A Letter to the Staff of Youth for Christ Sri Lanka On My Thirtieth Anniversary in My Job

Written in June 2006

 

Ajith Fernando

My dear colleagues,

July 15th is my thirtieth anniversary as National Director of YFC. I will be in Minneapolis in USA in the home of a pastor friend. I am hoping to spend the day fasting and with the Lord mainly praying for YFC, for my family and for my own life. I thought I will send our staff this message to mark this anniversary.

 

First, I must say how proud I am to work with a group like you. Your dedication has been an inspiration to me. Many of you work very hard, and my challenge has been to make you rest rather than to make you work harder. That’s a happy challenge to have.

 

I am a person with huge weaknesses which disqualify me from leading an organisation. The only way I have survived is through the wonderful staff and volunteer teams that God has given me to work with over the years. You have compensated for my many weaknesses, and God has seen us through the crises we have faced, many of which got much more serious because of my poor leadership. As we face further crises at this time let me express my assurance that God will see us through just as he has seen us through before.

 

Let me reflect a bit on the work God has given us of reaching unreached youth. It is a glorious work. Youth work is not regarded highly today by Christians. But we know that most people make those all important decisions that determine their future while they are still youth. What a privilege it is for us to influence individuals at such a crucial period of their lives.

 

I feel so privileged when I get to speak to youth. Here is this old man getting a chance to influence young people with all the potential they have—it is a glorious privilege. Still, like in the early days and sometimes perhaps even more, I am very nervous when I speak to youth. I want to do the best in the world that I could possibly do, and I know that my age makes doing that a real challenge!

 

I want to share some of my deepest desires for you. These are the things that I am constantly praying for and hoping will be seen in my life and yours.

 

People without Jesus are lost. Lost means eternally lost and headed for hell. We can do a lot of things to help them—and these things we must do. That is why we are committed to the balanced life or to holistic ministry. But when we introduce youth to Jesus we are securing an eternity of well-being for them. Would that not be the most loving thing we can do for a person—securing a happy eternity for them? Yes, bringing a person to Jesus is the most loving thing we can do for that person. Never forget that.

 

The work is hard. We are misunderstood, rejected and persecuted. Often we feel all alone. People we pour our hearts out to end up rejecting Christ and scolding us. But this is a great work.

 

It is an amazing privilege to be called to something so great, even though we are such weak and unworthy people. It is in this context that Paul burst out into his great cry of praise in 1 Timothy 1:17. This is my favourite verse in the Bible: “To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.” That came as a result of reflecting that God had called him despite his unworthiness.

 

I would love to be released from the job of national director as soon as possible. But I am committing myself afresh to do all I can, for as long as I can, to see the youth of Sri Lanka confronting and yielding to the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s go and reach our nation’s youth for Christ.

 

Your fellow servant of Jesus Christ,

 

 

 

 

Ajith Aiya/Anna/Uncle