By Aaron E. Ziebarth – Executive Director
Lately I have been struck by the trials facing young people who seek to follow Christ with their whole hearts. Following Christ isn’t easy for teens. In the past few days, I’ve learned of a young man whose girlfriend broke up with him because he wanted them to remain pure as a couple. Another young lady’s parents think she is brain-washed because she would like to take her skills to the mission field. A third student’s story is below, excerpted from his recent spiritual growth update.
One student’s story:
“This month has brought me things that I can’t express in words. PRAISE GOD! God is allowing my dreams to attend Bible college to become a reality, and it is truly beyond words! Although my dream is becoming a reality – I am not going to lie, this month has been the hardest month of my life. I’ve never experienced so much anxiety in my life. And it’s undeniably an answer to prayer (not the anxiety – the trials). After months of asking God to make me His disciple, He has been at work the whole time. He is opening up my eyes to what being a disciple really means and what it looks like. He’s calling me upon the waters and it has never been so hard. I never knew what it meant to carry my cross daily until this month. The true hardship of carrying a cross daily is mind-blowing. I have learned this through Scripture, especially in Luke 14. “In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.” The reality of this statement is really hard to fathom. And it really hit me hard this month as I have been forced to make some hard decisions.
“I’ve also been reminded this month that God really does hear all of your prayers—no matter how little or how small. My mentor showed me 2 Corinthians 1:3 – “The God of all comfort.” It really helped me grasp the power of God and what He can do for me.
“My friend Tim was talking to me in the beginning of the month about his relationship with Jesus and I was able to print out the “30 Days of Praying the Names and Attributes of God” for him. I really enjoyed sharing what I was learning with Him. I also have a friend Sarah who is trying to figure out God’s calling for her life – I’ve tried to encourage her.
“I am learning so, so much from God through my mentor this month. I am blessed to have his support. He showed me multiple passages this month that encouraged my relationship with Christ. His godly practical advice is really helping me in this time of trial. (1 Peter 2:23)
“I am in MAJOR need of prayer. I truly need the power of God each day so that I can banish the horrible attacks of fear, anxiety and stress from the evil one. These attacks have been happening daily and I need the Truth and the support of my brothers and sisters in Christ to take hold of me in the moments when I feel completely terrified.”
This student, along with the two mentioned in the first paragraph, is among the approximately 100 in our 4.12 Leadership Training Program. Please pray for these young men and women as they seek to serve God before people.
(All of the student’s identifying information has been changed.)