3,200 teenagers and adults from all over Europe (and beyond) came together to TeenStreet (TS) 2018 in Oldenburg, Germany—a week full of worship, Jesus, passion, life and fun. As different as all the countries, cultures, backgrounds and churches might be, one thing connects everyone at TS: they know Jesus and want to grow closer in their relationship with Him.
But this is not true for 2.8 billion people in this world, who have never heard the name of Jesus. Never! This year’s Global Village (GV) at TS focussed on these people. Teenagers boarded a train with Scatter Railways, the GV train company, and ended up in an environment amidst people who needed to hear about Jesus.
“We wanted to create an experience where the teenagers have multiple opportunities to share Jesus and get aware of that big amount of people who do not know Jesus,” shared GV leader Daniel Lowe (US), who is serving with OM in Ireland. “We called it Scatter Railways because we want to mobilise the teens to scatter the message of Christ around the globe, to the least reached in foreign countries or possibly right down the road where they live and work.”
During their ‘train ride’, the teenagers heard about the 2.8 billion people who do not know Jesus; most of the teenagers were shocked. “We didn’t know about this,” or, “This has to be changed,” were their most common reactions. Once they reached their destination—Global Village—they encountered all sorts of people, many with different lives and backgrounds but all in need of a loving Saviour.
The GV actors were amazed by the boldness and faith of the TS teenagers. “One girl told me that she learnt about the names of God this week at TS,” shared one actress, “and when I shared my story about my character, the teen was reminded that God is the Provider. So she told me that God wants to be my Provider, too. That was really cool!”
This year for the very first time in seven years, all 239 TS small groups were assigned a time slot to go through GV before TS started. “We are glad that we are able to let all small groups and a good number of Service Team during the RAG race through Global Village,” Daniel said. “To our own surprise, no group missed their spot. They seemed to appreciate the fact that we made it possible for all to go through Global Village this year.”
At the end of their travel with Scatter Railways, teenagers were brought to the OM stand in the TS Interaction Zone, where they could take a fun picture in front of a green screen loaded with photos from around the OM world. There, they also heard more about OM and missions. “We are amazed that over 100 teens already signed up to get more information about Teens in Missions,” Daniel said.
Mpumi Maweni (South Africa), who serves with OM in Europe, was one of the mobilisers at the OM stand. Even before the first group of teens came from GV to the OM stand, he shared about OM and missions when he met a group of Portuguese girls who started to ask some questions. When they found out that Mpumi was a missionary, he shared his story.
“While I was talking, one of the girls [experienced] something, a calling,” he remembered. “She looked to me and said, ‘God just spoke to me right now about my calling.’”
Mpumi told the girl, 16, that he was also called into missions at a young age—14 years old. “The more I talked, the more she cried,” Mpumi continued. “After that conversation, we prayed with her. And she said that she discovered her calling even more. So she signed up for Teens in Missions because she thinks that the next step for her.”
Miriam* is another OM worker, based in the Middle East. Her prayer was to find people during lunch and dinner times to share about OM and her passion for the Middle East. One day, she was able to talk to four girls from Switzerland and Austria. “All four were listening intensely to my story of how I became a missionary,” she recalled. “At the end one girl said that this is amazing because they just came back from a seminar about finding God’s will for [your] life and that she was going to have a coffee with the lady who led this seminar and who was another GV worker.”
Only God could choose—out of the thousands of people at TS—a girl who had gone to a seminar held by a GV mobiliser, sat at lunch with another and then went back to the first person to have coffee with her, because she wanted to talk about her future. Through GV and divinely appointed meetings, the gospel of Jesus was scattered across TS; now it will spread into the homes and schools of all the teenagers and adult volunteers, and, eventually, around the globe to the least reached. Because 2.8 billion people still need to hear about Jesus.
*Name changed for security