20 August 2020Daniel’s story inspires loyalty to God in young people

Daniel and his three friends inspired young people in Bassa to strengthen their relationships with God.

Forty-one young people from ECWA NEPA A church in Bassa on the outskirts of Jos, spent a day with our Jos volunteer team talking through the issues they face including work, corruption, poverty and rape.

“We used the story of Daniel, from the Old Testament, to help uncover what these issues mean in their lives today and how they can respond,” explained international coordinator Tassie Ghata.

Some young people are school pupils, some are at university and others are working. All were living at home because of Covid and summer holidays.

“What stood out to the young people is that their world is not that different to Daniel’s. At the end they said three things really stood out for them.”

Firstly, that Daniel and his three friends had personal relationships with God, they knew God and God was with them. Some of the young people realised they did not know God in the same way and wanted to do so.

Secondly, Daniel and his friends were resolved in their heart to honour and obey God. They were determined not to defile themselves by material possessions, food offered to idols and sex.

Thirdly, Daniel and his friends were diligent in fulfilling their responsibilities, even though this involved serving in the Babylonian court. They were not lazy people, instead balancing work with loyalty to God.

The workshop ended with a time of counselling for all young people who wanted to, with many rededicating their lives to Christ or making first commitments.

One young man stands out for Tassie. “He shared that the workshop had changed him but he was worried that when he left he would revert back to his normal life. We counselled him and he made up his mind to rededicate his life. On 17 August he died; we are certain he is with Christ.”

20 August 2020Women church leaders share challenges and support each other

Women leaders from churches across Jos are encouraging their congregations to tackle sexual and gender-based violence following our workshop.

One hundred and five women from 20 churches attended the day-long SGBV workshop on 17 July, during which international coordinator Tassie Ghata shared about the many stories of rape she has heard during lockdown.

This helped others to also share their own experiences and support each other. They were able to open up on the burdens they were carrying and release emotions they’d bottled up believing they could not share such things.

“It was eye opening,” said Tassie. ‘People saw that other congregations are experiencing the same issues they are facing. They returned to their churches determined to live differently and to help their members live differently.”

Tassie shares one story that stands out to her, though it is not unusual. One of the women, a pastor’s wife, shared that one of her children had been sexually molested when it was three months old. She had felt it was her fault as a mother and had carried this guilt, which affected her relationships with her husband and other children.

“Through counselling she came to see this was not her fault and also gained strategies for rebuilding her other family relationships.”

Tassie and the Jos headquarters team were delighted all the women leaders who were invited, attended the workshop. This is exceptional as usually around 60% of invitees turn up on the day.

Most of the women leaders came from churches the Jos volunteer team has already visited to share the gospel, counsel and test for HIV.

20 August 2020Young people commit to changing their lives

Young people from two churches in Miango have committed to changing their lives and living differently.

Jos volunteer team members spent a July weekend in Miango leading workshops for young people. They looked at how Daniel and his friends remained loyal to God while they were serving in the Babylonian court.

On the Saturday they were joined by 55 young people from ECWA Zanwra and the Sunday by 85 young people from ECWA Kwasha.

“Daniel and his three friends made a great impact on these young people,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata. “They said that they don’t know what to do with their lives and feel abandoned if they are not academic.

“They want to learn how to handle the issues they face in their lives including rape and pregnancy. One 14 year old with a baby said that she didn’t understand how it happened.”

The Jos volunteers counselled all those who wanted someone to speak with. Many made a first commitment to Christ or rededicated their lives to him.

20 August 2020Church visits restart as lockdown ends in Nigeria

Visits to churches to share the gospel, counsel and test for HIV/AIDS restarted in June in Yola and July in Jalingo.

During June and July the Yola volunteer team have visited five churches while the Jalingo volunteers have visited two churches.

In total 2,115 people heard Grace & Light’s message of social righteousness at these seven churches. Two hundred and thirty-seven chose to be tested for HIV/AIDS with two positives.

Two hundred and eighty-two people recommitted themselves to Christ and 25 made a first commitment.

“Again and again the volunteer counsellors heard people saying they come to church but don’t have a relationship with God and didn’t realise that is what he requires.

“Our message makes clear what God requires of us in Christ. Once people hear this they are eager to come into right relationship with Christ and change the way they live.”

The Jos team has restarted visits in August as churches thee opened their doors.

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