Sonja Stojanovic – Niš, Serbia
What I’ve learned from years of exciting (and perhaps even cutting-edge) work with youth and students in Niš is that even with the best programmes and fun we can come up with, it’s not a magic formula. Without an overwhelming love for the young people we serve that is inspired by the Holy Spirit, we are simply ‘good’ people doing a ‘good’ work. And yet we are so much more than that.
WE are actually the most effective ingredient in our youth work. Simple. That’s why the best preparation we can do is in our hearts. And whilst we long for the great things, we must never despise the small – that chance to be kind, to listen, to go the extra mile, to challenge, to be a friend. With this preparation we are ready for a God-honouring work that puts firm foundations into the lives of young people that leads them to a lasting faith.
Perhaps this is especially true in the countries we are working in, where our young people are from collective cultures and will not so readily try something out-of-the-box. They need time to watch our lives and see that the Lord is good. Alongside this, we need the ability to rejoice over the small, because through faith and patience, the great will come.
This is why I love having a giant tea party every Thursday called Talk (follow talk.in.english on Instagram), and why Voice (Instagram – voicenis) is the most exciting part of my Saturday each week.
There was a time when we had to fight for every person who came through our door, because it took so much courage for them to just do that! It’s still a long journey, but now youth and students are constantly bringing their friends to come and join us. They know it’s
a safe place where they’ll be loved and accepted. And our youth bible study has visitors each week – a trickle, not yet a flood – but there is the promise of more to come. So, we’re rejoicing and (hopefully) ready!
I hope this encourages you if you’re faltering a little, because the harvest is ripe!