I’m sitting at the OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa on my way back to Toronto from Lilongwe Malawi. I’ve just been speaking at our 8th annual youth conference at Chikudzilere, where one of our community centres is located. Over 2000 youth and 500 children were in attendance. 200 pastors and Chiefs were also there, wanting to participate in “their” young peoples’ event. And what an event it was.
Sitting under a big tent top the kids heard about “radical faith”- a very appropriate description of their commitment to be the presence of Jesus in the poorest nation on earth. Appropriate because our training of these precious youth, which is year-round, requires that they not only study the scriptures, but practise them by working with orphans, widows, and the poorest of he poor in the 35 communities in which they live. So, even as they put in their course-work week by week, they care for the dying, “parent” the fatherless, and do whatever maintenance work the community needs.
At the conference they celebrated their faith with MAJOR singing and dancing, and reaffirmed their commitment to God and neighbour. And boy! Can they dance!!
As our world celebrates International Youth Day, focussing on civic duty, I wish we all could see what I’ve just seen in Malawi. Without doubt these young Malawians are a model for all youth everywhere.