Due to the pandemic, the usual TeenStreet event in Germany with thousands of young people from all over Europe, had to be cancelled. However, several TeenStreet events could take place this summer in Europe on a smaller scale, including one in France. In July, in a small coastal town in the 'Vendée', 32 young people and 9 staff from all over France were able to gather, grow in their faith and celebrate the Lord together.
As a complete stranger to Teenstreet and the only representative of my church, I had no idea what to expect. This did not stop me from bonding with the group, which was very welcoming. The good atmosphere was not limited to free time (games, sport, walks, beach), quite the contrary! It was particularly evident during the Net Groups, when we met in groups of about seven youngsters led by a coach. In a warm and caring atmosphere, we shared, asked questions and reflected on the teaching we had received during the main meetings, where we explored the central theme of the week.
By looking at the story of Moses, we learned about an invitation to journey with God, the faith needed to start it, to live it and to persevere in difficult times. We also learned the importance of remembering what God has done for His people, for us; of walking in faith and obedience, of sharing our faith and journeying together with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
There were also seminars on various topics which allowed us to ask many questions and study God’s word. The staff, however, were not only around during these teaching times. We could count on them throughout the day, whether it was for prayer, advice, or simply to chat and even laugh. There were no taboos, and we could unload our heaviest burdens without fear of being judged or rejected.
The many worship times were powerful. A time of personal testimony allowed us to share what God has done in our lives with the group. Some of us also went out on the beach and shared the Good News with passers-by and holiday-makers.
Several evenings, on the same beach, we found ourselves bearing witness to those around us simply by our behaviour: we laughed, worshipped the Lord, and our brotherly-love was evident to all. The many passers-by with whom we were able to talk, shared with us how the atmosphere seemed radiant and attractive. We showed that we could have fun and be joyful without alcohol or any other illicit substances, which intrigued them.
One evening at the beach, a staff member pointed out that many people party in order to forget their worries but as Christians, Jesus asks us to celebrate in order to remember... Him! Celebrating the Lord’s Supper, offering God our worship and giving thanks, all help us to not forget God’s many blessings and what He has done for us. We can share this Good News with those around us!
Although short, this 4-day event has renewed my faith, filled me with joy and determination in many aspects of my life. I left disappointed that I had not known TeenStreet earlier, and indeed the real TeenStreet in Germany; but I want to thank all those I met who encouraged me, advised me, challenged me, listened to me, and especially our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Glory to His name! May His peace be with you all.
Elliott (19 years old)