HEARTBREAK AND HOPELESSNESS
She was just 15 years old … on her way to the market to pick up a few things for her mom. When a neighbor called Carina over and said his wife had a message for her mother, Carina followed him into the house — Where the neighbor assaulted and raped her.
Carina’s body was battered … her emotions shattered … her heart broken.
In her homeland of Guatemala, as in so many nations around the world, there’s shame associated with sexual assault. Carina wanted to retreat to her bedroom and never step out into the world again.
Her family reported the assault, and the man is being prosecuted for his crime. But Carina was living with the aftermath, too. And her mother feared the horror and depression would cause her to commit suicide. She asked the local pastor for help. He shared our Counterculture Book of Hope with Carina and visited her often to remind her of God’s love and care.
Today, Carina and her mother are both following Christ as Savior and attending their local church. Carina is recovering from depression and is no longer suicidal. Every day, her family and her church family see her recover more peace and joy.
HOW YOU HELP TEENAGERS CHOOSE LIFE!
by President Rob Hoskins
God’s heart breaks for the hurting in our community, so should ours. I know He wants us to do more, to be proactive in where we spend our time — especially caring for young people. Trouble will come, and when it does, we need to be there, ready to be a conduit broadcasting the lifesaving message of hope.
Let’s dive into what our recent Global Youth Culture research discovered about today’s teens’ personal experiences and struggles.
- 1 in 4 teens globally report having had suicidal thoughts within the last three months.
- 1 in 14 teens say they actually attempted to take their own life within the same time period.
Our response as a global youth ministry?
We are working with partners in Eurasia and Russia, where the World Health Organization (WHO) says suicide rates are highest, to address the mental health issues of Gen Z. In Africa we are engaging national youth networks and high school teacher forums to have conversations around the mental health crisis and high drug usage, in order to create contextualized resources that equip youth leaders and teachers.
There’s more to be done, but the research project gave us the foundation for knowing which direction to go. It showed us the physical and emotional temptations and struggles teens experience may be frightening, but by being aware of their reality, we can move from informed to empathic to action.
Thank you for being part of the ongoing efforts to share God’s Word with teenagers and give them new hope in Christ!
Forgiveness, hope, and new life in Christ— In the Muslim world
Kachela lives in a majority Muslim nation where Christians are often persecuted, treated as second-class citizens — even at risk of being prosecuted for crimes like blasphemy against Islam.
Yet even here, OneHope partners are sharing the Good News with children and youth.
Kachela is a seventh grader, and she jumped at the opportunity to go to Sunday School with a Christian friend. It’s a small Children’s Ministry with all ages meeting together and going through the God’s Big Story program.
“All of the children were playing and singing together and listening to the stories,” Kachela remembers. “The character of Jesus inspired me, especially His humility. He forgave all His enemies and treated them well.”
This made Kachela think of situations in her own life where she found it hard to forgive — and treated others disrespectfully. She was glad to hear the teacher say that God could help her make changes in her life.
“At that time, I started praying for forgiveness,” Kachela says.
“I accepted Jesus as my personal Savior, and after that moment, I started to walk with God. Now, my every step is taken in Him. I am a new person in Him.”
Today, Kachela has found a loving church family where she is growing in her faith. Thank you for reaching out to her with the love of Jesus! She has been transformed by the power of God’s Word.
Global Youth Culture: Insight from a Digital Generation
We surveyed thousands of teens worldwide… what we found was shocking
Last year, OneHope surveyed over 8,300 teens between the ages of 13-19 across 20 nations and in 14 languages.
Answers regarding their inner lives and outward behaviors were complex, and we were heartbroken when we learned about some of their struggles. Globally, depression, anxiety, and hopelessness are higher than we ever imagined.
However, we also learned that an active, committed faith can make a substantial difference in the face of these challenges. See the chart below to get an idea of the struggles of young people, along with the impact of being, what we call, a Committed Christian.
Committed Christians demonstrated core theological beliefs and key spiritual disciplines including regularly reading their Bible, praying, believing that the Bible is God’s Word, that they can have a personal relationship with God, and that forgiveness of sins is only possible through Jesus Christ — the Son of God. Note that these respondents self-identify as Christian, but not as Jehovah’s Witness or Mormon.
Timing was everything, as we conducted the surveys for this Global Youth Culture research. Data for this study was collected from February 24, 2020, to March 27, 2020.
You can access more from our Global Youth Culture research.
This research accurately reflects teens’ beliefs and behaviors before they began feeling widespread effects from shelter in place and quarantine orders, which might be expected to affect data points.
The project delves into the mindset and behaviors of young people regarding spirituality, sexuality, digital connectedness, and much more.
If you and your church would like access to the findings of our multi-nation survey, you can download reports and resources at globalyouthculture.net.
“GOD WAS LEADING ME FROM THE VERY BEGINNING …”
Seven-year-old Nikita was enchanted by the children’s festival. He loved the games, music, prizes, fun! When the invitation came at the end of the festival for children to come to Sunday School, Nikita wanted to attend.
In his hometown in Estonia, he was being raised by a single mom who was happy for Nikita to receive positive direction in his young life … especially because Nikita was a somewhat difficult child, even at his young age.
“I started attending the Bible lessons and became an active part of the group,” Nikita remembers, but, he adds, “I was so talkative and mischievous that the teachers just couldn’t cope with me!” They didn’t kick him out of Sunday School, but they did find him to be a major distraction.
He didn’t do well in school either — he disrespected teachers. He fought with other students and began stealing from other people. “Breaking the school rules became the norm for me,” he says.
Later, he was expelled and placed in a new school … the same troubles began. But now, 4 years later, the offenses were much worse, especially the stealing. The school principal told Nikita’s mother he had to leave the school or Nikita would be reported to the police!
No other school in the city would have him. Nikita and his mother moved back to the small village where Mom used to live — a place where no one knew of Nikita’s troubles, and maybe, he could start fresh …
This was where he attended a OneHope Summer Camp — and remembered the blissful days of Sunday School when he was just a small child.
“I had an encounter with Jesus Christ, and I began to attend church again,” he says. Nikita received the Way of the Champion Book of Hope and learned more about Jesus. Soon, he was baptized.
Today at age 17, Nikita is now following Jesus and serves as a sound tech at his church.
“God was leading me, from the very beginning of my life until now,” he says. “Jesus keeps knocking at the door of every person’s heart. My life is an example of this.”
NATION BY NATION
SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE — A TEENAGER FINDS THE LOVE OF JESUS AND HEALING
The African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe may seem remote from the modern world, but it really isn’t. There’s TV, internet, social media … and all of the pressure on young people to be attractive and cool. But Suazy didn’t feel that way at all.
“I despised myself so much!” she remembers. “I couldn’t look in the mirror. I didn’t like my body or my appearance.” But then she received the Book of Hope. “I discovered the value I have in God,” she says today. “I feel more confident. I have changed radically because Jesus saved me!”
Thank you for sending God’s Word to Suazy to show her how beloved and beautiful she is in God’s eyes.
God’s Word. Every Child.
TRANSFORMED BY THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD!
Like so many teenagers everywhere, Dinith was struggling to fit in — to find his group and the place he would be known and welcomed.
And like too many teenage boys, the group he joined was the troublemakers on the streets. They skipped school, smoked, drank … the neighbors thought poorly of him, and his parents were upset with his behavior, too!
Then Pastor David, a OneHope partner from a nearby town, came to Dinith’s neighborhood and shared the Book of Hope with him and other children and youth, telling them about Jesus and encouraging them to read the book and learn more.
Dinith was excited about what he read. Pastor David offered to come to his home — and soon, the whole family had heard the Gospel message! Dinith was transformed by the story of Jesus, and he committed to give up his bad habits and get back in school.
Today there’s peace in the family, and Dinith has made peace with the neighbors, too. Pastor David conducts special services in the community, since there’s no local church yet, and we’re praying the whole family will soon come to faith in Christ.
Thank you for sending God’s Word to transform Dinith and his parents, too!
$1 shares the Gospel with 3 children. How many will you reach?