What does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8
Claire Newby has returned home from a 6-month mission trip to Uganda working with An African Dream, where she taught the young people how to mentor and support each other in discipleship and life skills. She had an amazing time and huge numbers of teens committed their lives to Jesus. She describes her experiences in the extracts from her letters below:
“In my last letter we were going to have the first Teenagers seminar to chose the young leaders. In the end we had two one-day seminars with over 300 teens coming along and we were able to chose 16 young leaders. Some of the parishes have such big numbers of teens that we chose three leaders for that parish rather than two. We have started weekly meetings with these young leaders to train and inspire them in leading their groups back in their own churches.
I have also started the Life Skills sessions at St Mark’s school for the year 6 and 7’s. So far we have looked at; Godly values, Setting our own values for our life and also Peer groups and peer pressure. It’s been a challenge as I don’t have an interpreter for these sessions and so the young people don’t always understand the concepts fully and thinking for themselves seems to be a new thing for them also. I am trying to think of creative ways to help teach these sessions so there is less writing and more chance for them to think and apply.
Yesterday we finished the very first Teenagers Conference. 334 teens registered. The teaching centred around the theme of “Jesus: Impossible is Nothing!” My teaching was an overview of who Jesus is in the first three gospels: Jesus the King, the servant, the friend of sinners and the perfect human. (The overview of John came at a later date). We also had some great times of praise and worship (African style of course), small group bible study and a football match! The amazing thing is that Jesus showed up and met the teenagers in their own need, just as was for Blind Bartimaeus, whom Jesus asked ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The young people prayed, knowing that Jesus is asking them the same question. We had 55 teens make commitments to Jesus. The teenagers really gained from the conference with many, I believe, leaving with a new understanding that Jesus is for them, and He can do the impossible! The conference was a brilliant fulfilling of the vision that the teenagers be valued and taught at their level. I’ve been blown away by the amazingness of the young leaders we have chosen. They worked really hard during the conference, being in charge of the rooms, the teens from their parish, leading worship times, helping with translation, serving the food, organising the football and leading the small group bible studies! Wow!! Just totally awesome how they have got the whole servant leadership idea sorted from the word go!
Seven of the young leaders were presented with their own bibles on the final leaders session with me as a reward for being committed to the work of Teenagers ministry and for showing dedication to their responsibilities.
Amazingly God has provided the ideal person to hand the work of the teenagers to. We appointed Wilson (a local primary school teacher), a God given man as the leader of the Teenagers Ministry and he will move it forward with the support of the team which we built up during my time there.
We had another day Teens seminar where we looked at the final gospel, John and learnt that John’s message within the gospel is that ‘Jesus is God’ and that with Jesus, nothing is impossible!
We (myself and some of the young leaders) visited and spoke at the local Compassion Project in Maliba, we led the morning devotions and bible studies for the teenagers. 12 made commitments to Jesus that morning.
I managed to complete the Life skills Programme at St Mark’s school – including Assertiveness, Self Esteem and Goal setting with the years six and seven. Please pray that the new concepts which were taught to them will really impact their lives over the coming months and years.
One Sunday morning I was invited to lead the Teenagers at a church about an hour away from where I have been based –over 50 became Christians for the first time or made recommitments that morning.
I did some preaching at some of the local churches, over the final few weeks being in the hills, which was a huge challenge and privilege.
A team from Onelife came out and was with me for the final week of being in the village. We then went to Mbale in the east of Uganda for the final week. We ran a Onelife conference for over 200 young leaders, leading seminars, visiting local projects, including the local Children’s ward to pray for the sick children and a street kids project working with over 700 street kids. We visited the amazing work happening in some of the slums in Kampala. We also saw God answer our prayer for a small girl who had been missing from home for a day in an area where 40 children go missing or are kidnapped every month.
Thank you for all your prayers and support , Love and Blessings Claire x”
Since arriving home, Claire has been appointed as the lay pastor overseeing teens at Lee Abbey. Claire is also a director of Soul Mission, publishers of this website.
An African Dream supports several projects in the Kasese district in Western Uganda including St Marks Primary School. It also provides sustainable micro-enterprise opportunities for the local community and supports the training of local church pastors. For more information about An African Dream and to find out how you can be involved in supporting them visit www.aaduganda.org