even when doing so leads to poverty, persecution, imprisonment, and even death.
After the mass event, we walked back to the hotel, discussed the evening’s question and then crashed as we had to wake up early to get back to the Superdome to attend closing mass.
Please keep us in your prayers! Specific prayer requests/praises for Weds are:
Praise and Thanksgiving
- The excellent work of the New Orleans P.D. and other local organizations.
- The tireless efforts of the volunteers to help make this experience great
- A day of fruitful time in scripture and worship, despite our exhaustion.
- Praise for all that God is accomplishing in the youth through there time here at the Gathering.
- Healing and safety for the youth who suffered a medical emergency during Bible study.
- Safe travel for all those leaving the gathering in the next several days.
- Comfort and peace for the friends and families of the police officers attacked in Baton Rouge, LA.
- Safety for all law enforcement, especially those protecting us this week.