Here in Ghana, one of our challenges is gaining the trust of local pastors in towns where we train young people. The suspicion is that YLI is coming to start a new church and “abduct” their best talent! So, before each conference we make efforts to visit each pastor at least once to introduce YLI, and also to show proper cultural respect for them and their churches.
Trust building is simply ongoing here in Ghana. We never stop working to build trust.
Friday, we received an invitation from the national council of churches in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia, to join Roland Martin in organizing a youth leadership training conference in Liberia. As Albert Churcher explained to me yesterday, that means we would be building trust “at the top levels” before we even hold a single conference. Relationships with the top leaders of the major churches in Monrovia translates into YLI possibly having a wonderful opportunity to serve and train Liberian church leaders as they reach out to young people. The impact could be far reaching.
Without effective ministry to youth, it is doubtful that Liberia will remain peaceful throughout the next generation. Many children were used as soldiers in the civil war in the 1990’s and are now teenagers and young adults with little to do. The government has organized some state run youth groups to keep youth off of the streets, but they can’t keep up.
Please pray for us as we make decisions about YLI’s involvement in Liberia. The need and invitation are real and compelling; but the commitment is great, so we want to make sure that this is where we are supposed to go. In my life I am learning over and over that I am not necessarily supposed to force my way into every door that cracks open. Its much better pray, listen and wait upon God’s timing!