Christian confab aims to empower youths
It was a casual conversation with one her friends that created a light-bulb moment in youth advocate Shanissa Grant which has led to what may very well be insulin for the young Christians who are struggling with their faith.
"In September of last year my friend, Marshala, and I were watching the play "Wah Sweet Nanny Goat" on TVJ with a group of young people and out of that they had some questions on relationships and sex. As we were answering them, it became clear to me that one night wasn't enough to really sit and talk with them and be real and open. I remembered saying to Marsha that we need to put on a conference so we can get real with these young people," she said, adding that confirmation came two days later while at a crusade.
Taking the form of a youth conference dubbed Surrender and done under the theme Uprooting the Thorns, the premiere staging of Grant's brainchild took place in January and was deemed a success with lasting impact.
And with the ultimate aim to empower youths with the necessary tools to help them through past hurt, private pains and deep-rooted sins, thus bringing them to full deliverance, the conference is keen on refreshing young minds with a new perspective on life.
According to Grant, who has had extensive experience with adolescents through her previous role of over 10 years as youth vice president of The Open Bible Standard Churches of Jamaica: "The objectives we are aiming to meet include helping young people be honest about their struggles firstly to themselves. We also aim to open discussions about sexual struggles, depression and suicide, self-wounding and porn addiction and masturbation."
And though the forum targets mainly young people, she pointed out that adults are also welcomed as there are those who are yet to overcome these issues who also stand the chance of passing the venom to their children.
"There are also adults who have to deal with children facing these things and it (the conference) gives everyone an understanding of how to handle the issues being targeted and that whether Christian, whether young, it doesn't exempt them from these struggles. People need to know that they are not alone in these struggles and that they can indeed overcome them and live wholesome lives and that that there are persons out there that are trained, willing and capable to help them overcome. They also need to know that they can speak up about these issues without getting backlash," Grant said.
Shedding some light on the theme Uprooting the Thorns, the 33-year-old who also runs a performing arts company for youths in August Town, likened its harshness and continual irritation to that of the issues that lead to pain, regret, addiction and condemnation, which if not dealt with may lead to a lifetime of problems.
According to the 'called, anointed and appointed' woman of God, "The solution we have found is to create this avenue where youths and adults alike can get the support they need and complete deliverance. Much like an actual thorn, we can't keep it in our bodies. It has to be removed. So we are removing these issues and accurately dressing the wounds so that there will be no reoccurrence."
The next staging of the conference is set for today (02-24-18) at the Bethany Apostolic Worship Centre in Halse Hall, May Pen, starting at 9 a.m.
The conference will make its final stop in Montego Bay on March 31.