“Transformational” … “Inspiring” … “Encouraging” … “Wow” … “Challenging” … “Guiding” … “Eye opener” … These were the words participants chose to describe their week learning about God’s intentions for the local church and for them as young members of the Body of Christ.
18 young men and 26 young women from Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Zambia and South Sudan spent five days immersed in God’s Word, comparing his truth to the lies found in their cultures, renewing their minds, and gaining a new vision for the future of their own lives, communities and nations. These participants were youth pastors and youth leaders from churches and universities in Kampala, Uganda–28 churches represented in all. The training, conducted in Kampala, Uganda by the DNA’s local network there–Transforming Nations Alliance (TNA)–is an important component of TNA’s Youth Empowered Network.
The cost of the training was subsidized by 41 generous donors from eight nations, each convinced of the importance of training up young leaders in the biblical worldview as a precursor to the discipling of nations.
Pertinent topics of the training included those that compose the traditional DNA Vision Conference as well as specific discussions on the challenges in Africa, a biblical work ethic, developing a personal mission and goals, and farming God’s way–a topic enriched by the teaching location: the Amigos Kira Farm.
Seed projects are integral to DNA teaching, and the students demonstrated their learning by finishing the construction on a new house for an elderly widow who had lost her five children. Her own house was falling apart–even missing one whole side–and, despite her poverty, she was providing shelter for a woman fleeing domestic violence.
“This inspired the young people to know that no matter the situation one is in, there is room to help anybody in need,” the TNA staff reported. “All were touched to always love people without any excuses because this widow was a great inspiration.”
Several members from the surrounding community and another guest at the Kira Farm joined in, singing together and enjoying a new experience. “This was quite phenomenal for the youth to witness the use of available resources to meet a need and demonstrate God’s love in the community,” TNA reported. Their teamwork as members of many different churches was a testament to onlookers of the unity of the Body of Christ.
Finding dignity in farming God’s way
Agriculture is a major component of the Ugandan economy, but a common mindset persists among young Ugandans that only white-collar jobs lead to success and dignity. The location of this training–a working farm–gave participants the chance to examine what God says about work.
They discovered that God himself works and that work is not a curse; that all work, if done to the glory of God, can be worship; and that local resources can be creatively leveraged to eliminate poverty.
“I will invest in poultry since I have been shown how to do it,” said a praise and worship leader from a local church who saw this opportunity as a unique way to earn a living while blessing his community.
“Youth are the church for tomorrow, and unless they are transformed, then tomorrow’s church has no impact,” said a youth pastor from Mt. Kenya Diocese.
At the end of the training, participants formed groups and planned Seed Projects. TNA staff will continue to walk with these young people as they apply what they’ve learned and disciple others. More youth trainings are planned for the future; contact Judith Murungi for details.