Kamphata. Let me begin by saying this place was beautiful. The church was built at the foot of a rocky structure. It was stunning. We were all struck by how beautiful it was. I envisioned coming away to this place for weekend retreats. We settled on having our next pastors’ overnight prayer here. Of course I am still hoping I can come and build a weekend house here. Everywhere I go I want to live.
There were over 250 youth. It was overwhelming and made me feel very very small. It is a good feeling. It makes one lean into God all the more because the thought of venturing out alone is frightening. I have never seen so many young people in one place. Accompanying that sense of awe at God comes another twin feeling… fear. Making mistakes with 5 people is one thing (although that in itself is bad) but 250…? That is some serious stuff.
The subject was ‘the role of the youth’ so we taught on “potential’. After all, why would you take your role seriously when you have no idea who you are or the possibilities within you. So we spoke about potential and the One within us Who raised Christ from the dead and lives to guide and teach us all things. We spoke about the baton being passed from one generation to another and how sitting in the ban stands cheering is not the place for the present day youth. Then we spoke of David and all that he was as a young man with only the intimacy of His God to assure him of victory over goliath. The present day situations are none like our predecessors have met before and the strategies have to change. We told them they are the David of this time, unafraid and seemingly foolish and yet just as David killed Goliath, they too can overcome the giants of their day.
Their voices cannot be written down on paper and so I fail to express how incredible the singing was. There were drums and gadgets I cannot name because I have seen them before. They all praised the Lord and we joined. Young people have an energy that is electrifying. It makes you want to go to war, want to fly.
Half the room was filled with girls and yet they accounted for 5% of the participation. How to change this is not from a sermon or fancy cool youthful message. This is ingrained… girls don’t count as much as boys. They’ll sing but very rarely will they offer up a comment. Yet I know they are just as smart. The sad thing is that they don’t know this. It takes more than a sermon to change this. It takes telling them over and over and over again. There is something to be said about the fact that I am a woman. I know that had heads buzzing. But how do I, in three hours, get the message across that I am no freak of nature? That there are more of us and God from the days of Miriam and Deborah has used women? How do I do this and not turn this into a women’s meeting? So I don’t. I just pray that I get to come back. Someone has to tell them that they count for more than what they believe they do. You only go as far as what you know. I think I read that somewhere. If that is true, where will they go? In their hearts and dreams and goals? How far? Two days on and I am still thinking about them. Sometimes we leave exhilarated from the word and then… burdens keep us up at night. This is mine for now.
One girl came up to us afterwards and asked for a bible. She said it was hard to have bible studies without one. We gave her one. We always do. It is hard to say no. sometimes I pray that they don’t all come individually and ask because there isn’t anyone strong enough to say no. I hope there never will be. I also hope we will have enough bibles to give every person who desires one. I don’t ever remember being desperate for a bible. It was available long before I even wanted to look at it. How can you say no to someone whose desire goes beyond your comprehension?
So even though I was disappointed at the lack of participation from the girls, God turned my frustration into a burden for prayer. We are thinking about returning once a week (during the week) otherwise the next opening is July. At least a weekly bible study will mean consistency and faithfulness on our part and perhaps fruitfulness on theirs. Change is not an instant miracle. It is journey.
I have a weekend off! Will write in two weeks when I return to my home village – Mngwangwa, where it all started.