First of all--can I just say?--THIS:
No, no. I don't think you understand.
THAT. IS. AMAZING!
We have struggled to reach the young men/boys of this area. It's not easy. Last year, Williamso organized a Saturday program as a way to reach out to them. At the same time he and Manis invested in the development of other rising young leaders, such as Djeffson and Luccene. They in turn invested in others. And that video is one of the results. (The words they are singing are John 3:16.)
During the first week in September, Williamso and his staff (Kerby, Modelene, Djeffson, et al) organized a mini-camp for boys who participated in the program last year and over the summer. We really were not sure how the whole thing would go.
As day after day went by, culminating in a small closing program on Friday night, the result was deep and overflowing joy.
JOY to see young leaders like Djeffson, Modelene, and Luccene stepping up and doing a great job at it.
JOY to see incredible, unexpected development in new, rising young leaders that we didn't even know were there.
JOY in the unity of our staff as individuals from various departments participated together to make the activity a success.
JOY to see the JOY and wholehearted participation of the boys...something we have never seen before like this.
JOY to see fruit from the hard and often discouraging labor of investing in people.
Get a glimpse below:
Each morning started with exercise and karate with Brad:
Following breakfast and a devotion with other small activities, there was a study session. The theme of the camp was Jezi se sèl vre espwa a (Jesus is the only true hope.), and the focus verse was Psalm 71:5--"For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth."
Manis kicked it off by sharing is own personal testimony and the difference Jesus has made in his life. Because he was once one of these boys sitting here (so to speak), his experiences really resonate with them.
The studies for the remaining days covered what Jesus has done for us, how and when it affects our lives, and in what way He is our only hope.
There were also seminars on what is called in French savoir-vivre...basically, life skills.
Josiane's savoir-vivre session was about table manners in society/public situations. Food is always sure to be an interesting topic!
In addition, there was singing, question/answer sessions, and other games.
The smiling kitchen crew kept everyone fed.
The boys could earn points or tickets for themselves and for their team (there were two teams). The points were added up for prizes on the final night, but the tickets could be used to "buy" items in the "store."
On Friday night, the camp closed with a special program in which the boys shared the things they had learned throughout the week.
We were all too busy paying attention and participating in the program to get much photo/video content. There was some great stuff! However, I can share the theme song with you.
A little explanation: The boys sang their theme song during the program, which had a part that was spoken/rapped. Unfortunately, that part wasn't captured on video (argh!). We have never had this much success getting them to sing! After they had sung on the stage, Mèt Almaïs had everyone sing the chorus together again with them. (Words of the chorus translated: We trust in God--Who has brought us to where we are, Who will make us grow--Because, He is our only hope. Hey!) To make it fun, he inserted the rap part as well...only, he didn't know the words! :)
This picture sums it up. Not much more needs to be said.
In these bodies, we will live,
In these bodies, we will die.
But, where you invest your love,
You invest your life.*
*Lyrics by Mumford and Sons in the song "Awake, My Soul."