posted on March 07, 2012 11:12
Two weeks in Tanzania and Rwanda (ECD), two nights at home in DC, followed by one week in Strasbourg, France (EUD) sum up my journey in the last month: two events, different in nature, but equally rewarding.
We are blessed by a team of visionary leaders at the helm of youth ministry in the respective Divisions. Pastor Magulilo Mwakalonge, ECD Youth, Chaplaincy, and Music director, saw the fulfillment of his dream to bring together the various leadership teams in his Division who were involved in different expressions of youth ministry including administrators, departmental directors, pastors, and volunteers in the regions and local churches. Under the theme “Back to Basics,” the event was a great example of integration and cooperation at all levels of church operation. Given the vastness of the ECD territory, the project was implemented in two areas; the first brought 800 leaders from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Somalia to Arusha; the second, based in Kigali, gathered 300 leaders from Rwanda and the French territories of Congo and Burundi. The General Secretary of the Division, Dr. Walemba, was present and Pastor Ruguri sent a recorded visual message to affirm the administrative support for youth ministry. The two Union presidents where the events were hosted were also present.
One of the highlights of the trip was learning of a project in Rwanda. The Adventist youth have partnered with the country’s government for emergency response situations. In one such operation, 2,600 young people converged in the village of Kayego to respond to an urgent refugee situation. In one month’s time, they built one hundred houses, which are now serving as homes for hundreds of displaced families. The vice mayor of Kayego commented that it was the best expression of Christianity she had ever witnessed and that she was proud to be in partnership with Adventist youth.
My second journey took me to Strasbourg, France where technology was used effectively for maximum impact. The Week of Prayer was streamed live to the various churches of the region where groups of young people had gathered. Individuals followed in their homes as well. The weekend camp that followed brought the whole group together from Friday to Sunday. The highlight of the weekend was a prayer vigil that lasted into the early hours of the morning with the full participation of all the young people in prayer, commitment, and the sharing of spiritual experiences. It was amazing to see young people who are living in a secular environment display such depth of spirituality and commitment to serving Jesus.