The following is a testimony from Anne Soh, an advocate of GOV and a dear friend. Anne had the privilege of spending time in the UK with her family and was able to use our Culture Shock curriculum with a group of youth there.
I worked with a few of the youth group leaders in a local church in the UK to conduct the Culture Shock curriculum in the youth group over half a year. We took our time to delve into each topic, spending 3 to 4 weeks on each one. Then we allowed ourselves to take a break in between each topic by watching a related movie together or just have a fun day out. I had seen the GOV team carry out Culture Shock before in Singapore, but only as an intensive programme over 2-3 days. Over this extended period of 6 months, I saw even greater impact than I had witnessed before, including:
1. How easy it was to involve local leaders – The youth group leaders could pick up and implement the curriculum just by reading and following the instructions in the Leader’s Guide. We also managed to get some of the youth involved by helping to lead a few of the activities.
2. The openness and depth of the sharing, and the youth’s growth over time – Because we had the time to talk through/after every activity, the youth got to discuss the questions in the book and more. So they could share their own stories, the struggles they faced, and brainstorm strategies to overcome temptations. One of them even gained the courage (and obviously a boost to her self-image) to share publicly about how she had overcome an eating disorder.
3. Relationships were built and strengthened – As we spent time together sharing, laughing, praying and crying, we got to know and trust each other more. Along the way, the youth were able to approach the leaders with personal problems to ask for advice and prayer.
4. Partnership with parents and the church was also made possible – info sheets (adapted from the Leader’s Guide) were given to the parents after each topic so they could follow up at home. We also picked some of the youth to share what they had learnt and/or present their skits during the main service so the congregation was made aware and could actively pray for the youth.
5. God’s presence and divine intervention continually amazed us – During the dart board activity, I could see the dramatic change in the looks on their faces when I revealed that it was Jesus’ face they had pierced. The Holy Spirit spoke to many of them through this and other activities according to their individual and specific needs. For instance, when we told the story of the guy who got 3 wishes on the night before leaving for college (in the last topic), 2 of the youth were also going off to university in the coming week. God spoke to them in a way that wouldn’t have been possible at any other time.