The call of every Christian is to be a missionary disciple. To be a disciple of Jesus is to be a talmid, someone who learns and listens. Most of all, it means that we develop an intimate relationship with Jesus in prayer and grow in holiness. He wants to work in us and also through us.
“In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples… The new evangelisation calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptised. Every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelisation. Every Christian is a missionary to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus: we no longer say that we are ‘disciples’ and ‘missionaries’, but rather that we are always ‘missionary disciples’”
(Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, pgh 120).
Youth Fellowship, now in its 27th year, has had the privilege to share the love and truth of God with many people throughout these years. Besides our ongoing Saturday meetings, courses like SEVEN, SEVENTY-TWO and 5K, retreats and so on, the organisation is responsible also for other missions and outreaches.
Two of these are ACTS and Living Waters where groups of young people focus on missionary discipleship for a given period of time.
ACTS (Announcing Christ to Schools) has just come to end of yet another year. The teams have visited hundreds of secondary schools in Malta and abroad and put up programmes for the students which help them grasp the Good News in a language they can relate to and understand. For those who wish, they can attend the ongoing ACTS Teens Friday meetings.
Living Waters is a team which carries out missionary work in Ethiopia. The team’s projects include funding housing, kindergarten schools, water projects, child-sponsoring and most recently evangelisation programmes and weekend youth formation events.
Here are two testimonies from members of ACTS and Living Water.
There are no words to express how grateful and honoured I am to have been part of ACTS team now having just completed its 13th year. My decision to join the Team however was very tough because I had to quit a a job I loved after 7 years. I must admit that at first some close relatives and friends did not agree with my resolve to embark on this adventure but I still took the challenge.
During my time in ACTS I had various roles but one of the most exciting was the planning, preparation and carrying out of the one-day programme for the students, which we proudly called our “baby” since we ourselves put it together from scratch. Seeing the response of the students to the love of God brought great joy to our hearts despite the fact that the day could be long and sometimes tiring. A good number now attend our Friday Acts Teens meetings.
Living in community for all these months was also a tremendous opportunity to grow in various aspects. We stared our day in front of the Lord, praying and encouraging each other and growing spiritually together. Of course there were times of struggle, especially financially, but the Lord was always faithful to me in His providence. I would go in front of my Heavenly Father and ask Him to take care of me, and sure enough, He always did! Not only, but I thank Him that I was provided with a new job on the very next day that I finished ACTS. I found that God was faithful to His promise when He told us “Seek first the kingdom of God and anything else will be given to you.” (Matthew 6:33)
Ethiopia Mission – May 2014
This year, besides visiting for 5 weeks between July and August, the Living Waters Mission Team was invited to hold special programmes for youths in two separate areas: Bonga and Arramo, in the week leading to Pentecost Sunday, on June 8th. The team included six members, four of whom visited Ethiopia for their first time!
Our first day was spent in the capital, Addis Ababa, where we were welcomed by a Maltese nun who has been running a school and orphanage for over 45 years. During our first few hours in Ethiopia, we already experienced the first glimpses of life in this country. The streets of the capital are chaotic and filled with people who seem miserable. Here is the place where many people from all over Ethiopia come in the hope of a better future but regrettably end up begging on the streets.
The new members also had their first encounter with the children, who seem to be all over the country. In this case they were the talkative, clingy children residing at the orphanage beneath our rooms. However, expect to come across children everywhere, even in the midst of dense jungles where we sometimes stop to stretch our legs during our long, long trips. Even there you still find children peeping out of bushes or plucking up the courage to come up to our van asking for birr (Ethiopian currency), or Highland (Ethiopian bottled water). I am always amused by their cheeky little faces.
Leaving Addis behind, we headed for Bonga, an area where the team had completed several projects during its first years. One hour outside the outskirts of the gloomy capital, we were all mesmerised by the stretch of beautiful green landscape. Having arrived at our first destination some nine hours later, we were all happy to settle in our compound. We soon met the priests who serve in this vicariate, all of whom treated us like family and went out of their way to make us feel as comfortable as possible. Besides the priests, each compound has a number of workers and helpers who soon befriended us and helped out with anything we need.
On the second day we started what was to become a marathon of adventures and project-seeing. Together we visited most of the villages – sometimes requiring a four-hour mule ride – and reported on the condition of projects; from grinding mills, to schools and water projects. When one considers the limitations imposed by lack of transport, skills and funds, we were glad to see that most projects weathered the damages caused over time. Sunburnt and slightly bruised, we were never deterred from praying and sharing our views on the days’ events. Accompanied by guitar and a good supply of our favourite songs, we gave thanks and praise every evening…much needed fuel for the next day’s evangelisation programme.