I like to go to youth group because I can be with other believers. At school there really aren't any other believers and when I go to the youth meetings I feel encouraged. "T" age 15
The best part of the youth meeting is the praise. I like being with my friends, but I enjoy the worship the most. "A" age 13
I go to the youth group because it is fun, all our friends are there and because I can worship together with everyone. "L" age 15
................................ By Leora Mazurovsky
Our young people are a constant presence in the life of the congregation. During the week they come to the Tents of Mercy building to practice their instruments, and to attend youth group and special study classes. On Saturday, the youth are everywhere: sitting in rows in the sanctuary, playing on the worship team, helping in the Shabbat school.
This Shabbat the youth group went on an outing to snowy Mount Meron. Only a few stayed behind. How empty the sanctuary felt! The circle of dancers was smaller. The children's classes were shorthanded. There were no chattering groups of teenagers in the reception area. Though the trip was only for one day, we missed our vital, affectionate and sometimes challenging young people.
From the very beginning, the vision of Tents of Mercy has been to create an oasis for Israel's returning exiles and for her native-born sons and daughters. There are many in need of such a place. In truth, we all need a loving, supportive community. Who more than teenagers - experiencing possibly the most confusing time of their lives? They are seeking stability and strength as they grow and mature into adulthood. Our heart's desire is to create an oasis which will provide shelter, security and spiritual equipping for our young people. Their generation of Israelis will likely usher in the return of our Messiah!
Former Rocker, Sasha, from Russia
For two action-packed and dedicated years, our youth leader, Sasha, has been enthusiastically pouring himself out on behalf of our young people. As a teenager in Russia, Sasha had dreams of becoming a rock star and performing in front of thousands of adoring fans. Now he writes songs of praise and worship, encouraging Israel's teens to develop their musical talent for God's glory and patiently coaches them hour after hour.
Listening to Sasha describe the youth group, one is quickly drawn in to his love for its members. He paces the floor, speaking passionately of the special qualities inherent in young people. "Yes, many times they lack emotional stability and self-confidence, but they are so open and courageous. Unlike adults, they do not attempt to hide who they are. There is a willingness to speak their mind about all things that concern them, including their faith. When I was young, I didn't face the dilemmas that our believing teenagers must deal with. I did what I wanted and thought nothing of the spiritual consequences. Our young people must learn to relate to a secular world and to respond in a biblical manner."
"For this reason, our youth group exists. The purpose of Tents of Mercy is to provide a framework within which youth can mature and find themselves in Yeshua - a place of building healthy, Godly relationships and preparing them to reach Israel's youth for Yeshua."
Dennis finds Yeshua, then Discovers the Drums
Dennis is a determined young man. First invited by a friend to the Ohalei Rachamim youth ministry several years ago, he has not missed a meeting or activity since. Dennis is the only believer in his family. Though they do not object, neither do they encourage him to be involved. One of many teenage immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Dennis' family environment is pretty bleak. His parents eke out an existence through low-paying jobs and welfare. Communism gave no model for healthy family life.
Dennis' quiet exterior belies a radical heart for worship. This fire inspired a desire to play the drums. In the beginning he was terrible. He had never played before. But for three years this unassuming youth has worked unceasingly to master the instrument and has improved incredibly. He has become so proficient that he even plays for the main worship team. Dennis has become a light to his family and to his contemporaries.
Mama Tamara from Uzbekistan
The "mother" of the youth group is Tamara. She came to Israel with her husband and daughter five years ago from Uzbekistan. Like Sasha, Tamara is "sold out" to the Lord and longs for people to be in relationship with Him. When she speaks about serving young people her face radiates the love and the fire of God.
"Not too long after Sasha began leading the group, I felt the Holy Spirit encouraging me to attend the meetings together with my daughter. At first I didn't do much. I just sat in the back, listening, worshiping and praying. I helped where I could; preparing food and cleaning up after the activities. Sasha was very positive about me being there. After a time God began to open doors and the kids started to ask me questions. One wanted me to explain about the working of the Holy Spirit, another asked questions about a situation at home and so on. I answered as best I could and prayed with them. When I started coming, I never imagined I'd end up working with the youth. I thought that I had nothing to talk to them about, but now I see differently."
"Our children are precious gifts to us. They need lots of help, knowing how to relate to the highly sensual world of secular Israeli high school. They bring many struggles and pressures to the group. They want desperately to be freed from the mindset of their peers, who have no connection with the God of Israel. Yet they long to see other teens find Yeshua and be born of the Spirit. The teaching that we give them is the one upon which they will build their lives. I know that Sasha's heart is to give them a strong foundation, to make them faithful disciples of Yeshua that He might use them for His purpose."
Look ... The Tents of Mercy International Conference and Intercessory Tour of Israel
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