Judah is a Christian missionary to youth in a sensitive country in Africa. Judah explains, “We live and minister in a context where Christians are still harassed and persecuted, and we must be careful about what we share publicly.” For that reason, while these stories are true, the names of people and places have been changed throughout this post.
Though he cannot thank the particular tour that promoted and resourced his ministry to the youth of his African country, Judah did want to share his thanks with the Ends of the Earth Cycling family:
“We are so grateful for your support and the resources that you have provided for us to continue to do God’s work. We are confident that the programs we are creating and the leaders we are training will make a huge impact in the church and will shine the light of the gospel in way that shows nonbelievers that there is hope and freedom in Jesus Christ.“
Tempted By Pleasure
Both traditional and social media are exposing young people in Judah’s country to so much despite it being a more conservative culture than the United States. Judah states, “The culture is shifting, and the concept of beauty and pleasure have been perverted by lust and sexual temptation.”
There is a desire on the part of young people to push the limits of excitement and pleasure. This begins with their consumption of music, movies, advertising, and comedy. What starts out as an innocent desire to have a good time can quickly become a vice like regular exposure and even addiction to pornography, which is so readily available on the internet.
God created the world, and physical experience for us. God wants us to enjoy everything in the world, but God does not want us to be enslaved to the world, its system, and its lusts.
The Watchmen Training
In response to the shifting culture in which youth are living in Judah’s country, his ministry is developing Power for Freedom. In January of this year, they were able to train 35 youth leaders in addiction and recovery through a training program called The Watchmen, primarily focused on sexual and pornography addiction. These youth leaders facilitate youth discipleship groups in the cities and churches throughout an entire region of the country. What they learned in the training will impact over 1000 students and introduce this critical topic to 90 churches. The Watchmen is phase one of Power for Freedom.
The youth leaders who attended are strategically dedicated to serving university, high school, and middle school youth. They have a vision to influence and prepare the next generation. They are working together to launch programs that will be accepting and welcoming to students throughout the region and increase the impact of the church in the community.
The Watchmen is biblical-based Christian training focused on understanding addictive behaviors, knowing how the brain works with addiction, and defining the causes of addiction and personal dependence. It also provides resources about group therapy, therapeutic communities, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support groups. During the training, youth leaders engaged in activities like role-play support groups designed to equip and familiarize them with leading other youth. Of course, training in creating an environment of trust and confidentiality was also key.
Amy – A Youth Leader
Amy is a youth leader in her early 30’s and has years of experience in discipleship ministry with youth. She works to build up the lives of young people through investing in them. She is responsible for discipleship programs for middle school and high school in her church. Amy shared:
“This training is very unique for me and for every youth leader who attended. We are in dire need of obtaining this type of training, as it is very hard to find in our culture. This is the first time in my life I have learned about how to help provide support to adolescents and young adults who are affected by sexual addictions. Whether it is pornography or [sexual activity], the difficult thing in our society and even the church is that it reflects so much shame and disgrace. Young people involved in this kind of addiction always avoid discussing these matters. This teaching helped me put together a plan to help our young people, and teach about these things in the church, as well as helping them to learn how to talk and trust us with their problems.”
Judah says of his ministry:
“We believe there is spiritual healing in which we trust and believe that complete recovery is achieved at times from severe addictions such as drugs through a miracle or an encounter with the power of grace. This is what distinguishes our training from many secular versions. It is based on Christian and biblical foundations and is also verified by therapeutic schools of psychology.”
David – A Youth Leader
David is one of the youth leaders who attended The Footsteps of Christ training. He shared that even though he had previously participated in other training:
“…they only provided secular psychological approaches, even when the training was led by Christian organizations! But the excellent and useful thing about this training is that it presents the subject through biblical principles, clarifies a spiritual basis for dealing with the problem of sexual addictions, and also uses effective therapeutic methods and theory of psychology.”
What Others Are Saying
Aaron Arnold, past director of YouthHOPE (another ministry of New International), has been a trusted advisor to Judah as he builds the Power for Freedom program. Aaron shared that:
“I am just amazed that Judah is able to accomplish so much with the economic and political situation so horrible in his country right now. Not only is this impacting ministry but [it strongly impacts him personally]. [He is] getting his apartment fixed up and ready so that he can have a home when he gets married. He works a full-time job as the finance director for the ministry and then has been doing the Power for Freedom project as an add-on. He is also working on his MBA as well. The guy is a rockstar!”
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