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The best way to share the love of God (the Gospel) with the Indigenous youths is to build good relationships with them first and opening their hearts. When they open their hearts to us, we are called to heal their wounds and brokenness by the blood of Jesus Christ. Further, encouraging them to live the life in the Lord Jesus with new purpose and vision given by God.

We do not expect you to accomplish everything in 3 nights and 4 days’ time. Nor should you rush through the steps and try to fulfill everything in one go. At AYC, our focus is on becoming friends with the Indigenous youths and building good relationships with them long term. When their hearts have begun to open, approach them bit by bit, one step at a time. After the AYC camp is over, continue praying for them that they may experience the presence of God when they return to their lives.

The following is a helpful guideline for us to familiarize prior to the camp to maximize the quality of time we have with Indigenous youths:

1. Be a friend, not a teacher.

Forming a good connection is a priority. Take advantage of the afternoon activity time and free time to bond with the youths by playing sports and games together. Always prioritize taking care of your own small group Indigenous youths over volunteers or other youths that you may already have connections with.

2. Take the initiative to share first.

Rather than pushing the youths to share during the small group, taking the initiative to share about yourself and your life will help them feel more comfortable and inclined to share about themselves as well. When they do start sharing, please pay attention to what they are saying. The purpose of the small group is not to preach and teach, but to provide a safe space for the youths and the leaders to share and break down the walls in each other’s hearts. Sharing theme/topic is up to the leaders to decide however, referring to the theme/topic from the sermon shared by the guest speaker during the worship service is ideal and recommended.

3. Prepare personal testimonies.

Sharing testimonies is highly recommended, especially your personal testimonies. Share with the youths how you met God, how He changed you and your life, the grace and love He has poured unto you, and how He is continuously working in your life and growing you for the better. Encourage the youths by letting them know that God is with them, and that He desires to do great and miraculous works in their lives too.

4. Keep the secret.

Please keep whatever personal/sensitive information the youths shared with you confidential. Do not share them with others on your own accord, especially on social media. Please do not take advantage of their vulnerability for the purpose of your own testimony or gain.

5. Discover their talents and gifts and encourage them.

As you spend time with your small group youths, help them discover their interests and talents. Encourage them to use it for God’s glory and His Kingdom.

6. Be careful and thoughtful during consultation/discussion. When sharing about the teachings of the Bible, be sure to check with yourself whether you know the doctrine properly before you share with the youths. When talking about issues regarding sin such as homosexuality, ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom first and avoid getting into arguments. Be honest with the youths when you are unsure of something and connect with leaders or ministers for topics and parts you have difficulty answering.

7. Encourage them to attend their local church.

During AYC, encourage the youths to return to or start attending church in their local town. Let them know that God is not only present at AYC, but He is with them wherever they are and the best way to feel connected to God is by being a part of a church community.

8. Be a prayer warrior throughout the camp.

Continue to intercede for your small group youths throughout the camp. Take note of each youth’s prayer requests and continue to pray for them after the camp is over.

There are things to watch for during the AYC camp. Take the time to familiarize each points mentioned below:

1. Do not mingle with other leaders/sub leaders. Please be with your small group youth members for the duration of the camp and try to avoid mingling with other leaders. Try your best to always stay with your small group youths. Some youths may not want to leave their room and some youths may not stay with you and take off to be with their friends. In these instances, it is not a must to stay with your youths but keep your eyes on them and be in the know of their whereabouts.

2. Speak English only. When Indigenous youth is present, do not speak other languages (especially Korean) besides English to avoid making them feel isolated and left out.

3. Do not force the youths to share. Small Group Handbook is used as a guide to lead the small group meetings efficiently and effectively. In the Part 4 section of this handbook, there are some questions that the youths may feel reluctant to answer due to personal reasons. Please do not pressure them to share if they are uncomfortable. Particularly, be mindful of asking questions related to family as it could be a sensitive topic for them. Talking about the love of parents and the importance of family may not be the wisest topic to share with the youths.

4. Do not force the youths to participate in the program.

Building relationship comes before programs. Do not force the small group youths to participate in the programs. Some youths may not participate in worship service, and some may not join in the small group meeting. Instead of pressuring or forcing them to participate, try to gently persuade them by conversing with them. If they start opening up to you during the conversation, continue engaging in the conversation even if the program starts. Be cautious of making any expressions that may be perceived as suppression.

5. No rushing. Do not expect that all youths will open their hearts to you in the short period of 3 nights and 4 days. AYC ministry is a long-term relationship-based mission. Get to know each other genuinely and continue to keep them in your prayers when you return from the camp.

6. Be cautious of making promises or commitments. The smallest promises we blurt out may mean a lot to the Indigenous youths. Please be very conscious of making promises or commitments and only do so if you can keep it for sure.

7. Watch what you wear. Avoid wearing short skirts, shorts, and leggings. Too much exposed skin or going shirtless due to hot weather is discouraged to minimize any possibility of being seen as provocative to the youths.

8. Boys with male leaders, girls with female leaders. Avoid physical contact with the opposite gender youths, including the time when you are praying for them. No hugging. If a youth from an opposite gender comes to you for help or personal advice, connect the youth to same gender leader. Be careful to not be in a confined space with a youth from an opposite gender.

Among the leadership, steer away from spending personal time with leader of opposite gender, even if it is a family member.

9. Leave your valuables at home. Do not bring valuables to the camp. If you have, keep it locked in a safe place such as a car. We want to avoid having unfavourable circumstances due to someone losing their valuables as much as we can. Losing one’s valuable item often leads to suspecting someone which could lead to misunderstandings and hurtful situations for people involved. Please try your best to prevent this from happening.

10. Be aware of condemning languages and judging tones. If you witness the Indigenous youths smoking, do not use authoritative tone, or judge them. Just like how we do not judge or condemn the physically disabled, these Indigenous youths may be going through a lot of suffering internally and their actions are simply symptoms of the sickness they are bearing in their hearts. See past what is seen on the outside and put your focus on their hearts. Think about what God would say to them and approach them with compassion and mercy and guide them with words of encouragement and God’s love for them.

11. Lay down your biased view.

We may have certain ways of looking at the Indigenous people which is biased and ultimately unglorifying to God. Indigenous youths are not below us nor are they people we should have pity towards just because of their brokenness and unfortunate situations. We are the same in God’s eyes and we are by no means better than others just because we are serving them. Take the posture of humility as Jesus did for us and please do not view Indigenous youths as problematic people regardless of their actions. Be good friends with them with a humble and a loving heart.


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