By Sister Grace Nartey-Addo
The youth of the First Abuja Parish recently joined other young Presbyterians across the country to mark this year’s Young People’s Association of Nigeria (PYPAN) Emphasis Week. The week-long activity under the theme “The Strong and Courageous Youth,’’ started on Monday 19 August, and ended on Sunday 25 August 2019.
Activities marking the week-long celebration included praying, fasting, and Bible Studies on the sub-theme, “fear not.’’ The Bible Studies were conducted solely by the youth on Tuesday, 20 August 2019. Midweek Service also solely conducted by the PYPAN on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, featured a message delivered by Engr Okechuku Ude on the topic: ‘’Be Strong in the Lord’’ (Ephesians 6:10). There was Musical Drama on Friday 23, 2019, while the youth went hiking at Usman Dam on Saturday 24, 2019.
Sunday, August 25, 2019, was the climax of the activities for the Emphasis Week. In his goodwill message, the National Youth Desk Coordinator of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria (PCN), Rev. Lekwauwa Eke, congratulated the youth for another glorious time in the presence of the Lord. He acknowledged that the Presbyterian Church is blessed with young dynamic zealous and committed youth, who are the strength, life wire and future of the church.
The PYPAN Desk Coordinator noted that the theme for this year’s celebration was selected to highlight how God is raising young men and women who will totally trust and stand for Him without fear or intimidation. Like the three Hebrew boys, Esther, and recently Leah Sharibu, who stood out among their peers despite persecution, Rev Eke said that God is today looking for the Shadrachs, Meshachs, Abednegos, Josephs, and more Leahs in the PCN who will not compromise their faith or defile themselves irrespective of the consequences in our homes, offices, schools and government.
Continuing, Rev Eke explained that being courageous means standing with God and His promises to overcome the giants such as cultism, evil company, and other sins that hinder us from entering our promise land. While expressing gratitude to the leadership of the PCN, Rev Eke encouraged parents to courageously support and defend the youth in their personal and collective struggles in order to give them a sense of belonging within the church and the family.
In a sermon titled, ‘’Strong and Courageous Youth,’’ Miss Ubok-Ubong Asanga explained that being strong and courageous means overcoming fear, bracing ourselves against all odds, and being brave in doing the extraordinary (Det. 31:6). Miss Asanga cited some Bible characters who were strong and courageous in their time. For the youth, being strong, according to the preacher, requires putting on the whole armour of God. She said one of the armour that every strong and courageous youth must constantly put on is the belt of truth, especially in a generation where lying has been made so glamorous and attractive. By way of conclusion, the preacher advised her fellow youth to always be strong and courageous and to always ask for the grace of God to crush fear. Miss Asanga further challenged the Presbyterian youth to always focus on God and the scripture and inspire change.
The PYPAN members were re-dedicated to God by the Parish Minister-in-Charge and other pastors, with intense prayers.