I always wondered what a beautiful story is. Well here is one, I think.
It is now more than two years back that a dear friend from Northern Ireland offered us the chance to do something with some support from his church in that country. One of the areas earmarked as strategic was to see if we could give our schools work a shot in the arm. The approach would be to see how we could partner with those working in schools already who were kingdom-minded. Thus began a relationship with a few key partners. They included a Presbyterian church in Northern Ireland, a local campsite (Rocklands), some SUIS volunteer leaders and a few key churches and schools.
The first thing that began to birth was that of Schools United run by a few key stakeholders and a local youth pastor. What a joy it is to see this now continuing with a couple of key stakeholders. The second idea was that of a weekend camp for high school leaders. We desperately needed to rebrand what we knew as October Leadership Camp. Thus began the first foray into the camp last year in March, with 8 High schools and a few representatives from these schools. We managed to combine our objectives with a few key volunteers.
This past Month we ran our second Empower Leadership Camp and although there are many lessons learnt, we took some significant strides forward. There were two faith prayers that kept being prayed:
We are still following up on our schools but what a thrill it has been to just complete the camp. With a week to go our numbers stood at 18 campers with just a few schools. As our administrators registered campers we realized that the Lord had answered our prayers with 85 campers from 39 schools. I was overwhelmed on the last day as 10 schools without a Christian Union stood up for prayer and committed to going back to start one. The teenagers from other schools with a Christian Union stood behind them symbolically and prayed for them. Talk about being overwhelmed!
In conclusion, I had been stressing about the finances and any hair left on my head was dissipating fast. We had chosen to fill the camp by offering full/part sponsorship. We were very keen to ensure a wide spread of school representation, including those from impoverished areas. As we were about to leave the camp, it was my turn to settle the bill. Tears filled my eyes as the campsite manager offered to cover the bulk of the costs for camp. My second half of the prayer had been answered. The costs included that of the 22 facilitators and staff over and above the number of campers.
SU Western Cape Regional Director
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