“YOU +” CONFERENCE ATTRACTS 800 CHRISTIAN YOUTH
On May 30, approximately 800 young national Christians gathered in Chisinau, the capital city of Moldova, for “You +”—a special event that was part of a “Time to Live!” rally sponsored by Russian Ministries in the former Soviet Union. About 100 young people from non-Christian backgrounds also participated in the event.
The conference was designed for youth to look at themselves from a positive perspective—no small feat in a country where young people face unemployment, alcohol and drug abuse and even human trafficking. Moldova ranks first in human trafficking in Europe.
However, through the redemptive work of Christ, God has a positive perspective on these young national believers. The conference zeroed in on 2 Peter 1:13, which states that God has blessed His followers with the gift of righteousness, and in Him they are strong. Young people are already a “plus” in God’s eyes, in church and in society.
This theme was emphasized by local Pastors Peter Litnevsky and Viktor Myrza, who are passionate about reaching out to youth, along with Michael Cherenkov, vice-president of Russian Ministries’ in-country affiliate, the Association of Spiritual Renewal. (Cherenkov traveled from Kiev, Ukraine to attend the event.)
Three local churches in Chisinau participated in the conference, with the support of 15 other local congregations. The three main churches were Agape Church, Light to the World, and the Veritas church—a church “without walls.” The Association for Spiritual Renewal/Russian Ministries initiated and funded this rally that motivated and mobilized the Next Generation to be proactive in their Christian walk and witness.
Along with the seminars, “You +” also featured Sergei Briksa, a popular musician and the band “Sons of Day,” from the U.S. They filled the meeting with music and their positive attitudes toward their faith. The musicians also talked about their return to Jesus after a period of meaningless wanderings. They are now using their talents in evangelizing this young generation.
About 20 students from Chisinau’s School Without Walls volunteered at the meeting, and passed out fliers, greeted and seated participants, maintained order in the facility, and put into practice some of the training they received in the classroom.
Near the end of the conference, participants were challenged to renew their commitment for ministry. A sea of hands went up in the packed community center as an affirmation that God is at work, and that “YOU+” is in fact God working through them.
“Each time I see young people who are being inspired for the ministry and rejoicing in Jesus, I realize that all of our efforts were not in vain. It’s worth the risk to give ourselves for their sake, for the sake of the Kingdom in their hearts, and for the One who saved us all,” declared Vladimir Ubeyvolk, director of Russian Ministries’ ministry center in Moldova.
Many young people came that night with intention only to listen to the music and left with their hearts changed for deeper commitment and ready to spread His Kingdom. As the young people left the conference, hundreds of excited voices echoed, “You are a plus.” And indeed this Next Generation is a plus to God, their churches and society—a positive force poised to bring Jesus to their generation.
Conference organizers were pleased to see a group of 20 teenagers from an orphanage at the event. Afterwards, they connected with Christian youth, and asked all s orts of questins about the issues the “You +” conference addressed.
Here are some comments from participants.
“Thank you very much for setting up the festival. These days we hear so much about what we should do, and so little about who we are.”—Inna
“We had a blast! Briksa and our pastors explored and showed to us the other side of our minds—the positive one.”—Sergei
“Before this event I just couldn’t visualize how people from various denominations could simply be together, vibrantly rejoicing in God, and not blaming one another.”—Pavel
“I was pleasantly surprised that no one at the meeting attempted to advertise their own church, instead the organizers would encourage us to stick to our churches and inspired us to live out a ‘plus’ lifestyle.”—Anya