Call to be bold, assured sons and daughters of God
Several young people who attended the Mighty Youth Conference (MYC) in East London last week lost no time implementing the conference theme of equipping young people to become actively part of the mission of God.
According to Tiaan van Wyk, one of the organisers of the MYC, a 13-year-old who went on holiday with his parents after the conference to visit his grandmother in a small rural town ventured into the streets to knock on doors, ask residents whether they know Jesus, and read to them from the Bible. “Another young boy was determined to introduce his parents to Jesus, like he was introduced to Him at MYC,” says Van Wyk, a youth leader at the AFM Spirit and Life Church, which hosted part of the MYC.
“Our theme was equipping young people to become actively part of ‘The Mission of God’ and without communicating with us or each other the speakers all presented aspects of sonship. The golden thread running through their talks was of the youth knowing who they are as children of God in Christ, and being bold in that knowledge.
Faithfulness to God’s call
“There was a strong message of the need to be faithful in what God wants us to do, which will lead to an inheritance for us,” says Van Wyk.
He says about 200 young people camped at the MYC site for the four-day event, exceeding the organising committee’s expectations. Even cold, rainy and blustery weather did not discourage the young people who camped at the conference venue.
Van Wyk says all the glory for the conference goes to God who made sure that everything ran smoothly even though some of the organisation and planning was inadequate, being a first time event.
“The blessings we received from the conference and the success of the event was in no way due to the organising committee, because some of the things that were planned so badly turned out so brilliantly, which is due to Lord God.”
Although Van Wyk says he has been involved with far bigger youth camps, he has not experienced the inspiration, encouragement and empathy that was evident at MYC. “On a personal note my heart was definitely softened by the Lord through the relationships that I established and conversations I shared with many of the youth that attended the conference.
“We were also blessed with awesome praise and worship thanks to Pieter McKarthy and the youth team who were mostly between the ages of 14 and 18 and had been practicing for months.
“However, the band only met Pieter the day before the MYC and then he just changed everything, which first created immense uncertainty among band members, as they had only practiced certain songs, but Pieter was so led by the Spirit that everyone followed freely.
“God just brought the praise and worship team together, they grew in unity. The worship was just amazing and for most people it was the highlight of the MYC,” says Tiaan.
MYC concept set to ‘expand’
Worship leader Pieter McKarthy, who has led worship at multi-cultural events all over South Africa and the world, believes the concept of the Mighty Youth Conference is going to increase and expand. “We believe that South Africa is on the cusp of something extraordinary in terms of revival. We want to manifest the presence of God, the power of God, and the passion of God through our worship at these events,” says McKarthy. He is excited by the worship leadership potential experienced at MYC. “The future is amazing; the quality of worship leadership that I experienced at the conference shocked me. I think we are going to have an international worship leader soon from the Eastern Cape.” McKarthy not only made himself available for the next MYC but is keen to return to East London to hold a weekend camp for worships teams.
According to Nathan van der Merwe, a youth pastor at the Seaside Family Church in Gonubie, whom God gave a vision to organise the Mighty Youth Conference in East London, one of the most memorable occasions at the conference was sitting quietly and speaking with Johnny Louw, who led two sessions. However, within minutes a group of about 60 young people had joined the group and were all listening intently. “On the first night of the conference when Johnny Louw led the session about half the youth present stood up at the alter call and gave their lives to Jesus,” says Van der Merwe. He says another pleasing aspect was that the MYC in East London attracted youth from all over the Eastern Cape and across South Africa including Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
Van der Merwe says God worked with the youth at MYC removing much of the unnecessary baggage that was evident at the start of the conference, replacing it with smiles by the end of the event.
However, testimonies from some of the youth that attended the conference best tell of the MYC experience.
Hunger for Jesus
Alicia Bartie, a worship team member wrote: “How do I begin describing what this week at the Mighty Youth Conference meant to me. “As the youths were entering the church I felt that their hearts were empty and that they had a hunger in their hearts for Jesus, so did I.”
Alicia says the worship team was privileged in praising and worshiping with Pieter McKarthy – “what an awesome experience man”!
“We had our first praise and worship session during the evening and let me tell you, God worked in such marvelous ways.
“We had the youth dancing and singing like I’ve never seen before!! Our first ministry session was led by Johnny Louw (Oom Louw’tjie) and it was POWERFUL. Children were weeping and falling down on their hands and knees as the Holy Spirit touched their hearts. Oom Louw’tjie gave such great messages and I learnt a lot!!
According to Alicia, because it was freezing cold many of the youth ended up sleeping in the church, instead of outside in their tents. “Still we had a blast. There were many awesome workshops held during the day, in- and outside the church, which offered great lessons! ( Archery, Dancing, aviation, and craft). “We had sessions every morning and evening with great speakers ( Johnny Louw, Arno de Bruin, Stefan Hugo, Schalk Steyn, Dion Phiffner, Robbie Black) Adele Phiffner delivered a great message to the girls about our purposes.
“So to speak of purposes, I’ve been searching for my purpose for a few years and thanks to this week and prophesies, I finally found it!”
Alicia says she met tons of new friends and had the privilege of building relationships with others. “I’ve learnt that you are never too young to do anything or JUST a boy or JUST a girl, God gives you the power to do ANYTHING, He breaks the chains and sets you FREE !!
“Healing took place right in front of my eyes like I’ve never seen before!”
“Thanks to the committee and food stalls for all their hard work; thanks to mommy and daddy for offering your time, effort and petrol money to all the band practices and meetings, we love you. Especially thanks to God who planted the dream in Nathan’s head a few years ago.
“And thank you Nathan and Tiaan for taking that dream and making it a reality, giving us as youth the chance of connecting with God, having Him in our hearts, always, so that we can go forth and make disciples baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit!
“I would also like to thank tannie Milada and oom Johan for the use of their land on their farm (and also their showers LOL).
“Another great big thanks to the MYC band, it was a great honour worshiping with you. Also a great thanks to my awesome friend Tony, who gave me awesome advice and also to Peter. The experiences I had this past week is indescribable!
“I can just say that our Father’s love is amazing and it NEVER fails. There are amazing things happening in the Youth and I just want to Thank You Jesus for what Daddy still has installed for us. We love you,” says Alicia.
Kunako Bubulu wrote, “You guys have changed my life” and Kim Hubbard says: “MYC – what can I say… God is more alive, more powerful, more loving to me than ever before! …I am more excited…more passionate and more…more…more.. on fire for the Lord – thank-you JESUS”.
“What a privilege it was being a part of this past week at the Mighty Youth Conference. The Youth literally ‘floated’ out of the grounds – their LIVES will NEVER be the same again!
“R E V I V A L !!!!” says Kim.