“Jóven” translates to “young” or “young person” and this has been our latest project since about September last year: working with the young people of Arequipa. We had noticed that a lot of young people only had the option of drinking and going to clubs as a hangout but also found that a lot of young people do not have a space where they can explore their faith, ask questions, and be young. We were inspired to help some of the younger people in our church to connect in a way that was more real for them, to build future leaders, and encourage strong faith and community among these youth.
We went at this two ways: (1) connecting with new youth during events where we provide a fun, clean activity with the chance to hang out and chat afterwards and (2) also having a Bible discussion group where interested youth can come and learn more and ask questions as well. We started all this around September 2014 with our first ever movie night. This was exciting for us and very nerve racking. Only one person showed up, a guy named Nimer, who later become a big part of our work.
Our second movie night was a bit better attended:
We enjoyed the time meeting people from these events and eventually had enough people to start a small Bible study group. This consisted of 7 people but we were excited to be talking about the Bible with potential seekers.
From this group we have been able to build some great relationships. The two very special and for us most positive in terms of seeking are Nimer and Sthephanie. Nimer is a 19 year-old university student and Sthephanie is a 24 year-old, who both works and studies. We found their commitment and involvement in our studies exciting. Chase was able to spend a lot of time with Nimer talking and sharing life with him. Nimer has recently moved to Buenos Aires to further his studies. Sthephanie is a sweet, loving girl who has been patient and kind to us. She also recently moved to another region of Perú for her work as well. We are sad to see them both leave. This put quite a hole in our plans and study group but we are so blessed to have shared some of their life with them. We’ve learned this is part of the nature of working with this age in this city. Please pray for their continued seeking and endeavors.
We are still hopeful to continue with the young people of Arequipa, encouraging them to seek God and live different lives to those around them. We hope to encourage the younger people in the church to strive for stronger faith and one day become leaders.