This past week was Spring Break for the kids and teens in Sweetwaters/Mpumuza. During the holidays, many kids are unsupervised, this means there is more time for them to get into trouble, but also leaves them vulnerable to abuse.
iThemba runs a Holiday club during the Spring and Fall breaks to give the children and teens something fun to get involved in, and also to reach them with the love of Jesus. This year, the kids club was an underwater adventure theme, and focused on the story of grace found in the book of Jonah. They played games, had face-painting, made lots of fishy crafts, and learned memory verses! The teens did the “True Love Waits” curriculum and were challenged to live lives of sexual purity, and depend on God to fill them with His true love. It was a huge blessing to get to help organize this event, and write the curriculum for the kids club, but the best part was working with the amazing iThemba team.
David helped with worship and leading games
It is tempting to run a club like this, and want to give a huge alter call and “claim statistics” on the number of kids whose lives are changed due to this club. But, while a holiday club can be a special one-time event–and we pray that it really did impact the teens and the kids lives–real life change happens over a long period of time, not because of a once-off decision. One time events like this fit into the larger story of what God is doing in these kids lives through the commitment and dedication of the discipleship field workers.
Playing the “Fishing Game” to learn the memory verse
These “fielders” as they are affectionately called, have weekly Life Groups (Bible Studies), meet the kid’s families, and go to great lengths to help disciple these kids and teens. The fielders see their work as walking down a long road with the kids, not just pointing them in the right direction. Sometimes this means visiting a teen every afternoon for a month because of poor choices they are making. It means texting and calling kids on the weekend, or on our day off, just to see if they are doing okay. It means praying, not just for one, but for the hundreds of kids they are in contact with every week. This is a huge commitment. And it is not easy. Sometimes fielders get to see the fruit of their labor– teens who are now leading the Saturday kids club, kids who are now being respectful to their parents–but sometimes fielders will pour into a kid for a year, only to find out this person has been secretly getting into trouble behind their backs. You don’t do a job like that for the money, you do it because you feel called by God, and he is giving you the desire and the energy.
The great commission is a call to go about our every day lives, and as we are going, to make disciples. Who is there in your life that God is calling you to walk down the long road of discipleship with?
Sizwe, one of iThemba’s “fielders” at Holiday Club.
Praise God for the great work that the discipleship fieldworkers do, and pray that God will bless them, give them wisdom, energy, creativity and insight into the lives of these kids and teens. Pray for them as they follow up with kids/teens from the Holiday Club.