In His Steps
Feb 14, 2023 | 3 min read | Dave Patty
It takes perseverance to reach the lost.
Before Covid, there were over 50 young people attending the Fusion choir at the Matthews church in Riga, Latvia. Then, the limitations brought on by social distancing made weekly practices very difficult and concerts impossible. When the restrictions were finally lifted, the Fusion group was small and struggling. On a good day, about 15 would show up for practice, and most were young people who had grown up in the church.
This discouraged Emils because he knew how effectively Fusion could reach unsaved students. He had joined a Fusion choir himself at 12 years of age so he could learn to play the drums. His mom tried to dissuade him, fearing that something terrible could happen. “They’ll turn you into a Baptist,” she warned.
After watching how faith was authentically lived out by the Fusion leaders and learning more about God through the weekly Bible Studies, Emils put his faith in Christ. Now he serves on the JV Latvia team and leads this local Fusion choir—ironically, in a Baptist church.
His first idea was to do a PR campaign on the streets of the city. Dressed up as a guitar, Emils handed out invitation fliers to hundreds of young people. His team of leaders even tried Scottish dancing to draw interest and attention.
Still, despite all their efforts, no new students showed up at their weekly meetings. Then one of his team members had an idea. “What if we went to the places no one else wants to go, to the local youth crisis centers and orphanages?”
Because of the holiday rush, only one crisis center responded to their e-mails. Emils took some instruments and his team with him, did a short concert, and started teaching the orphans how to make music. Something about the experience bonded them all together, and, when they left, it was like saying goodbye on the last day of camp. Everyone was hugging and saying they would miss them.
That week, six new young people showed up at Fusion practice—the next week, eight, and the next eleven. With the holidays behind them, his team called another crisis center to see if they could continue their outreach. “We were just about to call you,” came the unexpected response on the other end of the phone. “The orphanage told us what has happened there because of your visit, and we were hoping you would come to our center as well.”
It takes effort to bridge the gap from a local church to the lost world. Yet, Jesus always took the initiative to go to the difficult places, saying, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
Thanks for helping us walk in his steps,
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