Fire for the Nations

This is Daphne Kirk:

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Daphne and her son, daughter, and niece form the leadership team for their ministry, "Generation 2 generation." Their vision is to equip young people to follow hard after Jesus and to influence their generation for Him. When we went to the Fire for the Nations conference 2 weekends ago at the YWAM base in Harpenden, UK, I expected training in "intergenerational ministry," – basically, I was hoping to gain more information about how to better involve our children in church services and small group time. What happened instead was that we got to watch Daphne at work as she spoke straight to the 30+ teens that were there. She was amazing – she's 64 years old and she was bouncing around the room, trying to fire up the kids during worship times. She also brought things to the kids' attention that they probably had never heard before – for example, we watched a DVD of Steven Curtis Chapman telling the story of the Ecuador martyrs of the 1950's (Jim Elliott and Nate Saint being two of them).

One particularly moving session was when we spent 2 hours praying for the persecuted church of North Korea. I never knew this, but if you live in North Korea and are caught singing a foreign song, stealing food to survive, or trying to escape the country, you and your entire family – grandparents and young kids included – are sent to labor camps where eventually everyone dies from execution, hard labor, or starvation. This isn't necessarily religious persecution, but it's what all of the North Koreans have to deal with. The Christians in North Korea are a special target, though – there have been stories of teachers standing up in front of their classrooms of 5- and 6-year-olds and telling them, "Go home tonight, and look throughout your house. If you find a book that looks like this [and here the teacher holds up a Bible], don't tell anyone that you're taking it, and bring it to me tomorrow and you will get a special dinner." For these kids who are starving (since the daily ration of food in North Korea is only a handful of corn), a special dinner is such an enticing treat, and they go home and search their homes. The next day a couple of them will come back to school with a Bible that they've found, and when they return home, their parents will have been taken away.

During another session, Daphne distributed information sheets on the countries in the 10/40 Window, and we prayed over them. In general, Daphne did a great job getting us to focus on things that were happening globally. We don't often do that regularly, at least I don't, so it was good to have some time to let my heart be burdened with the things other people face daily, such as poverty, isolation, and persecution.

The most "fun" sessions of the conference were the times we spent in team building. Here's Noris with a blindfold on, being directed to our bag, Bag #5:

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And here's Any helping to carry people from one end of our square to another:

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The team-building sessions helped teach us about "kingdom principles" (such as helping out other teams so everyone can win) versus "earthly principles" (such as competing against the other teams and having only one winner).

To sum up the conference, it wasn't about sitting and learning about theories of intergenerational ministry (which is what I had expected), it was about seeing this kind of ministry in action. The seven of us who attended the conference from Vida Nueva came back asking how we could start incorporating what we'd learned into our church service, Sunday school, small groups, and homes. Any also told me that she had just read a book about making up a discipleship plan for your kids. She said that everyone plans things out – we have agendas for what we want to get done at work, at home, and at school – but rarely do we plan out how we're going to disciple our kids. I know for Nate and me, sometimes we just think that the kids are going to learn things through osmosis – either from watching us or from being in Sunday school. But coming away from this conference, and after hearing about Any's book, I feel much more purposeful about sitting down with Nate and coming up with things that we can do as a family to help the kids grow in their knowledge and love of Jesus, and in their love for their friends.

So, our time in London was definitely a whirlwind trip, but it was worth it in many respects (even apart from being in the land of Pride and Prejudice!). I'm glad I went – I learned a lot.

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