Youth on the Road to Destiny - Misael Milkias

They say "every generation needs a new revolution." If that is so, every revolution needs a leader. It's also said that the youth of Africa are the leaders of tomorrow. We believe that now is the time for a revolution of change in Africa. We believe that the next 50 years will be a time where Africa will reach its God given destiny. But considering where we are now and what we are striving to achieve in the next 50 years, it is clear we are going to need a sudden and momentous way of bringing change; we need a revolution. 

For Africa to start the revolution of change, Africa needs a new breed of leaders to lead the revolution. This is where the youth come in. Leaders are not born, they are made. We need to be intentional in producing them. David wasn't born a leader or a warrior. But he was made into one in a desert with a few sheep; same with Moses. We need to intentionally build the competence of Africa's biggest resource; its youth. They will need to be planted on solid kingdom values and also given the opportunity to exercise their God-given talents and leadership skills. We will need to expose them to resources that will enhance their dreams and their passion. They will need "little sheep" like David and Moses to grow with and develop their leadership skills. Finally, we need to produce a generation that feels the weight of the responsibility it carries. 

So on the road to destiny, mobilizing the youth around the promise of a better future is our God-given obligation and deep responsibility. The youth we culture today in the fear of the Lord are leaders of tomorrow, who with confidence exercise the kind of constructive creativity that will bring revolutionary progress to the continent.

African leaders can inspire confidence in their people, encouraging them to take extraordinary brave actions that will usher in a new day. This will celebrate the great potential that the youth has for moral, spiritual and social development. This demands a higher level of "possibility thinking" from the African leadership. Ahead of us lies a big opportunity to change the fate of our beloved continent. But we must keep in mind that change happens when opportunity meets preparation. And when we prepare our future leaders today in view of tomorrow's opportunity, I believe that change is inevitable.

Misconceptions That Cause Barriers - Triumph Zimba

The youth of today live in a time of diverse challenges, extreme peer pressure and temptation. Cross culture gives them incertitude of who they want to be or what they want to be. The media has been key in this dilemma faced by the youths. It continues to advocate immorality, indecency, obscenity, insolence and crime through music, movies, shows, commercials and modern day celebrities and top superstars, whose lives on TV are to fictitious to be real. 

As the youth buy into these clandestine snares of the media, which deceptively appear as everything a young person needs, they become blinded and incapable of perceiving their ultimate purpose in life and on earth. Ecclesiastes 12:13 states that the duty of man in his entirety is to fear God and to obey His commandments. This entails that a divergence from this duty will bring fulfilment to one‘s life and soul. Oblivious to this fact, many young people have given into peer pressure and the devious vices of the media; resorting to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, clubs, fornication and many others to find solace and meaning for life. They forget that this can only be found in Christ Jesus, who declared in John 10:10 that He came so that we may have life, and have it abundantly. 

The doing of something erroneous and use of something toxic may seem to be fulfilling because it is new and incipient. But what we fail to realize is that their satisfaction rapidly decreases and soon ceases. Not just that, but also, everything that doesn’t pertain to or come from God will leave us with a deep desire to find something more substantial. 

I recall how I fervently indulged in clubbing, partying, drinking, abusing drugs, listening to immoral, vituperative music and idolizing corrupt celebrities. I pursued everything they promoted; violent and rebellious behavior, lust and sexuality. I saw all my peers do the same as well. In the spur of the moment, it seemed purposeful and felt fulfilling. But not long afterwards, it brought me misery, dissatisfaction, a tentative life. 

Often, I lingered through the night, awake and reflecting on life, wondering what would bring meaning to it. The more I indulged in the immoral and erroneous things that preoccupied my life at the time, the dissatisfaction and misery I felt became even greater. And so, I turned from one wrong to another in search of meaning, satisfaction and fulfilment. This is very common amongst young people. They even often resort to suicide to conquer this misery. This is done so because of misconception about how to end misery. See, most commit suicide as a means of ending one’s misery, emptiness and dissatisfaction. But the soul is eternal, and it can only be satisfied by something eternal – the source from which it came to be.

There has never been a time in my life where I felt more fulfilled and complete than now, when I am in Christ. I found my purpose, joy, satisfaction and meaning - all in Christ, and I would never trade that for anything in this world. 

I believe that it is only when someone finds the truth that is Christ that they will truly discover life in its fullness, find meaning, purpose and satisfaction. This will not only help them but will also create a bright and hopeful future for generations to come.

Breaking the Barrier - Ryan Banda

I believe any successful relationship starts with an honest and open friendship. A friend is someone who you connect with personally, mostly on some level of affection. A friend is meant to assist you and give you support in various situations. This connection you build with different people you interact with on a daily basis is based on trust. The closer you become with the person, the more you learn to trust them, even with the most vulnerable parts of you. 

In our lives today, we see the relationships between parents and their children becoming almost impossible to maintain. We often fail to connect with our parents because we feel they don’t ‘get us’. We feel that the gap between our generations is too wide to relate with each other on mutual regard. 

On the parent’s side, it becomes even more difficult to communicate with us because we have already put up our guard, ready to block them out. But this problem could also result from the fact that some parents do not avail the opportunity for their children to open up to them. Some parents choose to take on the ‘dictator’ role and enforce rules on everything their child does.  Often, this results much chaos and quarrel. Because having so many rules, a few are bound to be broken. I believe that it is this kind of approach that drives many children to rebel. It creates a feeling in the children’s minds of being imprisoned in a world of their parents, and the only way they believe to be able to enjoy life, be free, would be to break a rule here and there. 

Before we know it, the parent-child relationship turns into ‘WE versus THEM’. We get too caught up in the hierarchy of the relationship and forget to establish actual friendship. This unhealthy environment is what creates the huge barrier between parents and their children.  

Do we have a solution to this? - most definitely - and here is how.

In the last quarter of 2010, I had just graduated high school. I was in a relationship with a girl. We had been together for almost a year at the time. I was feeling very grown-up and responsible, and thought that it wouldn’t be right to keep it a secret from my parents anymore. Having been brought up in a Christian family, I knew that going behind my parents’ backs with this would dishonor them, and in doing so, I was disobeying God. So then, the woman I thought I’d marry and I discussed about it and agreed to let our parents in on our secret.  

There was only one problem here. She was not saved, and I knew that my parents would never approve. But either way, I was going to have to tell them. In my view, the girl would change eventually.

I was nervous because I had no idea what their reaction would be. So I came up with a brilliant plan to ensure the safety of my life. I asked dad for a few minutes alone. He called me to his study to ask what it was that I had to say. I said to him, “Dad, I need to make an agreement with you. I want to be more open with you about what is going on in my life. But you have to promise to be open-minded about everything and hear me out.” 

He smiled at me. I’m sure he was wondering what I could have possibly done that I was begging for mercy before he even found out. He agreed to my proposition.

I did not tell him just yet about my relationship. But after that deal we made, I began to notice a change in how dad and I related. It became easier to talk to each other, we shared jokes more often, and he found it easier to entrust me with more responsibilities around the house. 

About a month later, I told him everything. To my great surprise, he did not tell me to end the relationship, nor did he say what was wrong with it. Instead, he let me express how I felt and advised me on a few realities of my situation. What he said later brought me to realize that the relationship was not beneficial to me or her. Eventually, she and I decided to part ways. I was happy because it ended on our terms, not dictated by what dad thought was best for me. He gave me the opportunity to decide for myself and trusted that I would make the right one. What he did helped me learn for myself that God should come first before anything. 

As a result of all this, friendship started to grow between my parents and me. Our level of trust in one another strengthened. It also opened doors for us to discuss more issues the youth today mostly struggle with. It became easier for my parents to discover my passion and support my dreams. They were then able to understand me. 

This new growing friendship helped them respond better to situations and easily guide and advise me. Our communication was enhanced.

I believe that we youths have the power to make the relationship between our parents/guardians stronger. I recommend others to give it a try; make an effort to better your communication. To parents, I advise against using other people to deal with your child on your behalf. Reach out to them. Take time to understand them. Nothing is more important than the bond between parents and their young. This bond will only develop as a result of the hand you stretch out to them.

This does not only apply to the Parent-Child relationship but also that with teachers and other significant figures in the older generation. Together, we can break this barrier.

Leaders – Collins Bwanga

I’ve always wondered how world renowned icons such as Nelson Mandela, Wangari Mathaii and Koffi Annan came to be the people we regard as GREAT leaders today. After the passing away of one of Africa’s greatest leader Nelson Mandela, I went into deep thought about how he became such a noble man, and above all, how he was able to influence millions of people today. What kind of person do we say is a true leader? 

I once read somewhere that a true leader is one with the ability to inspire others, motivated by a passion to ignite VISION WITH PURPOSE. That statement, I believe, is one of the hardest things to carry out as an individual. Thus, all leaders need support. Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years, however from the day he began fighting against the apartheid, to the day he was arrested and sent to prison, he had support from fellow mates who shared the same dream as his. We cannot fight battles single handedly. The lord assures us on 2 Chronicles 20:15, “Fear not for the battle is not yours but God’s.” Even though sometimes we may feel overwhelmed with the different scenarios surrounding us, there is absolutely nothing our father can’t fix. God will never put you through a trial that he knows you can’t overcome.

Leadership comes down to two things: who you are (understanding your purpose and identity) and how you think (understanding the mind set of others).  I believe in order to move forward, we have to step out of our comfort zones and learn to embrace the art of risk-taking.  Great leaders are risk-takers. We can take Abraham from the Bible, God tells him to go forth from his country, from his relatives and from his father’s house to a land which He shows Him. In other words, Abraham is instructed to go out of his comfort zone and march straight into uncertainty. In return the Lord blessed him abundantly. 

Personally, I’ve never been big on risk taking; I can’t stand uncertainty. However, I’ve learned that if I am to be a leader, that I might as well go ahead and embrace it. I’ve realized that taking more risks, means I have more faith on the lord, because I know that He’ll never fail me. If I only take the first step, I know that God will come through no matter the day, the hour or the situation. 

Filling Emptiness - Maria Mmari

I once heard a woman of God say 'everyone has a God-shaped hole in their heart'. Looking back on it now, it makes perfect sense. My teen years were dedicated to carefree 'YOLO' living; those years were all about the parties, the drinking and hanging out with the 'who's who'. It was about being seen and noticed, about boyfriends. With all this going on, I carried an emptiness. While these things silenced the emptiness for a while, at the end of the day, the emptiness would always rush back. I could have the cutest outfit, be in the club with my whole crowd and drink myself into a stupor, I could be with a boyfriend and have a great time but whenever I woke up the next day, the emptiness did as well.

Over the years I accumulated so much baggage secretly, which begun to weigh me down. I was drowning in bad decisions and mistakes, at several points attempting suicide to put an end to it all. One such incident had left me hospitalized. I had cut myself severally with blades, knives and broken glass following events in my romantic and social life.

I grew up in a Christian home, going to church and everything. But as I got older, I turned away from the faith. God was trying to get my attention, but I wasn't ready. I figured I would keep up with my lifestyle a few more years then go back to God. The emptiness in my heart however grew louder. I was surrounded by friends, boyfriend, and admirers but still felt completely alone. There were times I would wake up convinced there must be something more to this emptiness I carried but whenever I considered going back to God, unworthiness and guilt and shame roared louder. I wasn't sure if God wanted me back after all I had done.

I do not remember the date that I fully accepted Christ. I had responded to the altar call many times and backslid. I became in desperate need of change. I can't say I went to church, and all my struggles disappeared. I can't say I went to church and in the same instant gave up the drinking, the club, or the bad relationships. But accepting Christ as my savior lifted the weight I was carrying off me. The burden was still there, but it was no longer mine to carry. The more time I spent with God, the more my sinful lifestyle started to fall away. The emptiness slowly began to be filled. The God shaped hole I had? He filled it. God filled the void that no one had ever managed to. Christ took me on a journey of healing and forgiveness.

I thought I was too messy for God, that my past was too dirty, and that I was broken beyond repair. God makes beautiful things out of the most unexpected stuff; He made man out of the dirt of the earth. God’s best work is done with the things that man finds murky and unworthy. The past is not something to shy away from; it is something to cite to show how great our God is. I am not ashamed of the scars of my past; they show me I was once at war with myself and with the world, and that with Christ, I’ve won.