A teenager is bombarded with crises and pressures from all sides of life as he or she goes through growth, maturity and development. Psychosocial development as theorized by famous psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, states that we need to overcome crises on particular stages in our lives in order to become “whole” persons. A teenager, for instance, must overcome role confusion to establish and secure his or her identity.
Without the word of God, a teenager seeking for directions gets entangled with unbiblical ideologies and wanders on a lost path. Jesus knows the pain and restlessness of a drifter, and so he calls the lost sheep into his fold that it may lie down on green pastures. This fold is the church which welcomes all weary travelers, introduces them to the Savior, and equips and releases them to help others who are still astray.
This summer, the JECPP Southern Mindanao region once again fulfilled its deep calling of training young people inside the fold to love and serve God with all their hearts and strength. More than 200 youth from Evangel Family churches all over Southern Mindanao gathered in Jones Beach Resort, Talomo, Davao City for the 2nd NexGen Southern Mindanao Regional Youth Conference last April 1-4.
The event was an ideal summer spree for energetic teens and young adults where they were nourished and revived with compelling messages, physical activities, fellowships, music, prayer, and creative expressions of talents.
Every day in the camp was a feast of the Word served by anointed speakers. These messages were meant to transform and renew their minds so they could make sound decisions and actions as exemplary Christian youth. Reverend Peter Wee marked the first night with a highlight on the favored life of Lot because he walked with blessed Abraham. Unfortunately, Lot decided to walk on his own, forsaking the Godly legacy of Abraham and embracing the culture of his time. Pastor Wee quoted Oliver W. Homes who said, “it matters not where you are, but rather in what direction you are heading” for where you are looking, there you will also go.
Expounding the idea of “walking with those who are blessed”, Pastor Wee reminded the participants of another lover and follower of God in the person of Joshua. “Joshua loved the Presence of God” (Exodus 17:9) and “Joshua loved God`s House” (Exodus 33:11). Like Joshua, young people need to learn to love the presence of God above all and to be in the house of the Lord rather than to be in other places.
Other speakers in the morning and evening services were Rev. Albert Polino, Jr., Rev. Delia Miguel, Rev. Tony Angelias, Rev. Gregorio and Rev. Rosario Simpas, Rev. Judith Kintanar and Rev. Christine Wee. These speakers addressed various issues that the young people relate and struggle with.
An all-time pressing issue among young people is undoubtedly romance. So, “striking while the iron is hot”, one afternoon in the camp was devoted solely to the topic of love and courtship delivered by Pastor Judith Kintanar. The eager young people raised questions, and were satisfied with wise counsel from their leaders. Pastor Wee and Pastor Christine helped answer the questions and candidly shared their own love story to the delight and enlightenment of the listeners.
Another worthwhile engagement in the camp was the creative balloons and table skirting workshop headed by Sis. Cecille Gacasan, Bro. Jonathan Lariosa and Sis. Lourdes Bargoso. Since the church is a venue of gatherings, celebrations and parties, the young people can serve using their aesthetic skills in decorating and designing. The young people were of course motivated to learn as they could use this skill not only in the church but even in their own parties such as debuts and graduation.
The entire camp was mentally and physically challenging, so after dinner on the last night of the conference, the leaders chilled to a “pastors just wanna have fun” session. Selected pastors from the Southern Mindanao region showcased their talents. As a result, many hidden talents such as song composition, dancing, and wildly-spirited laughter were all discovered. We believe God will release our young people to serve God with greater measure.