August 28, 2020
First, the good news. I’ve been so encouraged recently to personally experience or hear about young champions who are extending the Kingdom of God with courage, creativity and great commitment. Some examples:
1. A young Canadian man, son of a former Muslim, who decided to learn Chinese when he was 12, is exhorting a Canadian Chinese congregation in fluent Mandarin to reach out to their Muslim neighbors.
2. Another young Canadian who learned the language of a currently Muslim-majority people group is creating an app so others who want to reach them can learn the language from their phones.
3. A teenaged Lebanese Muslim girl who asked to be baptized removed her hijab days later so other girls would ask her why she did it, giving her opportunities to tell them about Jesus.
May Almighty God, who distributes gifts and callings as He desires, raise up many more young champions who pour their energies and passions into preparing themselves to carry out what He has prepared in advance for them to do and will complete in them!
Now, the discouraging news. You may have heard on the news that Islamic State (IS) was defeated. But IS is far from dead; in fact, it is stronger in some ways than when it ruled a physical caliphate. IS is active in guerilla warfare in Syria, Iraq, Sinai, Afghanistan, African Sahel, Mozambique and more. Camps for Internally Displaced People in Syria have become breeding grounds for the next generation of fighters. IS is still able to control many young women who’ve escaped but left their babies in IS hands. And IS has been building expertise in using the Internet for recruitment.
Their recruitment strategies are not necessarily ideological or religious. In Mozambique, they have built an insurgency in a very poor region with high rates of illiteracy, child malnutrition, and poverty by promising youth jobs and revenge against a corrupt government they say oppresses poor Muslims. They began attacking and burning small villages in 2017. Two weeks ago, in a well planned and executed attack, they seized a strategic port servicing significant oil and gas projects nearby.
We may think Mozambique is far away, but our family lives there. Mozambique is predominantly Christian. Heidi & Rolland Baker’s IRIS Global Ministries serves “the poor, the destitute, the lost and the forgotten” there. Let’s pause a moment to think about our own youth. Refugee/immigrant groups have experienced difficulty finding secure and sufficient work in Canada, and now with instability and shutdowns caused by the COVID response, Canadian youth in general have much anxiety about the present and their future. They’re also spending more time on the Internet with all its misinformation, extreme polarization and manipulation. Our youth are not immune to becoming prey for radicalization.
Ask God to show you the champions in your circles. Even if they don’t look like champions now, pray and speak into their lives:
- For Holy Spirit to stir up their gifts and callings
- For love for God’s word and discipline to study it
- For righteous mentors and the joy of the Lord
- That they’d find impacting Internet sites that fulfill Philippians 4:8 and call them up higher
- That they not give in to despair or depression, but overcome and grow increasingly in faith, strength and glory (Ro 1:17, Ps 84:7, 2 Co 3:18)
Pray for relief for vulnerable youth in Canada and troubled areas of the world (Mt 10:42). Ask the Lord to send rescuers to them, including adults who will show them God’s mercy and compassion. Pray they will find their way home to their Father in heaven.