CAST Voices Devotion: The Importance of Faith-based Camps

CAST Voices Devotion: The Importance of Faith-based Camps

29 June 2017

By Thandi Gova

Scripture: Romans 12:2-3

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I am both privileged and grateful to be working for an organisation that values the presence of the youth and recognises the importance of girls’ ministry.

On a weekly basis, we engage with girls through sport, dance, support groups, tutoring and Friday-night youth. Time together is limited, as the girls need to get home to do chores, complete homework, look after siblings, or because they have a 6pm curfew for their safety.  During this time, we get to discuss certain issues, but are only able to just hit the tip of the iceberg.

Camp gives us an opportunity to connect with the girls over an extended time, where they have reprieve from the day-to-day routines and responsibilities, with the purpose of creating an environment that makes them feel valued, heard, and supported. This allows them to ‘chill’, make new friends, have fun, learn, grow, and teach.  Above all, it opens the door for them to experience God.

This year’s theme is “Resilience” and the camp title is “Siyanqoba”, a plural in isiZulu that means: “We are conquering”, carefully chosen to tie in with “resilience”: the ability to bounce back, which is “ukubuyela” or “ukunqoba”. The plural emphasises the spirit of unity, community, teamwork, and knowing how we are stronger/more effective when we work together.

By the end of the camp, we hope for the girls to develop strategies to build their resilience physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and intellectually, and for them to return home with a sense of hope, knowing where they can turn to for advice to boost their resilience, and remember that God is the centre, the source of all resilience.

I would also like the girls to return home with this verse as motivation:

“Do not conform to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” – Romans 12:2-3 NIV

Questions:

  1. What are the patterns that we do not want the girls to conform to and why?
  2. How are we helping to renew the girls’ minds?
  3. How are we helping girls to know what is God’s good, pleasing and perfect will for them?

 

CAST Voices Devotion: Youth Identity

CAST Voices Devotion: Youth Identity

13 June 2017

By George Mwaura

1 Peter 2:9 For you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.

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I love working with young people because I truly believe each of them has a future in Christ despite their current situation.  If we bear this in mind, it changes the way we look at young people.

For me personally, growing up in the Mathare Slum of Nairobi, Kenya as a young person was not easy, especially when it came to the people who influenced me.  When I was 12-16 years old, I identified with anything that seemed meaningful.  Part of me knew I could find meaning in Christ, but I did not have someone to help me explore that option.  Most of the time I leaned towards what my friends identified with, such as hip-hop culture or Rastafarianism.  Despite all my efforts to immerse myself in these popular trends, nothing was meaningful.  I knew deep down in my heart that whatever I clung to would lead to meaninglessness as my predecessors had not led meaningful lives.

From my experience, finding your identity is a critical stage because whatever you settle for defines who you become in the future.  Yes, some might meet Jesus later in life, but then you have to face so much embedded in your old identity.  In order to take on your new identity, you would need someone to journey with to solidify your identity.

Finding our identity today continues to be challenge.  It is one thing to claim Christianity, but it’s another to fully embrace that identity.  It’s like having an ID, but never using it.  I believe if most people understood the value of their IDs (and the rights thereof) they would take better care of it, and use those rights.

We have so many youth around us.  They are full of potential, but unless they can figure out their identity, they might not ever become who they are meant to be.  Lack of stable family structures in our society doesn’t help, but this can’t be an excuse.  As Christians, we are called to point people to their Creator.  This calls for intentional living.

  1. How do you identify with Christ?
  2. Are you aware of young people struggling with identity?
  3. Do you have someone you are intentionally working with to help them find their identity in Christ?

Understanding the Needs in Our Community

CAST Voices Devotion: Understanding the Needs in Our Community

The woman who touched Jesus’ cloak: Luke 8:41-43

By Yasmin Adams

Reflection:

Jesus was on his way to Jairus’ daughter but made space for this woman in her desperate need. Jesus was surrounded by need and opportunities that day, and chose to heal this woman.

Jesus could see the woman’s deepest needs were peace and wholeness. The woman took initiative, in desperation and in faith, and Jesus responded.

Jairus was an important person in his community, and the woman was considered unclean and was therefore isolated. As a result of this they both had different ways of approaching Jesus. Jairus was not afraid to ask, the woman was. This shows us that to really understand the deepest needs of our community we may need to dig deep. The most marginalised people will not necessarily come forward for help.

It shows us that in a world of huge problems, Jesus cares deeply for the individual. The woman just had to reach out – he responded, he valued her, he healed her and met her deepest needs. He does the same for us today.

When we look at all the need around us, it can be overwhelming, and we might feel a sense of guilt at what we are not doing. Jesus healed the woman, but he did not heal everyone. Whatever we choose to do for others is important, it is Christ-like.

Questions:

  1. In what way was the woman isolated in her own community?
  2. Do we make space for others when preoccupied with other concerns?
  3. What are the deepest needs of the people in your community?
  4. In what way can we help the people in the community take initiative to change their situation?

Prayer:

Dear Lord, we know you care deeply for our needs and for our community. Show us how our church can be a cloak of healing and peace for those in need.  Amen.