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Teen girls from 7 countries give NAC international flavor

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP)–What they do matters in the world, Acteens learned at the National Acteens Convention July 1-4 in Louisville, Ky. Putting that principle into action, the teens gave more than $22,000 to fund ministries for youth in Bosnia, a country with which Woman’s Missionary Union has formed a partnership.
The offering was given after Sanela Shjivo, a 19-year-old International Mission Board translator for short-term personnel in Bosnia, gave her testimony about her country’s effort to recover from the devastating effects of civil war.
Shjivo was one of five international guests who was able to attend the Acteens convention because of scholarships provided by WMU and the Baptist World Alliance’s women’s department. The other guests included Nqobile Khoza from Swaziland, Mileidy Gonzalez Delgado from Colombia, Katie Lynnaire Davies from New Zealand and Iryna Falko from Belarus.
Four other individuals who live outside the United States also attended NAC. Jessica Greear, daughter of International Mission Board workers in France, flew in for the conference with help from Rose Hill Baptist Church in Ashland, Ky. In addition, two teens and their leader from British Columbia Canada attended the gathering. They were Tara Martin, Paula Natavio and Joanne Gueck, leader. This was the first time international teens had attend NAC, which began in 1972.
Shjivo, who became a Christian last July, said Bosnia needs the peace of God to be whole again. But evangelism is difficult there, she said, because people are wary of trusting anyone, including Christians.
“During the war, some were murdered in the name of Christ, so when we give our testimony we have to be careful to share what it means to be a real Christian,” Shjivo said.
She and her parents lived in an apartment in Sarajevo without running water, electricity or gas as snipers waged war in the former host city of the Olympics. “Every day we saw death all around. Horrible things became normal,” Shjivo said. “We learned to live day by day, moment by moment for Christ. God’s message is all that matters.”
WMU’s partnership with Bosnia will help IMB personnel in a variety of projects. The first WMU ministry team will travel to Bosnia in May 1999. More information about the projects may be obtained by contacting Delane Tew at Woman’s Missionary Union, PO Box 830010, Birmingham, AL 35283-0010; phone, (205)-991-4097 or e-mail, [email protected].
Miami Valley and Southwest Baptist associations in Ohio, along with Florida WMU, paid expenses for Acteen Nqobile Khoza to attend NAC. In addition to NAC, the Swaziland teen visited her sponsors. Prior to NAC, the teenager spoke at GA camps and churches in Florida. She currently is staying with Ramona Farley, Miami Valley’s WMU director, for an 18-day speaking tour in the area.
“Acteens has taught me to pray for missionaries both inside and outside the country,” Khoza said. “Before we prayed for our pastors, our churches and our country, but we didn’t really focus on missions. Now, we are in touch with what people in other parts of the world are doing, and we pray for them. We are learning how to be prayer warriors.”
During a question-and-answer period at NAC, the teens asked their American peers to pray that people in their countries would put aside reverence for the material things of life and develop a spiritual hunger to know God.
Mileidy Gonzalez Delgado from Colombia said many young people in her country are hungry for God and need encouragement. “We want to encourage them to have a daily walk with him and be changed from the inside out,” she said, referring to the four-day event’s “Inside Out” theme.

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  • Kristi Hodge