Awesome! That is the word I heard most, and the one word I’d use to describe the 2019 National Youth Gathering of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), our sister church in the USA.
Just over 21 000 youth attended the five-day-long gathering, held in July, in Minneapolis, USA. It’s difficult to describe in words what it’s like to be part of a crowd that size – and not just any crowd (like a sporting event at a stadium) – but fellow Lutherans! Pastor Martin Paul (Pretoria) and I were very privileged to attend – the LCMS covering registration fees and accommodation, and the FELSISA Youth Organisation paying for the flights.
The overarching theme was that God is Real, that He is Present with us, and that He is in control – that He is God.
Each day started with a bible study, and then there were various presenters and talks on offer, and you could choose which to attend. Picking up on the real theme, many of the topics dealt with issues facing the youth today. Not only where these somewhat taboo topics addressed, but they were addressed in an open and straightforward manner. The problem of pornography was openly talked about; so was homosexuality, gender identity and abortion; eating disorders and body image issues were discussed; as was suicide idealisation. These very real issues were addressed head-on, and, more importantly, have very real answers. God comes to us in this broken world and is