Youth for Christ chief at Yarmouth 2020 Vision evening
The National Director of Youth for Christ, Neil O’Boyle, gave a clear message of encouragement at the East Norfolk Youth for Christ 2020 Vision evening in Great Yarmouth. Tony Mallion was at the evening.
Neil was the keynote speaker at the event, aimed at giving all Christians with a heart for young people an opportunity to come and find out what is going on in the region, and what changes are afoot for 2020. His message was ‘The past is great, the present is better, the best is yet to come’.
ENYFC, whose slogan is ‘Seeing young people’s live changed by Jesus’, is partnered with Youth for Christ nationally. It works with young people of high school age sharing the gospel of Jesus in an up to date and relevant way, providing pastoral care, a safe meeting space, evening drop ins, and subsidised weekend camps.
The local organisation was set up in 2007, and initially called Unite, with the aim of establishing youth work throughout the whole borough. Five years later after it had helped to create Identity, a separate youth project serving the Gorleston area. Unite then changed its name and focussed on the town of Great Yarmouth where it has its office in Howard Street South and runs activities including a drop in Bible study and a very successful weekly youth cafe held at the Salvation Army Citadel.
The 2020 Vision evening was held in the dining hall of the Great Yarmouth Charter Academy where a lot of the pastoral work is carried out each week. Director Ali Roberts explained how they had started building a relationship with the Charter Academy with an annual week long mission organised by the national YFC band The Sense.
‘Once Identity was established everything changed’, she explained. We continued to invest in young people and to trust God for Great Yarmouth town. We had more regular contact with the school.’ The youth cafe was set up and a generous donation provided funding to maintain work for several years.
After full time worker Matt Irwin left in 2014 Ali, who had been with ENYFC since it began as both a trustee and administrator, took over as director. This included regularly going into the school to meet the young people at lunchtimes. ‘I was totally out of my comfort zone’ she said but God gave her the strength to do this and school assemblies.
‘God has done more than we can ever imagine. He has always given more than we have ever needed’ said Ali. But she also announced to the meeting she felt it was time for her to stand down after 13 years. ‘God told me I would be moving on and now the time has come. I am excited to see what God is going to do in the future’.
Amilcar Formoso, a member of the Portuguese congregation at Park Baptist Church, has been working with the charity for almost a year and is involved with the Theos group which helps young people in discipleship and exploring the Christian faith as well as the schools work.
Since January, Zach Wilson also joined ENYFC. Originally from Seattle he and his wife felt called to work with young people in Yarmouth. ‘My heart is for youth and unpacking Scripture. I love doing this with this generation. It’s exciting what God is doing’.
Also standing down from ENYFC was founder trustee Richard Child who helped set up Unite with its first director Matt Gooch.
Neil O’Boyle, pictured right, said ‘Don’t fear transition. Vision is what it is all about. It doesn’t matter what happened in the past but what happens in the future. It’s all about God. Even though we may be in a time of transition the mission hasn’t changed. It’s not just well done good and faithful servants; the mission has to continue. The past is great, the present is better, the best is yet to come because we still have the message to take – the message of lives being changed by the power of Jesus.’
Ali and Richard were thanked by ENYFC chairman Nigel Parrott who presented them with gifts. Worship was led by Claire Timothy, Jay Menon and Zach Wilson. An appeal was made for more volunteers and continued financial support.
Pictured, top, are Ali Roberts, Zach Wilson and Amilcar Formoso.
Both pictures are courtesy of Tony Mallion.
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