BY MICHELLE DOUCOUMES, special contributor to Adventist Review
“Hi, my name is Lisa and this is my friend Heidi. At this time of year, most people want to make positive changes in their lives. To do our best to help, we are local Christians doing a quick community survey.”
By the time you read this, these lines will have been repeated more than 12,000 times by nearly 1,500 young people in 33 busses descending on the city of Houston, armed with surveys, literature, smiles, and prayers.
“It would take one person going out eight hours a day, every day, for six months to knock on the doors we’ll knock on today,” says Lisa Manzanares, GYC’s vice president of evangelism. GYC attendees will knock on these doors in under two hours.
“GYC has been working for many months in preparation for this major event,” says Brooke Lutz of the GYC evangelism team. “It feels exciting because now it’s all finally happening. The little things we’ve done like making maps, prayer times, and to-do lists will now become the reality of people being in the kingdom of heaven.”
The evangelistic initiative has been planned in collaboration with the Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.The Houston area has more than 75 Adventist churches in 10 major geographical areas.GYC attendees will target each of those 10 areas today.
Dan Serns, evangelism coordinator for the Texas Conference, sees GYC’s coming to Houston as a blessing from the Lord.Long before GYC approached him about this outreach, the Texas Conference had been planning to target Houston specifically between January and June of 2017.“When GYC showed up, we said, ‘Praise the Lord. Can you see if you can find 1,000 Bible studies for us?’”
Those interests won’t go to left to wither. According to Serns, the GYC outreach will be followed by more seed sowing, revival, and lay-training events, kicking off with a major training event on January 14 where approximately 500 lay members will come together and receive interests to follow up on from GYC. Then in April, the Houston area will hold more than 60 evangelistic reaping meetings, including ten by Andrews University seminary field school students. “We are thrilled that GYC has come to Houston to help us with our mission!” says Serns.
"I hope that the people of Houston will be majorly impacted and will see a picture of the gospel they’ve never seen before."
Participants are eager for this opportunity as well. Angelina Boampong says, “Last year at GYC in Louisville, KY, my friend and I went to this home and they were really happy we were there. My friend was from the area and connected them with the local church and agencies that could help them. I feel like every time we go out it’s just a blessing because you meet someone who’s really wanting to know about God.”
This year Angelina signed up to be one of the bus leaders for the outreach. “I wanted to encourage others to have a good experience like I did.”
Queenette Jenkins attended the GYC pre-conference outreach here in Houston during which participants passed out more than 1,000,000 GLOW tracts and other literature.Now she’s assisting with the main conference outreach.“I was absolutely blown away,” Jenkins says. The sheer number of people allows the outreach to be more powerful than you could experience at home.You feel the energy, the passion, the love for Christ.It’s really, really encouraging.It inspired me to continue at home - to go back and see if I can put the fire in more people.”
And that’s the goal. “I hope that the attendees themselves will be impacted to continue evangelism and to realize they can do it anywhere, anytime,” says Lutz.“And most importantly, I hope that the people of Houston will be majorly impacted and will see a picture of the gospel they’ve never seen before.”