More than 1,000 volunteers from all over the world have descended on the United Kingdom for Youth With A Mission’s (YWAM’s) London Olympics outreach, under the umbrella of More than Gold. There has already been an amazing short-term impact on tourists and local communities alike. One of the buzz words behind the Olympics has been ‘legacy’ — YWAM in the UK is trusting that a long term legacy of the Games will be the emergence of a whole new generation of young missionaries ready to serve anywhere in the world.

Lynn Green, who began YWAM’s work in the UK over forty years ago, comments: “We don’t think the Olympics coming to the UK is a coincidence. God wants to do some remarkable things through the outreach opportunities the Games offer. We believe that includes calling many British young people to full-time missionary work — both to work on these islands but also to go to the nations.”

Kerry Clancy is a member of this emerging generation of young British missionaries. She’s a twenty year-old from Cheltenham, and explains, “I came to the London Olympic outreach wanting to see youth involved in evangelism and reaching out to people of the UK with the love of Jesus. In the time I’ve been here, God has radically altered the plans for my life. After the Olympic outreach I was going to head off to university. Now I feel I should become a full-time missionary — I have applied to help run a YWAM course in Hawaii, training other young people.”

Kerry’s involvement with Youth With A Mission began in 2011, when she spent six months participating in a Discipleship Training School (DTS) in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. During that time she heard about YWAM’s Olympic outreaches – a campaign known as ‘Forever’ – and decided to extend her time with YWAM. “God transformed my life during the DTS,” she says. “I was planning to become a school teacher, but I’ve now realized that what I really love is discipling young people. I’m twenty now, old enough to be an effective youth worker; I love seeing young people’s lives transformed. I know I’m called into mission, and I have a love for the whole world.”During t
he Olympics, Kerry is learning so much about discipleship. “People told me I was a leader, but I didn’t believe it. Now I’m leading a group of teenage girls, and I realize I really can lead and disciple them.”In the week before the Olympics began, Kerry helped lead ‘Just Go’, a programme for teenagers. “Just Go was the youth track, running alongside a large international Arts Festival, called Go4Glory, which ran in Harpenden. We had around 100 teenagers, and spent a week learning about mission, being trained and getting ready for the Olympics Outreach.”

 Kerry’s team of six teenage girls has spent the last week in London. They have worked alongside various churches, engaging with the local community. Elisa, from Taunton, says, “God has taught me so much, I’ve learnt that He is with me all the time. We’ve talked to people about God. I’ve really enjoyed doing face-painting, it’s fun being with young people and it gives you an easy opportunity to talk to them.” Her eleven-year old sister, Miriam, has a similar story: “I’ve enjoyed meeting people and talking to them about God”. Her friend, Abigail, from Essex, adds, “It’s been the best time of my life so far. I’ve grown so much; I see things differently now. God encounters me and talks to me, and I’ve made some great friends.”

Kerry has enjoyed walking alongside her team as they grow in their faith. “We’ve spent lots of time praying for Romford. It’s great to experience prayer together, and to see the teenagers’ boldness in stepping out and talking to people about God for the first time.”

The next steps in Kerry’s adventure are in place: she has her visa for the USA in her passport, and flies out soon after the Olympics. “This outreach has given me a taste of leading a team. I’ve tried it, and I’ve seen I can do it.”

Kerry’s YWAM leader, Yan Nichols, says, “Part of our identity and calling as a nation is to have British people impacting this nation and others. We need to get back to this core calling. So it’s been great to see Kerry, as a young British woman in a position of leadership, realizing that she can be a positive role model. I’m excited she’s going on to the States because she’s fulfilling part of that destiny of Britain sending people overseas.”

Yan concludes, “One of the reasons we named this Olympics outreach ‘Forever’ is because we want short-term mission initiatives to have a long-term impact”. Young British Christians like Kerry and her team are having the unique experience of short-term outreach and through it are recognizing a call into long-term world missions.

And that is a legacy that will truly last forever.

 

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