Thanks to the guidance of our Lord Jesus, the International Youth Fellowship (IYF) was smoothly held at the True Jesus Church Olive Garden Training Centre in Port Dickson, Malaysia from June 4 to 7, 2015. The theme of this IYF was “Equip Oneself, Succeed the Ministry.” Youths from many countries attended and they were greatly edified through this precious gathering.
A total of 215 participants attended, consisting of 115 from the host country and 100 from overseas. The table below shows the breakdown of where participants came from:
THE SPIRITUAL THEME
The four-day program at Olive Garden included a series of sermon topics and fellowship activities. The topics centered on the theme of equipping oneself to succeed the ministry and explored:
• The importance of and areas of equipping oneself
• Ways and examples of equipping oneself
• The importance of and areas of succeeding the ministry
• To be girded with the truth
• Faith is the victory
• Let the Holy Spirit guide you
• The spirit of servitude
• A mission-driven life
Messages from these topics were reinforced through subsequent discussion sessions and group activities. The program also included hymnal and testimony sessions.
POST IYF ACTIVITIES
After the formal program, some participants joined the IYF tour from June 8 to 12. The tour included a two-day medical mission, as part of an evangelistic outreach program to the indigenous population (orang asli) of West Malaysia.
The youths who joined the tour had great fun and fellowship with one another as they visited famous places in Malaysia. Our Lord Jesus provided fantastic weather, which enhanced the experience of enjoying the diverse beauty of Malaysia: they visited Malacca with its rich culture and history, and Kuala Lumpur with its multi-racial heritage, took an adventurous five-hour journey through Gua Tempurung (“Coconut Shell Cave”), and savored the famous food of Penang Island. The tour also included visits to churches in West Malaysia along with fulfilling fellowships with local brethren from churches in Petaling Jaya, Malacca, Ipoh, Penang, and Sungai Petani.
The Medical Mission
The medical mission, a highlight of the IYF, aimed to provide attendees with practical experience in service, in line with the International Youth Ministry Committee’s (IYMC) vision of “equipping and succeeding the ministry.” For many participants, joining this type of mission was a first—to serve by engaging and reaching out to the orang asli. This experience enabled participants to not only be hearers of the Word, but active workers of the gospel.
PARTICIPANTS’ GENERAL FEEDBACK
In order to appreciate the experience of the IYF, here are two accounts from brothers who participated. After reading their testimonies, may the Lord continue encouraging our youths to attend future IYFs, strengthening the unity and evangelistic spirit of our church.
Bro. Gavin Li, Forest Hill, London, UK:
This was a very memorable trip for me, as this was the first time I attended a TJC event outside of the UK. While I did not know what to expect, to my surprise, the trip was very relaxing and edifying.
Although the theme, "Equip Oneself, Succeed the Ministry," is often discussed in church, it was a timely reminder of what our Father in heaven expects from us; sometimes, it is easy to lose sight of our spiritual path, especially when we live in a decadent world filled with tough spiritual battles.
During the first few days of the IYF, it was an honor to have fellowship with brothers and sisters from different parts of the world. Despite cultural differences, we were united in one faith, under one Father, as recorded in Ephesians 4:5. It was heartening to hear experiences of faith and testimonies from around the world. Indeed, we are never alone in this journey of faith.
One memorable part of the trip was the medical mission, which really taught us how we should show love and care to the poor and sick, just as Jesus did. It was very touching to see how the local villagers who came to the medical center also accepted our invitation to attend the evening service held at a nearby church. The majority of the villagers kept their word and joined the service. It was amazing to see how God's grace opened their hearts.
I wondered, if these villagers were rich and healthy, would they have accepted our invitation so easily? As it is mentioned in Mark 10:25, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." I realized that the most important thing we can have is Christ and not our worldly possessions.
The rest of the trip was also very well organized. From natural cave climbing to delicious food and beautiful scenery, we thoroughly enjoyed the tour.
I would highly recommend this type of event to anyone?it is an excellent opportunity to meet brothers and sisters in Christ from different parts of the world.
Bro. Kevin Yiin, Phoenix, USA:
The IYF was not discussed much in Phoenix, my home church. When I first heard, in November 2014, that the IYF would be held at Olive Garden, I thought it was simply a fellowship meal because the Olive Garden is a popular restaurant chain in the United States!
Even when I learned more about the event, I was not interested. It was far away, it would cost me money and come registration closing time in 2015, not many US youths had registered.
I then realized that the start of the IYF program coincided with the end of our family’s trip to Taiwan. I pondered: perhaps it was God’s will for me to attend the IYF. Even though I did not know what to expect, I knew that I could at least receive spiritual encouragement and support; I registered.
Looking back, I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the IYF. Although different to the US National Youth Training Course, I gained much. Every sermon emphasized the importance of equipping oneself and succeeding the ministry. This clearly indicated to me what I needed to work on and what my future duties would be. For example, marriage within the church is crucial for the succession of the ministry. Also, I gained even more during leisure time when I could have fellowship with the brethren, without thoughts of assignments! We shared our lives with one another and exchanged what we had learned. Through this sharing, I discovered that there is true unity in Christ. Even though we grew up in different backgrounds, had different struggles, and were in different stages of our lives, everyone gathered to have fellowship and to draw closer to God. Because of this, I witnessed the love of God all around. Whether it was our counselors personally serving us food, brethren testifying their experiences during missionary trips, or members providing exotic foods such as durians for foreigners like us to try, I could see the love of God through the actions of every member.
The most memorable part of the trip was the medical mission. Essentially, the medical mission is another approach to preaching the gospel. The TJC mission team congregated in one area and set up stations for different activities such as registration, medical consultation, and pharmaceutical distribution. While patients waited for their turn, our brethren would testify to them. There was also a special station for spiritual consultation for all patients. There, ordained workers would ask if the patients were interested in the gospel. They discussed doctrines with them and arranged for follow-up visitations. Seeing different participants working for the Lord in this medical mission made me think of the phrase “one body in Christ.” Together, we were working towards the same goal: to preach the name of God. Even though many of us could not communicate with the villagers, we supported the ministry by doing what we could, to allow the gospel to be preached more effectively.
Despite linguistic and cultural barriers, we strived to be one family in Christ. After attending the IYF, I have made more spiritual friends. I have experienced the love of God manifested through others. I have absolutely no regrets attending this event. I have personally witnessed that there is unity in the Lord. All over the world, there are brethren walking the same path we walk, upholding the same principles we hold, working as we work for the Lord. This encouraged me greatly because I realized no region, no member in any part of the world is truly alone. Our church extends beyond political boundaries because of God’s love and God’s spirit.
Thank God for this memorable and
edifying experience, and may future IYFs be continually filled with the love of
God and His spirit.