Ten minutes before 20:00 Saturday night, a bass beat through the speakers in the main hall brought hundreds of teens to their feet for a dance party of the countdown to the official start of TeenStreet (TS) 2019. Cheers and clapping filled the main hall as the DJ played music that added to the excitement everyone showed. The dance crew took to the main stage for the first time and engaged with the teens until a favourite video started on the screens: the countries welcome.
This is when TS truly begins.
Many recognised the key speakers from last year: Rich, Rachel, Ron and Cecil (Special bravo to our fabulous translator, Agnes!). On stage for the first time, Rich and Cecil shared inspiring stories from around the globe over the past year (50 years since mankind first walked on the moon; the USA women’s soccer team won the World Cup; France awarded citizenship to a foreigner who scaled several floors via balcony to rescue a child who was about to fall). In addition, each speaker had a heartfelt message for the teens as a welcome, an encouragement and a challenge for the week ahead.
“The definition of our theme ‘inspired’ is ‘to fill someone with the urge to feel or do something,’” Ron told the group. “The original Latin is two words that translates into: ‘breathe into,’ which is what it says in Genesis 2. He breathed His Spirit into us, so we should be inspired to act out and love others as He does.”
Cecil shared a story of one of her schoolteachers who inspired her. During a minute of silence for a student who had died, the teacher had prayed. “He told us that God listens to us and cares about what we’re going through. That teacher really inspired me to stand up for my faith.”
Rich had a personal story from his childhood. At his friend’s house for dinner, the family still held their regular devotions time. “They didn’t change anything because someone new was there. They read the Word when they were alone and when they had guests. That really inspired me, so I now do the same with my own family. Inspiration can come from simple things.”
Rachel encouraged the teens from this year’s theme verse, Proverbs 3:5-6. “Ask God to have Him help you trust more. We’ll look deeper at this verse on Monday.”
The 'Inspired' session ended with a few final songs from the band, and then the teens were released for their first Interaction Time.
“I had goosebumps the whole time,” Myrto (16, Greece) shared. “What I loved is that sometimes everything was blocked out around me, and it was all about my relationship with God. The words were just flowing into my heart.”
“It is my first time at TS,” Linus (18, Germany) said afterwards. “The worship, the feeling of all being together in this big, Christian group… It’s good to know that there were so many others. [It’s a] big group, but still personal.”
“I felt grateful in that place because I had the opportunity to talk with God.” Nikoleta (15, Greece) “And the fact that God wants to talk with me—I’m a sinner—is so beautiful. I can’t describe how grateful we should be, because God wants to hear us; and that’s what I felt in this place when we worshipped and prayed.”