Where would I be without the AMCA International Youth Group?
I don't quite know the answer to that question, but it wouldn't be here and now. Granted, I would probably still be on the mission field with my parents, I would still be at the same school, but would I be the same person inside? Would I have the same understanding of my faith and what it means to have a relationship with God if it hadn't been for AMCA Youth Group? Perhaps. God does great things and goes to great lengths to reach out to us. I feel strongly, however, and always tell people that I would not be where I am today in my Christian walk without AMCA IYG. That is because AMCA is different from any other Youth Group I have ever been a part of. Allow me to explain.
I grew up on the mission field. As you can imagine, I've always gone to church, always heard about Jesus, knew all my bible stories, always known that Jesus loves us and we're supposed to love Jesus. However, too often, the Gospel is not fully explained, the good news not preached, and the message of Christ's redeeming grace not taken to the Missionary Kids. It's easy, after all, to assume that, since this person grew up in the Church their whole lives, they must be "good". There's no need to try and preach Christ to them. They already have a good relationship with their Lord and Savior (and by extension must have an understanding of what that even means). Unfortunately, that's all too often FALSE! Just because we're missionary kids doesn't mean we quite understand what it is that our parents preach! In fact, there's a very good chance that, having heard the message of Salvation preached all of our lives, we've grown entirely numb to its message; it's just a part of our lives, nothing more—we don't really know what it means. Sadly, that means that while the Good News of Salvation is being preached all around us, we silently ride shotgun and never get to absorb the message that is being taught, because it isn't being taught to us.
That's where AMCA International Youth Group comes in. AMCA is unique, because it is the only place I have ever come across that teaches the Bible to MKs in an environment made up of only MKs. For the first time, it wasn't assumed that I knew everything about the Bible, nor was I the odd one out anymore, because everyone was in the same boat as I was! It was at AMCA IYG that I learned about the basic doctrines of the faith (the faith I thought I had all this time), based solely on God's Word and nothing more. It's the only place where I was truly challenged in my walk with Christ. In fact, it was the place where I realized that I needed to have a walk with Christ, not just watch my parents walk their own walk. I had never had the book of Romans taught to me, never had concepts like Grace explained. In fact, I now know looking back that, even after being baptized at age 12, I still had no grasp of the concept that I am a sinner by nature and God, in His perfect love and grace, sent his literal Son to die a horrid death so that I wouldn't have to.—A Missionary Kid, and I didn't understand the basic message of salvation! It was at AMCA Youth Group that I was taught and nurtured until I could truly understand all these things—at least enough so that I now had my own relationship with Christ, not someone else's.
Over the years I would become more and more involved in Youth Group, and I would eventually be asked to be a part of the Student Leadership team. I would later go on to lead worship at Youth Group—something I never would have foreseen four or five years ago and a tool that God has used to change and shape me into something more useful and gratifying to Him. Since then I have had the opportunity to give back some of what I was given through the AMCA Youth Group, leading peers and younger Youth Groupers in the same way I was led and blessed by Student Leaders only a few years ago—by example and service.
I can't tell you how much of a blessing AMCA IYG has been to me and countless other MKs that I know personally. AMCA is where I have developed my relationship with Christ. It is where God has taught me the most and shaped me the most. I don't know where I would be without AMCA International Youth Group.
[name removed] 17, High School Senior