September 20, 2020

Growing in Grenada

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IFESBy Penny Vinden from IFES

is a picturesque Caribbean island with warm, friendly people and numerous natural tourist attractions. Although it is seen as a predominantly Christian country and there is no opposition to Christianity, many who consider themselves to be Christians have never fully surrendered their lives to God. Grenada wants to change this! They want to see each generation of students become -long disciples of Christ. But for years they had been without staff. Then God laid it on the heart of one woman, Deborah ‘Debbie’ Dowlath, a young graduate of the Trinidad movement, to go and encourage the volunteers who had worked over the years with students.

Grenada is a picturesque Caribbean island with warm, friendly people and numerous natural tourist attractions. Although it is seen as a predominantly Christian country and there is no opposition to Christianity, many who consider themselves to be Christians have never fully surrendered their lives to God.

ISCF Grenada wants to change this! They want to see each generation of students become life-long disciples of Christ. But for years they had been without staff.

Then God laid it on the heart of one woman, Deborah ‘Debbie’ Dowlath, a young graduate of the Trinidad movement, to go and encourage the volunteers who had worked over the years with students. She writes:

‘I have a passion for working with young people. I see student ministry as a unique opportunity to have an impact with the good news while students are still young and their character is still being moulded.

‘I experienced the value of unity among believers as a student. ISCF Trinidad and Tobago was responsible for developing many of the leadership qualities that I have today and I would like for other young people to have the opportunity to experience these benefits.’

Promoting the kind of high school ministry that so deeply transformed her life has been a priority for Debbie. One of her first tasks was encouraging the many volunteer sponsors who lead the work in eight high schools.

Don-Rae, one of those volunteers, told us why he decided to help: ‘I got involved after reading about the ministry and understanding its focus. I realised that it was in line with the vision God gave me to disciple youths around me.

‘Since the group has been started in the school I have seen God bring many children to himself as they find out how important a relationship with him is. Most of the students are not from Christian homes; however they wanted to do the right thing in life. But even as they tried to be good they knew something was missing: a relationship with God and with good Christian friends and role models. This is what ISCF provided for them.

‘I have seen these young people, without even saying a word about Christ, drawing other students into the group and a relationship with Christ.’

What do the students say about why they go to ISCF meetings?

‘It teaches me about God and ways to be a good teenage Christian.’

‘It helped me to know God better and to communicate better.’

‘To enjoy every aspect of life (both good and bad) and to open up my heart to people who are not yet saved.’

‘To be more forgiving.’

Student ministry is also growing in the two full-time tertiary institutions. Nickada, who has been involved with a group for two years, now told us, ‘This group has helped my spiritual growth and also my social life and my academics. Being an executive member has enhanced my leadership skills as we plan and execute different programmes and express ourselves in worship. Apart from the spiritual aspects I’ve learnt how to wisely manage my time and money, how to maintain purity and the importance of prayer.’

A young graduate, Loxton, adds, ‘It helped me strive for excellence in terms of being a leader, both in my local church and in the school. It also helped me in my Christian walk, in terms of how I live before the Lord daily and how I relate to his people.’

People like Nickada and Loxton are the future of student ministry in Grenada… and also in many countries around the world. Debbie writes: ‘In 2003 I was a part of a team from Trinidad that visited Grenada to encourage the groups that still existed. Some of the contacts that were made then are the same ones who are helping to re-establish the ministry now, eleven years later. This reminds me that our labour in the Lord is never in vain.’

Let’s pray this week for Debbie, for Grenada and for the young people there, that God will continue to raise up new generations of life-long disciples. And as we pray, let us also be encouraged that our labour in the Lord is also not in vain.

For more on this story go to: http://ifesworld.org/en/blog/2014/07/growing-grenada

 

 

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