In a turbulent time of economic uncertainty and crisis, TeenStreet Europe wants to focus on how to help others in need. Raise And Give (RAG) is a project for each TeenStreet participant, whether a teen or adult, to raise and give money for teens in need.
Mathilde from France, who went to see the project with two other teenagers and their leaders from Switzerland and Sweden, gives insight into this year’s project.
At 15 years old, Mathilde lives near Strasbourg and was anxious to return to TeenStreet. Her heart’s desire was to reconnect with friends and to relive the moments of connection with God that had been, in the previous year, so memorable and intense. However, she also wanted to return to take part in RAG, collecting funds as a way to serve God.
Mathilde took part in RAG in 2011 and finished among those who collected the most money. This resulted in a special prize. But when the prize fell through, TeenStreet leaders suggested Mathilde take a trip to Bosnia in February as an alternative. “Naturally,” says Mathilde, “I accepted and ended up having the best time of my life!”
Bosnia-Herzegovina was a new world for Mathilde. “I felt I was in a world in complete contrast to the one I was familiar with. I really felt like a foreigner, but what struck me was the people. They were extremely welcoming. That touched me.”
Mathilde also had the chance to experience up-close the violence of Bosnia’s history. “Once,” she says, “when I had the opportunity to touch a wall full of bullet holes, I realised that war is far from being fictional. It’s real. For me this was a revelation.”
Collecting funds towards the sports project in Bosnia-Herzegovina is important, as some of the local Christians find it difficult to get alongside the youth who want to find out more about God. Says Mathilde, “I can personally confirm that Bosnia-Herzegovina certainly is far from being a rich country, which is why we need to collect funds towards the building of (among other projects) a sports field.”
A small group of Bosnians will be attending TeenStreet Europe this year, from 28 July – 4 August in Oldenburg, Germany. The TeenStreet leaders pray that in a country torn apart by war, where the Christian witness is so small, they will be part of reconciliation and telling the good news about Jesus Christ.
For more information about RAG and TeenStreet Europe, click here.