It all started with a bold declaration...It will not rain on Thursday! It did rain...so very very hard, although before that...there was an entire morning of sunshine. In order to get out to community during the rainy season, we must either have no rain, or consistent rain. Going out we had no rain and coming back we had consistent rain. This meant we could make it through and praise God for that! This was unlike two weeks earlier when we had the truck spin in almost 60 degrees while we sat in the back and prayed profusely that we might not get stuck in the mud. We made it out of 5 such muddy situations during that one journey and arrived an hour later than our usual class time...only to find everyone praising God and waiting to hear the word. Come rain or shine...they come to hear the word. It is humbling...bowing our backs down to the place where we are overwhelmed. Could I walk through the rain to hear the word? Do I love Him that much? Sometimes during rainy days I fail to rise and praise Him even in the comfort of my bed, so the question that always never fails to leave me is this: why would they come to hear me?
It is a blessing to feel this though because it cuts you off at the knees and brings you down to size...the bible calls it humility...daily dwelling dependency on God because as debased as our hearts and minds are...we all need God to do anything. That is the heart in which we find ourselves in 2010...needing God desperately.
And so we find ourselves being a part of something bigger than ourselves. We are launching the Somebody Cares YAFORCE youth manual. YAFORCE was an acronym that the founder, Theresa, came up with, long before there was anything. No, office, no staff, no anything and she said...”YAFORCE, Youth Alliance For Change”. At the time I looked around and there was nothing. Today, we have a 300 hundred strong youth movement, a Gideonite army of sorts all focused on our vision “Transformation through the Word of God”.
So, Launching the youth manual seemed a perfect way of returning to this blog. Even though I have not written in a very long time...community work has indeed continued. It seems to me that God knew what HE meant when He said, “there is a time for everything under the sun...a time to speak and a time to be quiet.” It is time to speak again.
We started this new year WITH A BIG BANG! Four months of focus and determination. It all came about as one young leader told us that his greatest difficulty was finding something for his group to do. In so doing he echoed the same for the others.
The launch, though, was somewhat bittersweet. Having never had children I cannot use the analogy of giving birth. I can, however, say that after carrying a vision...letting go is euphoric...a great high that sometimes ends in a great low. I think it is because you spend so much time preparing and the release is short and then things are suddenly out of your hand...and you must watch them take flight and soar as you always intended but never expected to deal with the loss.
33 youth attended the launch of the youth manual together with four zone leaders. It was a time of celebration...with the rain slamming down on the corrugated roof of the newly built Mngwangwa Centre. It made me think about the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost. I am by no means comparing anything but it felt like God came down on us...hard!
There was applause foreverything said; the excitement was tangible. It was exhilarating. We took the youth through the use of the manual, its different categories and its benefits. Loveness Khosa, the youth leader from Mtandile could not contain her joy. Her beaming smile said it all and more.
The manual is a week by week program on activities the youth would involve themselves in. The weeks are organised as follows; (1) reach for life week (here we inserted 10 bible study topics from the reach for life youth bible, teaching the youth to look into the word and allow the Holy Spirit to train them in breaking the bread of the word into edible pieces that would then bring transformation. How often we swallow the word whole and get indigestion). (2) Debate week, where we give debate topics that the youth can deliberate over, teaching them how to use the word of God to effectively discuss social topics affecting their communities (like, ‘is it wrong for a Christian to grow and sell tobacco?’). (3) Teaching week which develops the teaching skills of the leaders and enhances the knowledge and wisdom of the youth. Teachings are provided for the youth leaders, (4) ministry week which is broken into 4 categories (evangelism, sports, community service and quizes). Each ministry project develops different strengths in the group. Finally there is week 5 for those months that have 5 weeks and this is HIV/AIDS week where the group asks a member of the PLWA to talk to them about AIDS or discuss it as a group in the aim of getting everyone to understand the importance of testing as well as right living and ultimately getting as many youths as possible counselled and tested. The manual runs from the first week of March to the third week of December.
Each leader received two manuals (one for him/her and one for the deputy), a Chichewa bible and an English Reach 4 Life new testament.
By releasing the manual we also allows the youth coordinator, Edward, to concentrate on building new youth groups rather than constantly visiting the same groups. At present 11 youth groups exist and are working, beginning this week, with the manuals.
It was such a pleasure to deliver the manual. Watching their faces and seeing the awe and amazement at the design and order of the manual was a blessing that could almost not be contained. Here these youth were, getting leadership material in their own language, something that they can use and effectively impact their communities with. It was a blessing to give them something worthy of them and that was our reward!
In addition to launching the youth manual, we also had our weekly class (now dubbed the Berean Class) swell from 30 leaders to 60. Although we have tried to keep the class small...it keeps growing. It comprises of leaders of influence who will in turn, through their training, impact others. At present we are going through the book of Romans, which happens to be my favourite book of the bible. Last week the group chose their core leadership team for the class and I was pleasantly surprised to find that, of the four core leaders, two are women.
In essence, the 25th of February was one of the greatest days of SC history...yet how amazing it is to note that God’s plans supersede our imaginations...dare we to think that He could possibly have greater things in store?