A call to self-sacrifice



ECHO Youth Development was started by Rev. Jaco Strydom. It is a ministry among the youth in distress in the Pretoria Moot region. Their motto is: “Don’t tell them Jesus loves them ’till you’re ready to love them too…” He writes: “ECHO is also a community of Christian believers where we try to live according to principles of the Gospel and the early church.”

I started to take an interest in Jaco and his work when I read his answers to questions in BY, a supplement to Die Burger.  I then went to have a look at http://www.echoyouth.co.za/ to see what they are doing.

Jaco writes (shortened): “The authors of the New Testament portray Jesus as a brave, passionate man who confronted injustices. He slept in the open, ate with lepers, fasted for forty days,… The world needs Jesus. Not a Jesus resembling a church, but a church resembling Jesus; his body in the world.”

Jaco writes further: “We visited Kolkata (previously Calcutta) in India. Mother Teresa said that she often saw Jesus in the eyes of the most vulnerable people in Kolkata. We saw Him too. We realized that there is something of God’s heart that you don’t find in beautiful cathedrals, the most touching spiritual music, the best of Christian books, not even in Bible study groups or at prayer meetings. It seems He chooses to reveal something of His heart through the poorest of the poor. It was Jesus who said: “‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me…’ ” (Matt. 25:35 – 36).

            “Many Christians today tend to move away from suffering in search of comfort and safety. He never promised a comfortable and safe life for his followers. The core of His message was a call to self-sacrifice – seeking out the darkness, giving yourself to be the light.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24).

Mother Teresa said “At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.” And “It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”

            Jaco quotes the following from Tony Campolo on their web site: “First, while you were sleeping last night, 30,000 kids died of starvation or diseases related to malnutrition. Second, most of you don’t give a shit. What’s worse is that you’re more upset with the fact that I said “shit” than the fact that 30,000 kids died last night.”


We thank You, Lord, for the kingdom related work that Jaco and his co-workers do. Thank you for the lives of the many young people which were changed through their love. We pray that You will richly bless their work. Amen


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Gert Berning


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