Azaria Spencer, Guatemala

Azaria Spencer, Guatemala

Discipling young people and journeying with them as they develop their relationship with God, and training others in impactful youth work

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I am passionate about discipling young people, particularly those who come from challenging home environments or who are at high risk of violence and abuse. I love coming alongside young people and accepting them as they are, responding to their needs and creating space for them to develop their relationship with God and grow more and more into who God made them to be.

Having worked with street-connected children in Guatemala since 2017, I am now moving into a slightly different role. Working through a locally led organisation, I will focus on discipling vulnerable young people one-on-one and in groups as well as training local youth leaders, working together to inspire each other in more effective ways to practise discipleship as more than just reading the Bible.

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As a mentor I meet up with young people one-on-one, once a week for an hour and spend time playing games, doing homework or just sitting with them, depending on what they need. Because many of the young adults I work with (aged 12–13 and up) come from challenging home environments or are at high risk of violence and abuse, their biggest need is often for a positive, consistent adult role model.

I will also be doing group mentoring and discipleship in small groups based on what young people in local communities want and need. Through meeting in small groups, I can facilitate community among young people and help them grow in the areas they want to through Bible study and broader discipleship.

Half my time will be doing one-on-one and group mentoring through this locally led organisation and the other half in training other mentors in their roles and training youth leaders in smaller local churches. Discipleship is so much more than reading the Bible, and through my training, I hope to help open people’s minds as we partner together in exploring discipleship as being about journeying with young people and learning from them as well as teaching them.

Being invited into a young person’s life is such a privilege; it’s a true honour to be able to show them God’s love through spending time with them and being there for them. I love building relationships with young people and seeing a change in their lives over time.

At the age of 12, I asked Jesus into my life and at 16, during a mission trip in India, God broke my heart for those suffering in poverty contexts. I simply knew from that moment that I would serve in cross-cultural mission with vulnerable people. At 21 God led me to study a degree in theology for ministry. My desire is to help others learn about God and disciple people into fuller relationships with him.

Having my call confirmed by others has been humbling and exciting. Being in partnership with Church Mission Society is a blessing because of the support and accountability created as people like me are enabled to minister overseas, developing relationships in God’s worldwide Church.

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