By the power of faith: People of 2019

Celebrating faith, meeting new people, and exchanging experiences: that was the International Youth Convention in a nutshell. No small wonder then that all of our featured “People of 2019” have some connection to this event …

Ambassadors for a great cause

They came from Switzerland, Portugal, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, and France. They were between the ages of 19 and 27. And they all had something to say. — They were the ambassadors of the International Youth Convention (IYC) 2019.

The team had already been at work well in advance—serving particularly as intermediaries between the planners and the young people. On the one hand, the ambassadors disseminated all the information pertaining to the IYC to the congregations and districts. On the other hand, however, they also provided the planners with information about the wishes and expectations of the young people.

“This time was incredibly beautiful, but also very stressful,” remark Anna-Maria Günther and Anna-Sophia Stolz in an interview with the “Our Family” Church magazine. At the IYC itself, the troops were on their feet practically round the clock, and have since grown into quite the “ambassador family”.

Summary: on the one hand, the four days in Düsseldorf flew by all too quickly, but on the other hand, the participants took an incredible number of impressions and memories back home with them.

The ambassadors and their messages in the video: “Join in and share the joy!”

Fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves

One of the IYC Ambassadors was Lucie Bindu—a remarkable personality: already as a fifteen-year-old she experienced war and fear for the first time—when she had to flee her home town. At the age of fifteen, she became aware of what was happening in her country. “I heard about people who were being killed in villages, and even in the towns, and about women and girls who were being raped. The whole time I felt so powerless.”

During her studies, she completed a training programme in journalism and later received a job in international media. “I travelled to villages and refugee camps. It was dangerous, but I had the feeling that this was exactly what I should be doing, namely fighting for those who could not fight for themselves.”

But a time came when she had to flee once again. “Many journalists in the Congo were being killed. The situation became unbearable for me.” In the meantime, Lucie Bindu has found a new job in a Norwegian non-governmental organization that supports war orphans and victims of rape. “It is a way for me to fight for justice and a better life for my people,” she relates.

“When I look back, I am grateful for all the hardships I have endured,” she says. “It is a nice feeling to rest in God, our Father, in the certainty that He is the one who leads us.”

The full interview“I fight for what I believe in“

When two wishes come together

Her great wish seemed unattainable. But Ashley-Ann found some unexpected help: the disabled South African woman ended up finding her way to the International Youth Convention with the support of some German bikers.

Ashley-Ann Kortje (29) lives with her parents in Riversdale, some 300 kilometres east of Cape Town. Her legs only grew until she was about five years old. In her daily life she is dependent on a wheelchair. Despite the difficult circumstances, the family still lives their faith with joy.

One night, she dreamt that she was in Düsseldorf. Her mother listened intently as she related her dream, but afterwards told her daughter, “You know the circumstances in which our family lives.” Nevertheless, she told Ashley-Ann, “Don’t let go of your dream. Only God knows how everything will turn out.”

Joachim and Elke Schmidt from the Baden-Württemberg congregation of Pfinztal-Berghausen are motorcycle enthusiasts who enjoy fellowship with other members who share similar interests—particularly in South Africa. Their wish was to enable a disabled young person from South Africa to take part in the IYC in Düsseldorf. But their first attempt fell short of the mark. The local school principal they contacted saw their disappointment and made a suggestion …

How Ashley-Ann and the Schmidts got together, the obstacles that stood in their way, and how the young woman experienced the IYC — the full story: “Never in my life would I have dreamed that would happen!”