No matter how much I teach, I always learn more.
The first big event our campaign team took part in was the Y.E.S. rally in Venda, South Africa. Y.E.S. stands for Youth Exalting the Son, and it is a youth rally created for teenagers who are serious about their faith. Partners4Africa’s goal is to spark a flame of enthusiasm and excitement in the leaders of youth, so those leaders can take the excitement back home and spread it among their friends. Y.E.S. challenges the youth to begin service projects in their community, such as visiting widows or feeding orphans. The youth are to continue those service projects throughout the year and report the good works they have been doing to other Y.E.S. chapters in southern Africa.
We hosted fifty students from at least seven different communities at the Copa-Copa Lodge in Venda. Now, please keep in mind, our campaign team travelled from Nashville, to Newark, to London (11-hour layover), to Johannesburg and then on to Venda with just one night’s sleep under our belt. We were…tired. But every single one of the team was a trooper and came through with a smile and a great attitude.
Dorian Flynn and Shak Arrington taught the main sessions, while Blake and I taught the break-out sessions. Hayley Farmer was my ever-ready assistant, and Cheri Flynn was the never-failing organizational guru.
I had three sessions to teach under the theme “Champions for Christ.” I taught about purpose, passion and purity using Esther, Mary of Bethany and Mary, mother of Jesus, as examples. Suffice it to say, I was a little nervous about talking to 25 African teenagers when I knew nothing of their individual backgrounds or where they were spiritually. I distinctly remember telling Blake that I was nervous I would say the wrong things. He just looked at me and said, “Janet, just tell them what the Bible says.”
Those girls were different from me, in so many ways. Yet I needed to relate, to stress to these impressionable minds the importance of Jesus Christ and living life for him. I found that, therein, lies our commonality. Christ. We all came from God, and if we are faithful, we are all going back to God. In reality, we have everything in the world…in common.
I cannot say enough about the wonderful young women I was able to get to know. They were respectful, ambitious, encouraging and loving. They taught me more than I taught them.
And this was only day number one.