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REMIX: Stories of Love in Action

If you’ve read the title of today’s installment, you can probably guess how excited I am to have the opportunity once again to talk about one of my favourite things in the world. That’s right, it’s conference time–the Toronto REMIX conference to be specific!

For those who haven’t perused my other post about it, or if you just need the reminder, REMIX is an annual youth conference organized by Youth Unlimited Toronto that runs through the last few days of June–this year, June 26-30. Just like in previous years, the days were filled with training times, service experiences, worship opportunities (both musical and otherwise). I could talk forever about the great things that happened this year–from the eye-opening walk among Toronto’s street-involved population with our guide, Eejay to the simple work we did with Margaret at the Fort York Food Bank that opened doors to conversation and inspiration, the time was filled with moments large and small that really could all merit their own post.

REMIX 2019

But today, we’re not gonna do that. Today we’re gonna do something different.

REMIX itself was different this year, because for the first time I wasn’t just an attendee or even a volunteer; this year, I got to co-lead a group with another summer staff director. This means that I had seven youth and young adults all looking to me for guidance, support, and encouragement through their REMIX experiences.

As such, rather than taking a third post to ramble about all of my REMIX stories, I’ve asked two of them to share theirs.


Testimonies have been lightly edited for grammar and clarity.

Brianna Morgan

“Last Saturday as one of the REMIX training activities, I was getting ready with my youth to go out and spread the word of God with anyone on the street who may need it.

As we approached a park that I was familiar with, I felt that not many people would be willing to hear my message (especially with-it being Saturday, a day when people mainly attend the park for parties and family barbecues), but I was willing to give it a try knowing that God and my church members would be with me.

I saw two women sitting down in front of the mini splash pad with their two toddlers (adorable!), and I decided to approach them and start a conversation. I started by offering them water and then a flyer for our church children summer camp, since it seemed like something they may genuinely be interested in. They were very polite and willing to listen to us talk when we asked for a bit of their time.

I started out by explaining that we’re from a Christian program called REMIX and what it was about, just to get the conversation started on religion. Then one of the ladies introduced the other as her sister, a Catholic, and introduced herself as an atheist. Since they were willing to give up some time to talk to us, I decided to go through the bracelet they gave us at REMIX (which was used to help us explain our relationship with God and his love). This was pretty awkward at first, because I didn’t have the exact words I would have liked to have to explain the first three symbols, but when it got to the ‘I’ symbol on the bracelet (representing sharing how God has changed your life), I was able to share my testimony about how I came to find God’s love.

I had never shared my testimony before, so sharing it with complete strangers was a big leap for me, but I knew it was what I had to do to connect with them and start a relationship. I started by saying, ‘I know I’m only 16 but a lot has happened to me in that amount of time,’ and right away the first sister jumped in to say, ‘That’s ok–I’d been through a whole lot of stuff by the time I was 16 so I understand.’ This was the atheist sister, who, surprisingly, was a lot more open to talk about religion than her Catholic sister.

I went on to explain a bit about my childhood–like how my parents ended up splitting when I was younger, leaving me without a relationship with my dad–and later on other personal issues in my life. In return, she told me how she totally understands and how she went through the same things when her own dad left; she explained how that had left her questioning why he left, or if he even loved her, or if something was wrong with her. But she said now that’s she’s older she understands why he removed himself from her life: that was because he wanted to do the best thing for her, not being around to mess up and hurt her.

Near the end of our conversation she said how she’s thinks it’s amazing that I had my religion and the love of God to hold on to and keep me stable and going through that hard time. By comparison, when she was my age going through the same thing, she dealt with it by partying, getting into trouble, and doing a lot of things she now wishes she hadn’t done. So really, she just spent the last bit of time with us encouraging me and telling me how she thinks it’s so great that I have my religion and that what I was doing was great.

It’s funny that going out to show love to others ended up with me receiving love myself. I’m really happy that I got to talk to them and I am happy that although she was an atheist she still appreciated my religion and the way God was leading me; it felt like she was proud which really warmed my heart, and I just thank God for leading me to them. I hope I can see them again through my church’s summer camp this month if they decide to bring their kids.”

Sarah Clements

“Coming to REMIX for the second time and having grown in my faith immensely throughout the intervening year, I came with a newfound confidence in evangelism on the sharing day. However, after having some disappointing encounters at Thompson park (our first destination), some of this confidence was at risk of fading. So, before entering Albert Campbell Square I took time to ask the Holy Spirit where He was leading me. The groups had all dispersed in one direction, but looking up in the opposite direction, there was a man who seemed to be street-involved that I was feeling called towards.

As I approached him and asked if he wanted water, I got to talking with him about the hot weather and his plans for Canada Day. After a bit, he asked me to sit with him, and at that point I was able to share the gospel. When it came to my testimony, something seemed to connect with him and he instantly asked how he could contact the church. I gave him our youth leader’s email and he left pretty soon after. The whole situation was surreal, and it really felt like God was there, working in his heart somehow.

At REMIX, I learned that loving people is the most important part of ministry. It’s the relationships you make with others to show how loved they are that allows them to see God’s love in each one of us! I also, being able to see and listen about the broken system in place for people in the streets, want to make more of a difference in changing the system for the next generation. Jesus came to the earth to spread the word about His kingdom through love! How much more I can be doing to spread God’s love?”


And we’re back.

As I hope you’ve seen from Brianna and Sarah’s stories, this REMIX really was filled with new and challenging experiences but underpinned in all things by God’s palpable spirit of love.

Personally, God really showed me this year how important it is to be patient and trust in him in all aspects of my life, particularly my plans for the future. Overall though, the conference allowed me to gain a deeper relationship with God but also gain a deeper relationship with the youth and young adults that I brought with me. As we prepare to run the day camp that Brianna so eloquently gestured towards, I definitely know this year’s camp will be a time I won’t soon forget. This goes out to the people who attended this conference with me; I love each and every one of you from the bottom of my heart. I also want to know that you’re a child of God and he loves you unconditionally and abundantly.

Thanks to Brianna and Sarah for being willing to share their stories, as well as Alain Virgin, Youth Unlimited, and the team that put REMIX together again this year. You don’t know how much I appreciate all of you and the love you show in what you do.

Before you go, I’d love to share with you this highlight video, made by Spencer Reagan, which recaps the week.

And last but not least, keep an eye out for our next installment, coming in two weeks. We’re trying something new that I’m very excited about. Hope to see you there.

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Please be advised that this blog post may discuss topics related to suicidal ideation. If you feel that the content may affect your well-being, please proceed with caution. If you or someone you know

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