June 2009 - Vol. 31

Youth group from Vasai, India

Wave of the Spirit Among Young People in India

report by Brian Shell

I was deeply encouraged to see how is God at work among young people in India today. I got a first-hand glimpse when I visited India for two weeks last April. The Sword of the Spirit communities in India organized their first-ever regional camp for young people. I was part of a Kairos mission team, composed of two women and three men from Ireland. Six YWAM mission workers from Delhi also joined us for the two week mission. 

During the first week we helped run a camp for young people in Khandala which was hosted by the Krist Kiran Parivar Community from Pune. For the first time ever, youth from all four Sword of the Spirit communities in India came together for a time of teaching and fellowship. Nearly 100 young people gathered from Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore and Vasai for the four days.

Community youth playing under a waterfall after a long trek

“The Sword of the Spirit youth camp held in Khandala was truly a time of grace for all those involved” explained Nicholas D'Cruz from Pune, one of the main organizers of the camp. “This was the first time there was a coming together of all the communities in India, and through all the differences it was heartening to see the bonding and building of relationships between the youth.”

Our team led a number of sessions with the Indian youth during the camp, covering topics ranging from God's love to radical discipleship to being men and women on mission and culminating in a prayer session for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. There was a tremendous response from the youth when they were prayed with to receive the Holy Spirit. During the prayer session “the youth were challenged to 'cross the line' and give their lives over to God, and about 80 young men and women responded to the call and committed themselves to live as radical disciples,” Nicholas recalled. 

When asked how some of the sessions affected him, Raoul Fernandes, from Mumbai, reflected, “I was reading the scripture and 1 Corinthians 12 jumped out at me about all being members of one body, but it didn't make sense. Then Jen gave her testimony and used the same passage, encouraging us to give more of ourselves to community and service; from then on I knew that I had to dedicate myself to this. It has changed my whole perspective. For me the camp was a stepping stone for growing spiritually.” Raoul only joined the community in Mumbai a couple months before the camp and is now active in the community’ youth group planning an outreach for the end of this year to help people from his neighbourhood meet the Lord.

The camp was a significant time spiritually for the youth in India, but almost as significant were the relationships built across the communities there and a connection with the Sword of the Spirit internationally.  Keith Silveira, a masters student in Pune, told the team that “meeting you was a real encouragement to many of us as we realized that youth all over the world are committing themselves to Christ and are facing many of the same struggles as us.” 

“It was a time of grace, fun, adventure and a realization of my commitment towards all my brothers and sisters,” added Priyanka Roche from Mumbai. “I realized that we are each called to be disciples of Christ and to live like him. There was strong sense of belonging to each other and of fellowship in Christ.” 

It truly was a time of special grace from God within this season of grace that we are experiencing in the Sword of the Spirit.

Kairos Mission Team from Ireland perform a song for the camp
From left: Sarah Quinn, Brian Shell, Dave Quintana, Claire Robinson, 
and Tadhg Lynch

Brian Shell is an affiliate of the Servants of the Word. He lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Reflections from participants

On fire for God

Well, since I grew up in the community with my family, I had attended a number of retreats and youth camps (most of them were grudgingly attended), but none were quite like this one... I mean at this camp God shook me up. I had a very personal experience. It was like he called me by name and asked me in front of the whole assembly if I was willingly to commit myself to him. 

All the sessions were surprisingly relevant to me.  The highlight for me would have to be the prayer session to ask God to fill us with his Holy Spirit. It was the most awesome experience. And for not just me. Ever since the camp our entire youth group in Mumbai has become surprisingly united. We are all on fire for God. We're now planing an outreach at the end of this year to get more people from our neighborhood to meet the Lord. Lets see what the Lord has in store for us. (It's super exciting!) Please keep us in your prayers.

Ralph Mascarenhas

The Sword of the Spirit Youth Camp in Khandala was truly a time of grace for all those involved. It was undertaken as part of the Joint Mission Trip conducted by the SOS and YWAM teams from Ireland and one could sense from the outset that something great was going to happen. And indeed, the Spirit of the Lord did some marvelous things among the youth during these days and has continued since then. 

It was the first time there was a coming together of all the communities in India and through all the differences, it was heartening to see the bonding and building of relationships between the youth. The youth were challenged to 'cross the line' and give their lives over to God and many responded to the call and have chosen to live their lives as 'radical' disciples of Christ. 

Through the sessions led by the Sword of the Spirit and YWAM teams, and their testimonies, the youth here have been strengthened in their faith and have become enthusiastic for the Lord and that enthusiasm is leading them to share their faith with each other and help each other grow in Christ. 

Personally, this experience has challenged me to keep Christ at the center of all my decisions and actions, as well as to deepen my relationship with him, and to answer his call to go out and serve others.

This camp has brought about an amazing transformation among the youth here and we pray that the good work He has started will be brought to completion and that the name of Jesus be lifted higher! Praise the Lord!

Nicholas D'Cruz

What really touched me during the camp was listening to Jake Yap, [one of the speakers who is from Manila, Philippines], talking about the woman mentioned in the Gospel who had come to anoint Jesus. When she met Jesus, she broke her alabaster jar and emptied the very expensive perfumed ointment on Jesus. 

Hearing this story made me realize that I hadn’t really broken my alabaster jar and emptied out all the contents yet. Fortunately, this camp was, by Gods grace, one more step along the way. 

The other key thing I heard during the camp was the Lord's call to be radical disciples for him. A lot of us follow Jesus, as nominal Christians, and basically feel we are living good lives. But, I know that Jesus is calling us to take the next step in the relationship and move from knowing ‘about’ him, to knowing him personally by developing an ongoing relationship with him. 

The camp was a good opportunity for youth from the different communities in India to meet each other and to meet the team members who came from Ireland. Meeting you’ll was an a real encouragement to many of us as we got to know that youth all over the world are committing themselves to Christ, and are having to deal with many of the same struggles and temptations. Besides, we also realized that following Jesus can be a lot of fun too. 

Keith Silveira 

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