I thought I would just give you a little glimpse into what is happening with the youth we work with.
While we were away, its seems that the team sort of crumbled. We were getting text message cries from the boys telling us that their morale was dropping and they were having issues with the coach. We had hired a coach as to relieve Kelvin from being at practice every night so he could be with his wife. But that backfired. Upon returning, we 'released' the coach (although at that point he was ready to leave too) and had a few players leave the team. You see, another team in Kongowea has been enrolled in the same league as us. A man vying for a political seat decided to sponsor them. I don't know all the details, but some of our boys decided to leave to play for this team, including our captain. Lucky for us, the boys who left were ones who had just joined the team, not ones who have been with us for the past 2 years.
During our trip, Kelvin started sensing that God really needs him to focus more on the boys. He has now rearranged his schedule to fit me, work, and the boys in nicely.
This week, we asked the boys to fill out the same sheet on Visions and Goals that I had my ladies fill out. Honestly, the answers were hilarious. Some of the boys really did a good job. You could tell they thought it through and were serious about it. But some just filled it out like all the others. One thing that impressed me was that, many of them wanted to get rid of bad company in their lives. They want to actively chose to hang out with people that will lead them into good rather than bad. Other than that, all of them pretty much put the same things: get a god-fearing wife, preach peace and unity, play good football, get a nice job, be a noble person, etc. One of the questions on the page was, "What are some things that could hinder you?" and pretty much every boy put "death"! Ha, yes I guess if you died, you wouldn't be able to accomplish your goals. One boy was even more dramatic putting 'to be demolished.' Yah, that would hinder you. But the funniest of all was one boy who must have had someone fill out his form for him. On the form it talked about how he wanted to get an 'A' in his examination, finish his studies well and get a God fearing wife. The funny part is that this boy doesn't even go to school and he already has a wife! We had a good chuckle at that.
All in all, they seem to be back on track. They are all 'busy'. None are sitting idle like so many other young men in the area. We hired one of them to look after the centre and the equipment. Kelvin told me that he saved his money and enrolled himself into driving school! Kelvin is also trying to meet with some of them who accepted Christ in the past few months for a small bible study.
And finally, yesterday, there was a big wedding in the area. The brother of one of our boys was marrying the sister to another one of our boys. Weddings, especially islamic weddings, are quite the ordeal here lasting 2 days with lots of yummy food. So yesterday, Kelvin managed to get all of our boys into the mosque (where lunch was served) and they all ate huge plates of biryani. I am just happy knowing they went home with full bellies.
Which is more than I can say about my ladies...
We resumed our ladies meetings yesterday. I had missed these girls so much for the past 2 weeks! I planned to make beaded necklaces with them. I have this vision/dream to start making jewelry with them and then we can try sell it to make some money for us as a group. So we started slow yesterday. I was praying that they would catch on to it. Well, the instant they laid their eyes on the beads, they were hooked! Three and a half hours later, I had to practically shove them out the door, wrapping up beads for 'goodie bags' for them to take home and finish. They loved it! I will be trying out more types of jewelry in the next couple weeks.
On my way out, one of the girls came up to me and told me about the rough month she was having. She is a teacher and is also still studying. I guess this month she had to pay some huge school fees and she didn't get paid since it was a holiday month. She told me that, for the rest of this month, she only has $6 to live off of. My heart sank. She said it with that fake, giggly smile people get when they are really sad but don't want to let on. I knew we needed to talk more, a heart to heart, so we made plans to meet monday evening for supper and some girl chat.
This week, I am starting a bible study with some of my girls! This has been a dream of mine for a long time and the door has finally opened. I had mentioned it to one girl a few weeks ago, just asking if she would be interested. She enthusiastically said "Yes!" The next week, I had about 3 other girls come up to me saying they want to join to (I guess the word got out.) So Wednesday, we will be starting. My heart really broke for my ladies when one of them told me she had a sister at home who wanted to join the group but she had a baby. I asked why that was a problem and she told me that her sister had the baby out of wedlock and most christian organizations shun that type of stuff. My heart broke. That's not God's heart! That's not what God thinks of this lady and her baby!! That's when I knew I needed to start teaching these girls really what God is all about.
As for us:
We are realizing more and more that the best thing we can give our beloved youth is ourselves. They just need our company, guidance, wisdom, love, acceptance, and compassion. We are trying to figure out just how we can do that. Kelvin has hired one of the boys to help out with the business so that Kelvin only has to work part time so he has more time for me and the boys. It's a balancing act for sure! Pray that God would guide us in being available for these young people we love so dearly.