7 February 2015
With holidays over and life starting to get back to some normality, it was good once again to meet together for the first NSW Youth Focus Meeting (YFM) for the year 2015. We would like to thank Brother Ionel and Sister Stela Gules who opened their doors for us to hold this evening at their home and also for their hospitality.
As each one arrived, before the program started, all were offered a lovely cool drink which was truly refreshing; we all then sat at the back outdoor verandah and gardens to have our meeting. The weather was really kind to us and was very pleasant.
The Bible reading and discussion assigned for the night was found in John 10:1-18. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.”
We all took turns at reading the scripture passage, and then took part in a discussion derived from a worksheet with thirteen questions. It was good to have Br Peter Lausevic with us, as he was able to answer some questions raised from points discussed. Since Br Matthias Thiel was visiting Uranquinty, he was able to also hold a YFM for the youth from around that region, on the same topic.
Some of the questions were: Who do the sheep represent? Explain what a sheepfold is. What or who is the door, and what does Jesus mean by entering by the door? What is the benefit by entering in by the door? Explain the thieves and robbers, and what do they come to steel? Who is the Shepherd? Why do the sheep need a shepherd?
The final question was a personal one; each was to answer it for themselves and to contemplate on: Who is your shepherd?
“… What can give you greater joy than to see children and youth following Christ, the great Shepherd, who calls, and the sheep and lambs hear His voice and follow Him? What can spread more sunshine through the soul of the interested, devoted worker than to know that his persevering, patient labor is not in vain in the Lord, and to see his pupils have the sunshine of joy in their souls because Christ has forgiven their sins? What can be more satisfying to the worker together with God, than to see children and youth receiving the impressions of the Spirit of God in true nobility of character and in the restoration of the moral image of God–the children seeking the peace coming from the Prince of peace?”—Fundamentals of Christian Education p. 271.
All enjoyed a beautiful Mexican dinner followed by the closing of Sabbath. It was very lovely to also have with us from Melbourne, Matthew Boje and Melissa Mota, who were visiting Sydney.
For the past two years, Brother Chris Cosson and I have been assisting Br Matthias Thiel in leading the NSW youth. I am sure I can also speak on their behalf in thanking each one who has supported the NSW Youth Department with the many different programs held throughout the past term. We pray that through God’s continual guidance the new NSW youth leaders will be able to bring the youth even closer to our wonderful and loving Saviour.
May God help each one of us to recognise the voice of the true Shepherd and to enter through the right gate.
~ Lidia Voncina