In July 2004, a work for young people was commenced in Ploieşti, in fellowship with the assembly there, which can be broadly divided into the following three aspects:
A meeting is held every second Saturday afternoon for the purpose of giving consecutive Bible teaching, usually on some fundamental Bible truth or topic relevant to issues young people face. Over the years, an average of 20-30 have attended each meeting. There is a wide range of ages, from about 10 to 30, but the majority are in their teens. Most of those who come are from Ploieşti and the surrounding area and are from families with an assembly background. However, there have also been some who have no Christian background, as well as others who attend a Christian denomination. To God be all the glory for all who have come to Christ for salvation and have subsequently been baptized and added to the fellowship of the assembly in their respective locality.
A summer camp has been held each year, which has provided additional opportunities for Bible study. The camp is not only for young people, but for adults as well. It was held this year at the end of August and was a time of blessing. There was a good spirit of unity among the young people and an encouraging interest in the Word of God was shown. Each day Robert Beckett did a study on the book of Ruth for the young people, while Daniel Enea spoke to the adults throughout the week on the subject of suffering. I was responsible for the evening studies with the young people and spoke on young people in Scripture who overcame their disadvantages. May the Lord be glorified through fruit borne in the lives of those who heard the Word and responded positively.
An integral part of the work has been an interest and care shown on a personal level. Not all are open enough for this, but while there are those who approach freely to share personal matters or seek help, others respond positively to being approached and receiving a genuine loving interest in their well-being, spiritual and otherwise. The needs are varied, with some just needing the encouragement of knowing that someone cares for them, understands them, and upholds them in prayer. Practical and spiritual guidance is often given on this personal level concerning decisions that need to be made and personal issues that require counsel. Contact is maintained either by E-mail, telephone, visitation, or conversations after meetings or at camp (sometimes it can be a combination of all four). A lot of time and effort is required for this, but it is what the Lord has laid deeply on my heart and is carried out with joy.
In connection with these aspects of the work, I would like to share the following things:
Joys – Many have been touched by the grace of God and have come to the knowledge of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. It is wonderful to see lives yielded to the Lord in youth. It is also a cause of rejoicing to see some young believers taking their Christianity seriously and responding positively to the Word of God. It is thrilling when a real desire for spiritual things is manifested and there is an exercise to serve the Lord in whatever way He opens up. Such fruit is what the Lord is after and there is much joy in having part in it and in knowing that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ is thus glorified.
Disappointments – One of the biggest of these is seeing those who started well and promised much, but eventually have not gone on well for the Lord or have gone to be part of the denominations, in spite of all the teaching they have received. There is a great need for young men and women who are devoted to the Lord and have a heart conviction concerning His truth, serving Him in the local assembly where He would have them to be. In the light of this, it is obviously disappointing when spiritual potential is quenched or directed into wrong channels. A similar experience is when much time and love has been poured into lives which finally yield little or no spiritual fruit. There is no regret whatsoever for the investment made in these lives, but there is disappointment when the Lord does not receive the fruit He desires as a result of such investment.
Challenges – A major issue arises often for those who have been raised in a Christian home and are familiar with the gatherings of the local assembly. In such cases there is often a need to differentiate between a mental assent to what they know is true and an inner work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about the new birth. It can be a major challenge to seriously clarify this key issue. As well as this, all the young people face the challenge of overcoming the world and standing firm in the face of the many and varied temptations that come their way at this particular period of their lives. It becomes increasingly evident that only a deep work of grace will suffice for this.
Needs – Only the power of the Holy Spirit can work in hearts and lives in such a way as to bring forth much fruit for the glory of God. Dependence on Him is therefore vital and is a need deeply felt. Spiritual growth and consistency is necessary in those who are the Lord’s, that they may go on to truly live for Him and serve Him. Above all, prayer is required for the Lord’s workings in the lives of these young people. Prayer is essential because much grace, wisdom, help, and enabling is required for all the above mentioned labors among them. I close this article with an earnest request for such prayer.