RBYA Youth Missions Conference 2011
MISSIONS CONFERENCE DEBRIEFING
-by Sarai Gal-Chis-
Grace-that was the word of the weekend. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.”(Romans 3:23-24) This year’s RBYA Missions Conference was my first one ever, and I truly saw the hand and blessing of God over every aspect and event that occurred.
Friday night, at the starting service of the conference, we were greeted with the question, what is the gospel? Common answers to this question are- that Jesus loves you, that He died on the cross, ect. We think that through dressing modestly, reading God’s word, and following the principles and rules that He gives us, we know what the gospel is and are sharing it with those around us. But is this the true meaning of the gospel?
Pastor Ryan Fullerton pointed us back to God’s word to find the answer. Romans 1: 16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” As we went through the Scriptures that night, I realized how we have lost the message of what the gospel truly is. The gospel brings righteousness from Jesus that we can in no way earn ourselves- Jesus “trades clothes with us” as Pastor Ryan explained, and now, God sees His perfect and holy sacrifice when He looks at us. And this, the gospel, is our foundation for missions.
It being a Missions Conference, many different missions were of course involved. Before heading out on the field on Saturday however, three different workshops were held on various topics that are often confronted by the youth of today.
Pastor Ryan led a workshop on “Biblical Manhood and Womanhood in the Home and on the Mission Field”. Once again, God’s Word was our guide as we learned that we are all equal in the eyes of God. We are created in His image but are given distinctly different roles that when correctly fulfilled, display the true nature of God.
Another workshop was led by brother Andrei Sava on “The Reliability of the Gospels” in which the four gospels were examined by using bibliography, internal evidence, and external evidence to confirm that the word of God is “flawless” just as He tells us in Psalm 18:30.
The third workshop was held by brother Iacob Brincovan on the topic of “Worship”. By looking at what worship is and what it isn’t, we learned how to keep our focus on God through all of our worship because He is the only one worthy of all of our praise.
After these invigorating workshops, we all split up into different teams to head out on the mission field. We had several different groups: one went to the park and picked up trash, talking to people there and also handing out tracts- another group went to two nursing homes to encourage and sing to the elderly- a group of all girls went to a pregnancy center in town and helped there- a group visited sister CiCi, an elderly woman from the local church, and spent time worshiping with her – and a final group wrote cards of encouragement for homeless in the Hickory area.
Each mission had its overwhelming amount of blessings for those on the giving and the receiving end. God’s hand worked through each of these groups of people as they handed over their fears and uncertainties to Him and let His light shine.
That night at the service, we looked at the first command in the book of Romans found in chapter 6 verse 11 that tells us that we have to be “dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus”. Not “mostly dead”, as Pastor Ryan reminded us, but completely dead and now united to Christ.
The final day of the conference, a youth choir formed and sang during the service along with the orchestra, and of course, the congregation in order to praise the Lord with everything we have! We learned that we are not held captive to the law anymore- we are now under grace. We cannot be under both. The law says “do this, or you’re dead.” Grace is Jesus saying, “I did it all, so you’re done” (Ryan Fullerton). We don’t have to do anything to earn it- it is a gift.
Our love for Him should motivate us to strive to do His will and please and glorify our Lord. And when talking to the people there, I realized that the group of people that came to the Missions Conference was not the same people that left there. The people that left understood what the gospel means; they understood that we are completely dead to our old self, and that we are now freed from the law by grace and grace alone. And this group of people that have been made new can now share the gospel with those around them in their everyday lives, realizing that that is the daily mission that God has given them.
My relationship with God was strengthened and renewed throughout this life-changing weekend, and now, I know that I can share the gospel with those around me with confidence that the Lord will give me strength. And most importantly of all, I know the wonderful gift of God’s Grace.