Last month I had the great opportunity to participate in the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering. The conference included over 1,000 younger leaders from 160 different countries that are all working in various areas of ministry and serving God’s people all around the world.
The theme of the conference was: United in the Great Story. In the mornings we spent time walking through the biblical story together and heard from many great speakers. Each day had a specific word that described the theme for the day. The first day’s theme was Entering God’s Story, then the theme’s for the remaining days were create, repent, love, reconcile and worship.
There was such a great emphasis on celebrating diversity of all types. It is a part of God’s plan and purpose that we are all made as unique individuals who are designed to work together for the good of God’s people on this earth in which ever way we are called. All of the speakers sought to use God’s word to encourage us and emphasize the importance of relying on Him whilst carrying out the task has he has placed on our hearts.
It was also a great opportunity to get to know people on a personal level. Every day after the morning sessions, we met with our connect groups to discuss what we had heard that day and spend time sharing our stories and how God is working through us in our various ministries in different parts of the world. Our group was made up of 6 participants and a mentor. Our group was made up of people working in China, Japan, Ukraine, Pakistan, Ghana and the U.S. Also, three of the other members of my group were involved in serving people with disabilities so it was great to make lasting connections with them as well.
There was also a time for lab sessions where we met with people who were currently working in the same area of ministry. It was great to get to know people who are also working with people with disabilities in various parts of the world and share stories, struggles and solutions with them. There was a second lab period where we were able to connect with people who are interested in getting more involved in serving people with disabilities. It was fun to see their excitement about starting something new and to be able to assist with any support or advice as they begin the steps towards beginning new ministries or expanding existing ones.
One of my favorite nights was after our free day where we all joined together at night for a time of worship and prayer. We joined together and sang songs in many different languages. We sat in groups according to the particular region of the world in which we are working. There were 12 regions in total and we prayed for each region individually. Throughout the week, we had speakers from each of these regions explaining the struggles they face and the specific things that we could pray for as they face very real struggles and hardships against evil. One by one each region stood up and we reached out our hands in prayers for the various countries and the people serving there.
On this night we also were asked to read Joshua 3-4. In this passage the people of Israel cross the Jordan on dry ground while following behind the priests carrying the ark of the convenant. After they all had crossed safely, they gathered twelve stones as a memorial to help them remember the great things that God had done for them that day. Joshua 4:24 says that these stones were put in place, “so that all the people of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty, that you may fear the Lord your God forever.” In other words, God chose to work in this way to reveal himself to his people. Each of us as we walked into the chapel that night were given a stone and were asked to write down a word, vision or thought that God had placed on our hearts during our time at the conference. Then we made our way to the front and made our own version of this memorial. The last day we each went back and took a stone so that we could pray for whomever placed that stone as they continue in the work that God has placed on their hearts.
Overall, I had a great time hearing from people who have spent their lives in ministry and their advice on how God has sustained them over the years. It was great to spend time in worship and prayer while making connections with people from all over the world. God allowed this gathering to be a time of connecting, sharing and learning with believers from all over the world. I felt encouraged to continue following and seeking his will for my life and for Precious Kids Center. I am thankful for the opportunity for experience moments for reflection and returning with a renewed and fresh vision. Thank you to everyone who helped support my trip to Jakarta and for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful gathering and experience.