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We had an incredible weekend at the Halifax Atlantic Youth Festival! We left on Thursday afternoon and arrived at the Rock Church around 7ish which was perfect because the opening of AYF was just beginning. The Rock Church had their house band playing and they were awesome!
Their youth pastor Mike Miller spoke and did his intro for the weekend and we were then sent to our billets homes to unpack and relax for the evening. Our billets were awsome they were very accommodating, wonderful servants of God. We all fell in love with their doggy Max! We went to McDonald's and had a late supper then back to get rested up for the festival the next day.
Friday morning we had Tree63 from South Africa playing and the youth had a GREAT time. We had service with Mark Venti from The City Church in Seattle, Washington who was the guest speaker for the weekend. Mark is the Creative Director of Generation Church aka GC which is The City Church youth ministry. It is one of the strongest growing youth ministries in North America. His heart is to build the Church's and communicate a message of passion, power, and the presence of God to this generation.
In the afternoon we went to the shopping malls and did some shoppy shoppy! We all had a wonderful time. Later we made our way back to the church for the evening and Tree63 rocked the house. The youth exploded with praise and worship and pastor Mark Venti got up to speak again. His message was powerful, he spoke about this generations schools and that Christian students need to pray for their schools and step up to the plate and be leaders and proclaim the Gospel to their friends and live a life hard after Jesus in such a way that their friends and class mates will be asking them what they are so happy about, why they never give up, and what is it that gives them the joy that they have in their hearts and how can they receive it. He was a powerful speaker for a 25 year old Italian, hard core Jesus follower. He went to school he said wearing the cool dude attitude, the molded twisted funked out hair and punk clothes with the patches on them that sad things like Jesus is my homeboy, WWJD, 4given and he would pull his Bible out of his nap sack in the lunchroom and preach to whomever would listen, and you know....some would listen....he had the attention of every youth in the building once they knew he was just like they were only a very few years before. They absorbed everything pastor Mark had to say and they loved his over the top one-liners!
Saturday morning we had service and Tree63 again and once again pastor Mark captured the attention of every youth in the auditorium. World Vision was there and they talked about a mission trip to Nain and an offering went up for a building in Seattle that they are working on for the Glory of God to use as a youth outreach building. It was a great morning. We broke for lunch and one of the ladies who was upstairs beside the World Vision table came down and told our youth pastor from our church that there were hardly any offerings made to the WV so one of the youth leaders and I thought we would ask our group if they would be interested in offering up any change they had in their pockets and offering it to World Vision as a group effort, so off we went and we had a frisbee full of change and the guy at the table said if we raised 50 we could buy a family 2 hens and a rooster then when he seen the youth pulling out bills he said with 100 we could purchase a goat for a family for fresh milk and it would be a female and have kids and one of the female kids would be offered to another family while the rest of the kids would be raised for food. At that point we were all very excited to provide for a family so we managed to scrape up the 100!!! We bought a GOAT!!!! I was so proud of our youth group for coming together to provide a catalyst goat for a third world country! Way to go SCC Crossover!!!
Saturday night Tree63 put on an awesome performance for the Lord and the youth really stepped out in faith and walked up to the front to praise with their outreached hands and the danced and jumped up and down and they really didn't care who seen them which was awesome! We all left after service and before heading out to our separate billets we went out to a local coffee shop to hang out together.
Sunday morning we packed up the vans and headed to Rock Church for the morning service and once again the house was full! Mark Venti spoke and left everyone with a powerful message to ponder. His message was called "A Few Good Men" and his scripture references were Jeremiah 17:16 and Matthew 9:35-38 the question he challenged the youth with was this "What is your purpose?" You have come to Him and asked for forgiveness and he has offered you eternal life and you have accepted and you love Him and you praise Him and you want to live a life that will please Him, so step up to the plate and walk in faith. God has us here for a reason, to pastor, who are you pastoring?
This weekend was not only for the youth, the youth leaders and pastors were challenged to step it up a notch as well. I just started volunteering with our youth ministry this last few months and it was a step for me but I felt God lined it up perfectly for His will. One of the other leaders felt she was to back away from the group and before we left for the weekend she prayed for us leaders and she said she felt something was going to happen to me...well something did...I received an anointing of her burden bearing heart for our youth...it is not for me to bear so I take it from them and give it to God....I know some of you may not understand and that is OK I just really feel passionate about the gift I have received this weekend and I am just being authentic and all in His mighty and precious name for the sake of the youth in this generation. I know my purpose for being here and I thank God for confirming that to me this weekend. At the end of the night on Friday Pastor Mark put his hand on me and said that he felt God wanted him to tell me I've been a Christian since I was a young girl ( whice is true and how would he have known that!) and that one day I will look back and see the thousands of people I have lead to Christ by simply being obedient and he then said " How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news" Paraphrased from Isiah 52:7.
I can hardly wait til Thursday night so we can get our youth together and share our stories and testimonies. Thank you Father God for the work you are doing in our youth and in youth groups across the world.