Written by Magnus Bendu (Youth Director)
The youth conference in Sierra Leone constitutionally comprises all youths registered in the various Youth Fellowships of the various Churches/Chapels in the Connexion. A youth for us is somebody between 13 & 35. Just as the width is in the age span so are the experiences in working with them – both tough and enjoyable, considering that both of us working with them are within the same age bracket – Rev. Daniel Koroma & I.
Currently, the number of actively participating youths within the Connexion is around 100. some other youths from other churches sometimes join us in our programmes. We have also had muslims join us in some of our activities. Since youths are active people, a number of activities are scheduled within the year. For the year 2009, the activities include the following:
1. Youth “Singer-Fest”: Done in February at St. John’s Church in Goderich, with 79 youths in attendace. This programme was part of the celebrations of the Connexional Conference and involves singing praise & worship songs in the African way.
2. Youth Outing: This took place in February at Masiaka, 47 miles from Freetown. For 80% of the youths, this was there first time of moving up to that point of the country. Sierra Leoneans don’t travel that much anyway. Young people are particularly not given the opportunity, that is mainly why we endeavored to give them one. 89 youths were present. Food was shared, games were played, Christian music was available, the gospel was shared, joy was evidenced, friendship was inevitable & God was there. It was a memorable ocassion. It was a day’s outing – we left at 7:30am and returned at 8:00pm.
3. Mid Year Seminar: This programme was designed to enhance youth development through Christian principles. The focal topics were self identity, career choice & development and focus& direction in life. We had teachings and group discussions. It was held in June at St. Marks Church, Waterloo. 53 youths defied the very heavy rainfall that day in order to discover what could help them pursue their destiny in Christ. Food and juice were served in a very pleasant atmosphere. We even had on-the-spot testimonies on how the teaching impacted their lives. I (Magnus) and Rev. Daniel Koroma, who is the Co- Youth Director facilitated the sessions, while the youth president, Sylvester Nicol lead a spirit filled devotion from 2 Timothy 1:6,7.. It was a real blessing.
4. Youth Convention: This programme is yet forthcoming. It will hopefully take place at Magburaka, Northern Sierra Leone, about 115 miles from Freetown . This venture is part of our aim to help young people in the Connexion Know their country. Magburaka is muslim dominated and our presence their in Christian love will mean a lot for evangelism. The convention is slated for the 19th to 22nd December 2009. This is always our biggest programme each year. It is more like a camp and in some ways like a retreat. It comprises programmes such as play, prayer, evangelism, teachings, Bible study, singing, Bible Quiz and plenary sessions. So many young people long for this programme. However, this programme poses the biggest challenge to us in terms of financing it. We are grateful to the SLM for their invaluable assistance over the years. Planning has already started for this year’s programme. We need your prayers.
Besides all of these major activities of the year, Youths in the Connexion are also encouraged and sometimes supported to attend other youth programmes outside of the Connexion; for instance Scripture Union and Campus Crusade programmes.
The planning and implementation aspects of the youth programmes are done by the Youth Directors and the Youth Executive with the blessing of the Chairman & General Superintendent. The Youth Directorship is not a paid job, but voluntary. We however enjoy it so much.