December 2016 /January 2017 - Vol. 89

Dalej 2016 conference group
Reflections on Dalej 2016
by Kairos Young People 

Holly Leung
, Koinonia University Outreach, London, United Kingdom

What impacted me most during Dalej was the sense of community. It felt like a global village, with brothers and sisters from all around the world chatting, laughing, living and praying together. I tasted a bit of what heaven would be like, with all nations and peoples praising God and living in harmony together. It really reminded me of the scripture that says “How good and pleasant it is when God's people live together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1)

It was a powerful picture to me of the body of Christ. We are all so diverse and unique, with our own God-given talents, cultures and experiences. Each one of us is important in the body of Christ to do His work. It was very humbling for me to see my brothers and sisters doing things that I cannot do personally, and I delighted in seeing how I fit into the wider body when I contributed my little bit, even if it felt insignificant.

It struck me how quickly I felt at home at Dalej. Though I have never met most of these people, the Spirit of God truly united us. Yes, there were cultural and linguistic barriers, but the love of God really bridged those differences. My biggest revelation at Dalej is that His blood has bought our unity. We are family because Jesus’s blood run through our veins.

Susan Bradford,
University Christian Outreach, Glasgow, Scotland

 The theme of Dalej was ‘Rise up and Build’- a call to look beyond ourselves, to see a need and be willing to respond, stepping beyond our comfort zones.

 I experienced this with immediate effect through my role as a household leader. Having gained so much from small groups at Kairos events in the past and having heard God very clearly during Prep7, I knew what I wanted for those within my household and immediately put pressure on myself to deliver it. God taught me a good lesson that week: it wasn’t down to me. Yes, I had to be a good leader, but to create such an environment God needed to do it. I needed to be listening to and guided by Him. My attention had to shift from what I could try and do, to what He was asking me to do, what He could do if I were willing to respond. And of course the minute I took a step back and let God go first, listened to Him and went beyond my comfort zones, God acted.

Such an attitude shift then reflected in my own experience of the week. God taught me new ways to listen, to hear what He was saying and find His strength in saying, ‘Yes’. Coming out of Prep7 and Dalej this new perspective gives me great hope and joy in what is to come, particularly during this time of transition in my life from being newly graduated to officially unemployed.  A time in which I need to be listening to God and seeking out what new place ‘in the wall’ He is calling to me to.

Dalej music group

Mikolaj Kapusta, Gdansk, Bethelem Community, Poland

I came to Dalej because I am from a small village and I love the English language, so it was an occasion to look at the church from a broad perspective. An event like this was my dream come true, with the opportunity to talk to people from places like the Philippines and Lebanon.

During the men’s session when sharing with my discussion group, God struck me with a passage from Luke 14:30: “No one can be my disciple if…” I felt like I had never been a Christian in my life because I felt like I had never given everything, so I cannot be his disciple. Immediately after, the speaker said – if somebody feels that he has never given his life to Jesus in a true way, then raise your hand and do it, and all the people around you pray. That was like a sign. And I hesitated, but I did it. Now it’s like God is making his stamp on me.

Lourdes Chacon, Arbol de Vida Community, San Jose, Costa Rica

When the conference was announced, I thought, there is a community in Poland? I want to be there! The director told me about the conference. I really wanted to be part of a European conference to see what it is like and how it is different. I knew it would be different from Latin America, and I wanted to expand my roots.

At other conferences at home, we spoke the same language. It’s amazing that people are using a lot of languages to pray at the same time, and we are trying to sing songs in other languages other than our own.

God has been telling me to be joyful, to be together, to be building a community all around the world. He has been telling me how each community is different with different cultures and leaders, but we are fighting for the same thing. We are all sharing difficulties, and even though things are wrong in the world, we are not afraid to show that we believe in God.

At the beginning, I thought, this is in Europe! It doesn’t matter for me. But then I saw we have the same problems in Latin America, and it helps me to see my place, that this is where God wants me to be fighting for him.

Paul Codouni, University Christian Outreach, Belfast, Northern Ireland

At the Dalej conference, I took a workshop called Mission in Europe given by Jeff Fountain, the former leader of YWAM Europe.

 What most stood out for me was a simple point he made: Although it is difficult, it is actually very strategic to do mission in Europe. Why? Because Europe exports its belief systems to the whole world. At its universities, it educates a larger number of international students than any other place in the world. These students tend to go back to their countries and become leaders there.

Jeff also spoke about periods in history when the church was in such a bad place that it seemed that the people of God would not survive. During these periods, God brought up a small number of heroic men and women who were a “faithful minority” to lead the church out of its mess and change the future.

Personally, after doing full-time mission in Europe for the past two years, I was newly inspired to be part of this faithful minority and to dedicate time and energy to finding new ways of reaching every person in Europe with the gospel. Dalej!

Rebeca Sastre, Grand Rapids, Michigan, USA

Coming from the United States, Dalej was my first international experience with Kairos. Worshipping and seeking the Lord with 475 people of 40 different nationalities in beautiful Poland for over a week tasted like heaven. It was my great pleasure to serve on the service team. Though we represented different countries and spoke various languages, we were one in the Holy Spirit. It fascinated me to meet people from Poland, Belgium, Nicaragua, Lebanon and many more countries who had the same vision and call from God as I have. One member of the service team summed it up well, saying “when I made a commitment to Community, I made it to YOU, even though I have just met you a few days ago”. Dalej was a tangible experience of the bulwark God is building; we are all building the same “wall of Jerusalem”, just different sections across the world. Now, when I serve and pray back in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I know there are 475 other young people and families rising up and building with me around the globe!

Marta Cwierz, Poland

One hundred thirty young people, many different countries, experiences, languages, life stories, problems, hurts, senses of humour, personalities… We were all coming to Kiczyce (Poland). There was one reason of gathering us in one place at the same time – faith in one God. During the Prep7 days, I felt that we were building the wall of the unity and love with each other. We were preparing to go to battle for each participant at Dalej. We started praying for little things like weather and bigger things like equipment for the battle. Through joint actions, setting up tents, preparing directions, decoration, presentations, translations, prayers, trip to the Czech Republic and having fun, we have built the real UNITY in Jesus Christ. We have been working for one purpose and one God. I also experienced a lot of hope and joy when we were waiting for all the participants from around the world. Personally that week helped me to focus only on will of God for my life, listen His calling and looking at my future in His presence.

Dominic Stilco, Vienna, Austria

“My one great experience was praying with people at the prayer meeting and realising that God wants me to plant a cross on the mountain of my life, that the whole mountain would be given to him; not just in my plans or decisions, but also in transforming my everyday life – my habits, the way I deal with people, and that this will make a huge difference in my life.”

Paul Hunter, UCO Belfast, Northern Ireland

"One aspect of the Dalej conference that particularly struck me was the use of Nehemiah and the walls of Jerusalem as an impetus to consider both my own place in defending the walls, and more simply what exactly I am supposed to be defending. Actively building this wall with my brothers and sisters either side of me is an active response to the call to discipleship God has for all of us."

 Michael Potter, Koinonia, London, United Kingdom

“Dalej was a powerful event where I saw an army being prepared for battle. I saw myself and other young people from around the world being envisioned for the mission and inspired to go out and do it.”

Noel Campos, Philippines

“A particular quality that struck me immensely, was the quality of worship we had all throughout the 2 weeks at Dalej. There was a very real sense of witnessing something special occurring in our midst. The occasion for unity was very much felt and the love for Christ, which makes us family despite distances, was on full display. There were constant moments that were contagious. It was palpable. It was real. It was electric.”

Karl Ghosn, Lebanon

“As a household leader, I was afraid that I didn’t deserve being a household leader and caring for my discussion group. I also thought that I didn’t have the experience to fulfill this service. All of that was true! I didn’t have the experience to do it. But the Lord reminded me that it is not me who’s going to do the work but Him. It is not by our power that we lead or fight, but God who works through us.”

Katarzyna Woszczenko, UCO Krakow, Poland

“It was the unity: I am so glad to know such a big number of people from all over the world whom I couldn’t have met from another place, especially those from the Philippines, and I am so surprised that everyone here has a similar attitude to praying and way of life.”

 Joanna Whittam, Community of Nazareth, Dublin, Ireland

“Thinking about how a city consists not only of walls but of people, so we need people to populate the city. The city of God is his people. This year I’m serving with UCO in Dublin on the evangelism team. [The Dalej sessions] reminded me of the importance of our call to be fishers of men, not solely builders of walls, so they’ve confirmed that calling to serve with UCO and empowered me for that.”

Cathy Holmes, Glasgow, Scotland

“Our generation lacks an appreciation for process and experience, preferring instead instant results whether they be negative or positive. If we are to be in battle, we must be prepared to march for a long time, to battle with no end in sight and to trust the Lord with everything from the shoes on our feet to the tips of our swords. After Dalej, I feel equipped to not only trust the Lord in my big decisions but to fight for Him joyfully and with courage every day knowing that He has a much greater plan in store.”

This article first appeared in the Kairos Europe and the Middle East website and newsletter.

See related article >
Looking Back at Dalej – Kairos 2016, by Tadhg Lynch and Christiane Lewerentz
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