“Authentic” is a word to sum up the youths from the Institutes of Technical Education (ITE). True and earnest in friendship, they look for real friendships.
Student ‘K’ was interested to find out more about Christ. In our early interaction, he had many questions about God and injustice in the world. In a nutshell, his worldview was ‘life according to Quora’. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome* and being from another country, ‘K’ had few friends here and often took to the virtual world for his answers in life. He came faithfully for our evangelistic Bible studies and learnt about God’s ways, finding answers from the Bible. He continued to join us and before his enlistment, even joined us to share the gospel during the Easter period last year. He felt we genuinely care for him.
Two other ITE youths we encountered have graduated to polytechnic but continue to reach ITE youths with us. Coming from financially difficult families, they work part-time to pay for their own expenses and contribute to their households.
Oftentimes they seek our counsel regarding their future and family problems. We walk alongside them, advising them about the polytechnics and courses to choose and accompanying them to seek help from relevant government offices for their families’ medical and financial needs. They now lead in the ministry, actively reaching ITE youths with empathy and genuine concern. They also set aside part of their holidays for Project Serve where we allow them to raise a small allowance for basic daily expenses and we thank God for sending supporters who give to them.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? (James 2:15-16)
What do we need to reach ITE youths? More volunteers (like Liwen, Jeremy and Weiqiang, centrefold) with genuine hearts for them and will walk alongside them as they transit into adulthood; people who will support them as they labour for the gospel during their school holidays; avenues to part-time jobs that will grow them in the workplace.
As we share the gospel with ITE youths, we also share life with them. To reach the lost, we have to be real.