New Apostolic Christians in Germany, Spain, and Guinea learned some very different things on their tours of discovery through history, religion, and responsibility for their own faith.
White roses to commemorate a tragedy
“It was quite a depressing feeling to walk the same paths where others, who had spent their last hours there in great terror, had walked 78 years ago.” Such were the sentiments of Kim and Philine from the Berlin-Brandenburg youth group (Germany), who visited the Auschwitz memorial together with their peers on 4 March 2023.
Already during the seven-hour bus ride, the young people prepared themselves for the experiences that lay ahead by reading some documentation on Auschwitz. And before the group visited the two memorials in Poland the next morning. they also received some spiritual preparation in the form of some thoughts from the Bible. The guided tour that followed gave the young people further insight into the camp.
Kim and Philine went on to relate: “As we walked through the gate bearing the well-known phrase ‘Arbeit macht frei’ [Work makes free], a number of the youth felt very ill at ease.” In the museum they learned a lot about the lives of the prisoners and the conditions they faced in the camp. Before leaving, the youth left white roses as tokens of personal remembrance. Later that evening, they continued to process the many impressions these experiences had left upon them in the course of some intensive discussions. The next day, the congregation celebrated the service for the departed, which certainly left a special impact on the young people.
Taking a peek over the church fence
The Religious Instruction and Confirmation students of the Madrid congregation in Spain went on an interreligious tour of discovery on 11 March 2023. As part of their lesson on world religions, the children gathered on that Saturday morning in the Nagarjuna Buddhist centre.
After the children had taken off their shoes, they went into the main hall and sat on the floor. A nun greeted them there and explained that Buddhists consider Buddhism a religion, even though they do not believe in God or the idea of a soul. Rather, Buddhism is more concerned about the mind, which requires constant attention and care.
As she showed the children around, the nun explained everything in detail and answered their questions. She also taught the children the basics of meditation. Afterwards, the group took advantage of the opportunity to share their experiences over a meal together.
A youth weekend with depth
The topics on the agenda at a recent youth weekend in Guinea included prayer, the ordination of women, and protection from abuse. Apostle Nema Jacques Conde invited the young people to join him in Boulolo on the weekend of 27–29 January 2023. To start with, the young people discussed the question of where and how to pray. In addition, the young believers established a committee for each district, which is dedicated to the prevention and processing of sexual misconduct. Finally, the youth discussed in detail the equivalence and equality of men and women. In the end, everyone agreed that the decision to ordain women was the right one. To conclude the weekend, Apostle Conde celebrated a divine service set in the musical framework of all the choirs present for the occasion.