On March 25 2017, by the blessings of God, The Youth Outreach Committee hosted a Servant’s Workshop at Medhanie Alem Eritrean Orthodox Tewahdo Church in Grand Rapids, MI. The theme verse was 1 Timothy 4:12, “Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” Roughly 40 people attended the conference. This included our fathers,Qomos Aba ZeMichael (from the Ethiopian Church), Keshi Isaac, Keshi Helmon, along with many deacons, mezmerans, and adults. Attendees came from many states including Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, and London, Ontario in Canada.
The exciting day began with Tselot Kidan, or Pray of the Covenant, following with a big breakfast provided by our loving mothers. Soon after, the workshop began after a prayer by our father Abatachin ZeMikael, then the mezmur, "nezi Guba'ena bariko Goytana" meaning "bless this gathering O Lord". We started the workshop with a beautiful sermon by our brother Deacon Ermias on starting our spiritual life with God. He introduced the sermon by sharing a powerful verse, Proverbs 11:2, “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom.” He also said that God is the only one who takes the initiative, for example through His creation, through His word, and through His incarnation. We all have trouble on starting our spiritual life because we fall into the temptations of Satan and we don’t repent, which affects our relationship with God. He explained we need to respond to His love by dismissing and despising Satan, sin, and the will of self (people). Choosing the narrow road that is enlightened by our glorious God’s commandments and the voice of the Holy Spirit. He then continued to explain what obstacles we face making the start and how to make the correct start. (C-DEP: clarity of a goal, determination, exertion and struggle, and particularity) Last but not least, we cannot gamble our spiritual life.
Following this, Deacon Ermias spoke about the general requirements of a servant, how God showed love through His sacraments, and how to abide by them.We learned that sacraments are a way of God showing us His unconditional love.
After an hour and half long intermission, in which we played an icebreaker game where we had to find someone we didn’t know well, their name, their baptismal name, what church they attend, and one interesting fact. After this interactive game, we ate lunch. We then continued with a sermon about Church and History by our Father Aboy Keshi Helmon. In this sermon, he spoke about sacrificial worship (Gen. 4) from the time of Adam and Eve until Moses. Everything we do in the church is biblical, we learned. Aboy Keshi also taught us about the different places of worship throughout the Bible. We also learned some interesting facts that after the church was created, Eritrea was the first to accept Christianity (34 A.D). We then proceeded to talk about Aba Selama Kesate Brhan which means Father of peace, revealer of light, Aba Yohani, and Aba Libanos, who established the first monastic order in the land of Agazit (modern day Eritrea). We also learned about the Tes’atu Kidusan or the Nine Saints.
After this lesson, the Medhani Alem choir sang “Nabey Elias Aboy Nabey” meaning “Where to Father Elias Where.” The mezmur commemorates the event of the prophet Elias leaving the world on a burning chariot. (2 Kings 2) Aboy Keshi Helmon continued to educate us about the three Councils and their conclusions that are recognized by our Church. Lastly, we concluded the sermons by talking about the impacts of social media and the new age movement. Aboy Keshi Helmon explained the use of propaganda found in social media, news, advertisements, and how its motive was to change your opinion on certain things. They then explained the use of persuasion and its appeal to one’s emotion. It’s not directly meant to affect your intellect, but rather meant to affect your behavior.
During this workshop we also had an informational game of jeopardy about everything we learned during the sermons, miscellaneous questions of our faith, and Bible stories. We also had an open Q&A session at the end to get answers to questions we've had. The messages left for us from this Q&A session included motivation, and encouragement. It explained the importance of your perseverance in faith and how you must ALWAYS focus on your Christianity. How to stay steadfast in your faith & to not judge so quickly. If you defend Christ now, when He comes on Judgement day, He will remember you. Overall, the Servant's Conference was profound for all attendees. Members left encouraged and rejuvenated in their walk with Christ. The event ended with prayers of thanks by our father Keshi Yishaq and Keshi Helmon.
May Glory be to God
And His Virgin Mother
And His Glorious Cross