Jesus Youth leader, George Devassy, found God early

By  Ann Chazhoor, Youth Speak News
  • December 11, 2009
{mosimage}Born and raised in India, George Devassy has a real passion for the youth and for his faith as a Catholic. And it is this passion that led him to become the international co-ordinator of the Jesus Youth lay movement at the age of 26.

Jesus Youth was established during the World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto. Jesus Youth Canada has a charismatic spirituality and adopts a lifestyle of personal prayer, the Word of God, sacraments, fellowship, service and evangelization. Originating from India, Jesus Youth is now active in 24 countries and continues to serve the church.

Devassy, who was elected international co-ordinator almost a year-and-a-half ago, was recently in Toronto. He sat down with Youth Speak News to answer a few questions about his ministry.

YSN: What motivates you?

Devassy: I was blessed to encounter Christ at a very young age and I know without that my life would have had no meaning. I realized that knowing and experiencing the love of God, our creator, is the only permanent solution to the needs and life purpose of we, the created. When I see the world — especially the youth — living a life without meaning and going after temporary solutions of the world, I feel eager to give the truth of our loving Lord to each one of them. So the great need in the world is Jesus, who died for us so that all of us may find salvation. He is the motivation for my life.

YSN: What do you think is the difference between society’s image of an ideal leader and a Christian leader?

Devassy: I think a leader is a leader whether Christian or not but the difference is in  where the leader is leading them to. A Christian leader is one who is leading his people towards a goal which is eternal and he takes guidance from somebody who is eternal. Like St. Paul says, its no longer that I live but Christ who lives through me. In the same way, a Christian leader takes energy from his spirituality and not just his capabilities. Sometimes society may look at successful leaders as those who were successful in getting results immediately. But maybe the success of Christian leaders — like so many saints of the church — might be known years after their death. For a Christian leader, its not just the goal but the love put into achieving that goal which is of utmost importance.

YSN: What is the best way that the youth can take initiative in their faith?

Devassy: The best way youth can take initiative is by gaining the power from the church through prayer, Word of God, sacraments and to go out with this power to the world and bring God’s love to other youth. This is an age full of creativity and energy and this is to be used for serving the church. I am sure whenever a young person stands in front of God in prayer and asks “What should I do?” God surely responds to him with creative ways of spreading the Good News. It was the same in my life and today He takes me from country to country to meet more and more young people to whom I can spread this love. I am 27 now and I have travelled to more than that number of countries sharing the love of Jesus. If it happened in my life… if it happened in the life of saints who were as young as 13… it will surely happen in your life.

YSN: What’s your hope for today’s young people?

Devassy: I would rather say today’s young generation is the only hope. The pace at which confusion about the meaning of life is spreading in the world today (can only be countered by) a force which is faster and more dynamic, which can bring the meaning of life to the world. My hope is that young people take up this challenge and live and give Christ to all. It’s also my continuous prayer, not because the youth today need to be remembered as heroes tomorrow, but because tomorrow is not going to be what it should be if this young generation doesn’t do what they are supposed to do today.

YSN: What do you think is the biggest obstacle for Christian leadership for teens and how do you propose they overcome it?

Devassy: I think the biggest obstacle is discouragement, because the world and evil forces are continuously trying to bring us down with negativity, which leads to inconsistency. So when a motivated leader is inconsistent in serving the Lord — like the Word of God says seeking first God’s work — it creates a set of followers who are even more inconsistent. We can overcome this only if we believe in prayer that the Holy Spirit can never discourage because there is nothing we cannot do when He is there to help us. So a young leader’s life should be one of constantly listening to the positive and empowering guidance of the Holy Spirit and closing ourselves to all other tempting and discouraging voices. If we overcome this, then we can overcome the world with the power of God’s love.

(Chazhoor, 18, is a Grade 12 student at Turner Fenton Secondary School in Brampton.)

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