Earlier this week about 30 people gathered in a little cafe down a side street in the center of Thailand's bustling capital city, Bangkok.
Alongsiders Founder and International Director, Craig Greenfield, shared statistics and stories about the rising numbers of struggling young people in the developing world. A demographic phenomenon dubbed the Youth Bulge, which is causing unrest all over the world.
In fact, sociologists contend that countries with a Youth Bulge are FOUR TIMES more likely to erupt in civil war, than countries with an older or more evenly dispersed population.
In recent months, Thailand, like neighboring countries Cambodia and Bangladesh, and other developing countries around the world with young populations, has experienced a great deal of political unrest.
But what others see as a problem, Alongsiders International has long considered an opportunity. Churches in countries like Thailand often have disproportionate numbers of young people. We believe these young Thai Christians will be on the forefront of a movement for transformation in their own communities. But they need training, equipping and empowering.
Alongsiders does not seek to set up an "Alongsiders office" in Thailand, or other countries. But rather to partner with a local denomination or church network and work together with them to train up young people in Thai churches.
The meeting in Thailand was a gathering in advance of our one-day Thai church leaders workshop on May 31st. Our thanks go out to Step Ahead Thailand, for hosting and coordinating these meetings.
Please pray with us for God to guide and open whatever doors are needed, in order to see vulnerable children all over Thailand being welcomed into caring relationships with Alongsider mentors and their churches.