Over the course of Abilene’s tour in Australia last month, 225 students indicated making a decision to follow Jesus. 48 more told us they wanted to talk more about what it means to follow Jesus. All of those students will be followed up by our friends in long term ministry there, so they’ll have opportunities to get plugged into some sort of ministry to help them grow.
Of course, each student is a person with a story, not just a number. Because of the security restrictions the school system has in place to protect the students, we can’t show pictures of students or use their names, but I can share quotes they shared with us after our concerts and a little about some of the conversations we had.
“I want God to take my pain away.”
At one high school in an economically depressed area of Sydney, I spoke with a student (let’s call him “Evan”) after our show. Evan told me that he comes from a very broken family, and I could tell it was hard for him to imagine things ever looking better. I got to share with him how Jesus really can bring healing and wholeness over time, even when the current situation feels hopeless.
“I loved how you opened up and really made me feel like I wasn’t the only broken one.”
As part of her gospel presentation, our lead singer Jess shared about her struggles in high school which included elements of depression and self-harm. After one show, “Chrissy” talked to Jess afterward and revealed some of her own struggles, and they were specific enough that we needed to get the school officials and ministry workers in the conversation to make sure we dealt appropriately with what had been shared.
We always partner with local ministries for exactly this reason – so the Chrissys we meet can be ministered to long after we’re gone.
There’s just way more than I can share here, but there’s a person and a story behind every one of these other quotes:
- “I accepted God into my life. I’m letting him drive now.”
- “I now believe that His love for us is unconditional and knowing God is always there for me makes me feel special and loved.”
- “I want to get to know God.”
- “I started a relationship with God.”
- “Thanks so much for coming all the way to our school to play for us. It touched me.”
God truly is moving and changing lives, and we’re truly grateful for your partnership. Together, we’re bringing hope and healing around the world.
…for the students who made significant spiritual decisions – that they’ll continue to experience God’s grace and peace as they get connected with people that can help them grow. And, pray for our friends in local ministry in Australia – it has been a great partnership and I’m confident we’ll work with them in the future!