A YEAR ON YEP IS OVER – “I’VE MADE FRIENDS FOR LIFE”
The 17 youth who have participated in the Youth Exchange Program at BCC the last year leave behind an enriching experience. Bonds of friendship have been made despite cultural and language differences, and important values and teachings engrained for the future. This week was the final farewell party.
By Ulrikke Andresen – Photo by Markus Paasila / Timon Jony
The Youth Exchange Program (YEP) is an international youth program under the auspices of BCC which consists of a year of Bible studies, work development and education in the Norwegian language and culture. This week there was an informal, but valuable farewell party for the year’s participants.
The program is an important part of BCC’s missionary work and creates good relationships between fellow believers from different parts of the world, as well as increasing knowledge and understanding of the gospel. The participants have been employed in BCC for one year, and this year a diverse group of 17 young people from eight countries was stationed at the head office in Oslo.
During the year, they gained work experience and skills useful to both their future careers and in their own local churches. In addition to participating in charitable work, they had various leisure activities, were part of local church life, received Bible instruction, and made friends from around the world.
From India to Norway: developing IT skills at BCC
Eunice Benjamin (25) is one who travelled a long way. She is originally from the city of Bangalore in southern India, and chose to spend two years on exchange in Norway.
“I have several friends who participated in the program earlier, and when they came home after a year, I saw a positive change in them. They had new experiences, knowledge, and friends for life. That motivated me to go,” says Eunice.
For the past year she worked with BCC’s literature portal where she employed her IT skills to improve the user experience for those who read and search for literature.
In addition to everything she learned at work, she shared many experiences with other youth.
“It’s been special to notice the unity we have had, even if we are very different. I think it is because we share the desire to live the same gospel. We also learn to be considerate, and to follow the Bible’s direction to do good for each other,” she says.
Experience with TV production and film editing
Denzel Taves (20) from Vancouver, Canada is also one who arrived in Oslo last summer. He has worked for BCC’s media department since August 2019.
“Before I came, I had little experience with media and design programs. Now I have been involved in making animated films, editing, and producing live TV programs. These projects involve skills that I can use later, both in a work context and in my local church,” he says.
This year he has lived with nine other boys participating in the youth program. He has learned a lot from living in a group from many different cultures.
“It has been both challenging and exciting. We are different personalities with unique backgrounds, but through this year we’ve learned to value each other’s talents and strengths, and I’ve made friends for life.”
Encouragement to continue in a good direction
The year is coming to an end, and this week was a farewell party, which the youth arranged themselves. Many have gained new experience during the year, which came in useful during the party. Everyone contributed in different ways, in media, lighting and sound, food preparation, and entertainment.
Work leaders and volunteers who has helped arrange leisure activities for the program participants this year also attended the party. They had both good advice and encouraging words to share for the young people to take with them home.
Both photos and films were shown during the evening, bringing memories back. The youth participants also received the opportunity to express their thankfulness for each other and the year they had, and the evening ended with a slideshow of songs, pictures, and films which the youth had made.
“This year has meant a lot for me. It has helped to lay a foundation for my life, where I have gained a new and deeper understanding of the Bible and the help it gives me in my situations. Now it is up to me to put what I have heard and read into practice,” says Denzel.
Swipe right to see more pictures from the party. Photos by BCC: