Youth on Fire for the Lord
“Youth Aflame is like a key to a new life,” says, Mimi*, a 19-year-old student from Ho Chi Minh City, who was ‘forced’ to attend the Youth Aflame (YA) program. “Although I’ve been a Christian since I was eight, I had no knowledge of God, and had never experienced Him until I attended Youth Aflame.”
Open Doors’ Youth Aflame training program in Vietnam was created in response to the younger generations need for guidance in the growing age of materialism, vices, immorality and AIDS. The program’s roots trace back to the early 2000’s, when Open Doors conducted a needs assessment among the youth. The first training manual was based on youth evangelist and mobilizer Winkie Pratney’s self-published book, “Youth Aflame! A Manual for Discipleship.”
In an impact evaluation conducted by Open Doors in 2012, past and present trainees and teachers of Youth Aflame shared that the program has not only changed them inwardly through deepening their knowledge and faith in God, as well as gave them confidence and a renewed sense of self, but has also had a deep outward impact. This has beenshown by the graduates’ improved relationships within their family, their deepening commitment and involvement in church and their proactive service to the community. These changes are shown in the life of YA graduates, such as Mimi.
“I was just a church-goer before,” Mimi says. “Now, I spend more time reading the Bible, and I pray day and night. I learned that I can pray to God anytime and anywhere.
“Every subject taught me something new,” she adds. “In the Gospel of Matthew, for example, I realized how displeasing lying is to God. I was convicted because I have lied many times. Now, whenever I am tempted to lie, I ask God to give me the strength to tell the truth.”
Youth Aflame is composed of 12 modules, each consisting of a character study on a disciple of Jesus Christ. Designed to run for two years, the YA program provides ample time for the young people to instill biblical truths into their worldview, self-identity, relationships and practical lives.
“I like the story of Peter walking on water,” Mimi goes on. “He was not just a spectator of a miracle, like the other disciples; he experienced it himself. Like Peter, we can sometimes feel like we are drowning in the difficulties of life. Just as Peter did, we can come to Jesus, and be humbled by His power in the process.”
“Before YA, I focused on people and looked to them for my own growth,” she continues. “I did this with my pastor, who fell into temptation. I was very discouraged, and the church became weak.
“When I studied in YA, I began to understand and sympathize with those who fall into sin. I realized that Satan attacks strong Christians, because many people are affected when they fall. So, I encouraged people in my youth group to pray for leaders, and to focus on Christ, and not on people.”
Mimi finished the YA program in 2010. She now plays the keyboard as part of her church’s worship team, and actively shares the gospel in her university.
*Real name not revealed for security reasons
Father, as we look at the world, and shudder at the thought of growing materialism among the worlds’ youth, we are grateful that Open Doors hosts these impactful programs in Vietnam. Giving You all the praise, we ask for these seeds, that have been abundantly watered, to grow into mature trees. And just as trees do, produce seeds for new growth. Father, we ask that there be an abundance of new trees sprouting up over Vietnam and beyond! Praying in Jesus’ name, where our hope and future lies, Amen.