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 (Living Waters 1986 Spring)
Some Reflections of the Year End Spiritual Convocation
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Michael Yang

Hallelujah, thanks to the blessings and grace of the Lord.  The Youth Spiritual Convocation, the General Spiritual and Evangelical Services came to a successful conclusion on December 29, 1985.  The effect of these spiritual gatherings left deep impressions on the hearts of many.  I would like to share with the reader how I felt and what I gained from these few days.

We all realize that the temptations and trials that come upon the youths who are studying in the United States are greater than those of other countries.  For example the use of drugs, smoking and drinking, fornication and disrespect for elders.  The problems just mentioned have given much concern to the parents and the church.  Many of the church youths are here for study.  They live away from their parents while attending school and board with friends and relatives.  The challenge and trials to their faith that they face each day, are beyond imagination.  If it were not for the loving care and protection of the Lord, it would really be difficult to expect the youths to resist all these temptations.

Bearing this in mind, the church in Southern California holds spiritual convocations for the youths during the summer and winter holidays.  So, the new generation of the church can learn the Truth from the Bible, and pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit.  They can then become good Christian Soldiers in their families, schools, and church, to fight a good fight for the Lord.

To welcome this Youth Spiritual Convocation, the Department of Religious Education mobilized all the youths to tidy up the church.  Many youths sacrificed several weekends in order to provide a comfortable environment for the spiritual convocation.  Through working, the youths learned to help one another, and received much satisfaction.  After the spiritual convocation, a student from the senior youth class wrote, "Before the spiritual convocation, I felt reluctant to participate in the holy work.  Through the preparation for the Spiritual Convocation, I experienced a deep satisfaction from working for the Lord.  I believe that whatever we do is not in vain." The church has set up a system for reimbursing the youths who drove their own cars to pick up members arriving and leaving from the airport, but they refused the reimbursement because they enjoyed serving the Lord.

During these four days of Spiritual Convocation, the actual participants turned up to be one third more than estimated.  The average attendance of each lecture class were ninety-eight.  Every believer rejoiced at the special blessing bestowed by God.  Many opened up their homes to accommodate the brothers and sisters from afar.  A certain brother received eleven youths in his home and cared for them with love.  Those who accommodated the youths, brought them to the church punctually at 7:30 a.m. for the morning prayer session, and would bring them home at night after having some snacks.  God greatly blessed this Youth Spiritual Convocation because of the full mobilization of the whole congregation and the fervent prayers offered.

During the past few months, seven members of the Southern California church were seriously ill.  The whole church was under trial.  During the convocation, everyone spent long hours praying for the sick.  They wept bitterly, confessing their sins and asking for the Lord's mercy.  More than 60 members took part in the noontime, fasting prayers each day.  Even the ten and eleven year olds skipped their meals to pray for those who were ill.  Everybody had a strong faith, they were willing to obey the will of God.  The power from. the praying in one accord produced evident results.  The sincerity, humility and child-like heart of the students could be clearly seen.  Through prayer, the students cultivated a habit of prayer.  Their spirituality also improved tremendously and they were drawn closer to God.  When faced with the temptations of society and while in school, they remained steadfast in their faith.  The students were reassured of the existence and power of God.  Many youths felt that the four days of Spiritual Convocation was too short, the time allotted for prayer was too little.  These were some of the unexpected findings and results from the Spiritual Convocation.

We can also see the bright light from the next generation of the TrueChurch being shone during this Convocation.  Because most of the youths are brought up in America , they have a good command of English.  If we can cultivate their spiritual knowledge, virtue and power, they could be good soldiers of world mission in the future.  We hope the parents and religious education teachers can imitate Hannah and Jochebed and bring up the youths in the way Samuel and Moses were brought up to become great workers of God.

The following are thoughts and feelings of two students:

1.       After participating in this convocation, I felt that my faith was revived.  Prior to this I felt weak, distant from God and unable to lead a life of prayer and Bible reading.  During the Spiritual Convocation, I confessed in my prayers and asked God to change me so that He can use me.  In the beginning, I felt that my prayer could not reach God so I thoroughly examined myself.  I repented all my past transgression in tears and fasting.  Slowly, I felt closer and closer to God and became more fond of making long prayers.  I was filled by the words of God.    Every time I listened to the sermons, my heart was filled with joy.  I stopped watching television and thinking about worldly matters and felt more sanctified.  The brothers and sisters love one another dearly and the church is just like a big family of love.  I hope the Spiritual Convocation will never end.  How wonderful it would be, if we could live in the love of God everyday.

2.       This time, I had an experience different from previous Spiritual Convocations that I attended.  Previous convocations were like ordinary services.  Maybe, it was because I did not seek God with all my heart.  This time I was filled with joy, the source of which I did not know.  I was joyous both during service and prayer.  Even though I was hoarse, I continued to sing loud praises because the love of God motivated me.  This source of joy is beyond comprehension.  The yearend Thanksgiving Testimony service moved me the most.  I gained a lot from the testimonies given.  It is hope that after this Spiritual Convocation, I can lead a spiritually rich life.