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A Day in the Life of Ian

Often I get asked “What is your typical day?” Amazing how my mind goes blank and I mutter something about not having “typical” days. Not a good answer.

I guess the problem is, deep down, I only feel like I am doing our ‘real’ work when it is something that has appeared on the program on our website and blog…..

So, here is a real life, typical account of a day that never gets on to the program:

06:15. Tumble out of bed, switch on computer and go to make coffee… It is just getting light. The dawn chorus of tropical birds, FM radio, Taxis and crying babies is just starting up outside. It is still cool after a night of rain. Maybe more relevant to me at this point is that it is early enough that the internet will give at least acceptable speed. For the next couple of hours I will try and get up to date with admin, general correspondence and attempt to get my sleepy brain around different exchange rates as I check my accounts.

08:30. Shower and a quick breakfast. By 9am other YEA team members will be invading the office, and my shower room is an annex to the office…….

09:00. Meetings with Collin (to make sure we both know whats happening today) and Ray (to discuss the campsite) and Eugene (to discuss the fundraising event) and I am ready to go out for the day.

10:00. First stop is to catch up with Prosper. The Coffee shop set up is in full swing and we need to go through the accounts to make sure we are sticking to budget and also decide what work to do next. This leads into a rush to the bank to access money and to the paint store. By now I realise I am getting late as the Kampala traffic makes ‘quick’ things ‘slow’.

12:00. Meeting with programme committee for Uganda Youth Forum to start work on the plans for the January National conference.

13:30. Quick snack and read the local paper….

14:30. By now the heat is building and any sensible human would be planning a siesta. Instead I am chairing a meeting for the UYF conference. It is evident that we are all lethargic. We sluggishly respond to the minutes of the previous meeting and try and get our brains connected to the matters in hand. The ceiling fan is a multi directional one. This means that every 30 seconds you get a little respite of cool air. It then moves on to revive your neighbour. The meeting ends at 16:00 hrs with a surprising amount planned, all things considered.

16:00. Before leaving the UYF I have a brief meeting with the 1st ladies PA. 10 minutes of discussion on how to set up national consultation on youth issues. Something as potentially important as this squashed into a sound byte. I go on my way with ideas buzzing in my mind!

Not the best time of day to cross town. Too much traffic and searing afternoon sun. Stuck in the jam in Wandegeya my right arm and right side of my face gets toasted. I am offered the usual intriguing selection of street trade. Baskets of oranges and carrots, ‘made in China’ toys, ornately framed mirrors, a set of garden shears. For the thousandth time I try and convince a young guy that I only need 1 car phone charger so don’t need the one he is dangling through my window!

17:30. Meet with VOW leaders to plan the upcoming mission to Mwanza in Tanzania. We conclude its best for the team to go across the lake by ferry to avoid the 2 days of bus travel. The more we discuss the more I feel I want to be part of the team. The trip is at Christmas. Do I want to spend Christmas at a youth conference in Tanzania?? I’m too tired to make that decision today.

19:45. Home at last and time to cook supper and relax…..

A typical day?? Well yes actually.


Burundi - Report from Collin

VISION CASTING FOR THE FUTURE

Our recent trip to Bujumbura-Burundi was to have vision casting meetings with key church leaders and NGO leaders about who we are as YEA and how we would like to respond to issues facing youth work in Burundi.

Critical for the development of this small, war ravaged African country is the development of a new generation; a deliberate investment in the future i.e. the children, teenagers and young adults.

Unfortunately, investing in youth is a very new concept in this country. In the local churches, the older church leaders are scared that youth will hijack their leadership once trained and developed. On the streets, thousands of young people hang doing nothing.

Coming out of a brutal civil war hasn’t helped as the majority of people are more interested in how they will benefit. A prominent international child organization has recently had to pull out of working in Burundi after failing to find credible local partners.

Yet we are convinced that God wants us to work in this country in helping build the future (the teenagers and young adults) through partnering with the local churches there.

We had vision casting meetings with a variety of key church leaders from the Anglican Archbishop to local church pastors and youth leaders as well as heads of key Christian organizations.

From these meetings, viable relationships and partnerships for YEA have started. Credibility as an organization has been created and a wide range of ministry opportunities opened.

"You’re welcome to Bujumbura", said the Anglican cleric.

Now that we are welcome, we are ready to avail ourselves for ministry and let God use us in Burundi starting with July-2009.

WAYS YOU CAN HELP

Pray: For Burundian Christians and Church leaders recovering from decades of brutal civil wars, and for our team as we help rebuild the future of this country

Give: Visit our just giving page to support the Burundi work

Get involved: Discover how you, your family, your church etc can help in rebuilding the lives of thousands of young people in Burundi


Lira (Dokoro) Mission Trip Story February 2009
 by Celestine

Hello to all of you dear readers, my name is Celestine and I am a volunteer with Youthworx East Africa. I’m so privileged to have been given the opportunity to serve Jesus with this Christian based organization. Getting to the point; On Thursday the 19th Feb Prosper and I were sent to Lira district, located in the northern part of Uganda, about 250km away from Kampala.

Our journey was an exciting one, especially for me! In the bus, I sat near a man of about 48 year who kept me entertained throughout the journey. This guy was actually seated between Prosper and I. Prosper, though sounded like he wasn’t amused with this man’s funny stories and sense of humour.

We got to Lira at around 3:45pm. I suddenly felt lost! Everything was new, the smells, sounds all looked really different to me, what kept me going was the fact that I had come to serve God in this place.

 

Pastor Alfred Obote, our host, was really welcoming and very excited to meet us. He then took us to the place where we spent the night. The following morning we were to start our journey to Agwata, 40km from Lira town, in a new district called Dokoro. Our night in Lira town was fine; the beds too were okay though the nearby bar was really noisy. I endured the journey to Dokoro. I have never been on a journey as dusty as this one was. We traveled in a small 5 seat car which had 8 people in it!

Anyway, we managed to get their safely although very dirty. We then checked into one of the local lodges and then headed off to the church where we were supposed to have the conference; luckily, this was just a ten minute walk from the lodge. We got there at about 10am and found just two people, this to me didn’t really surprise me, but what surprised me is that when everyone had come (after about 1 hour), the majority were youth workers, 40 years and above and just about three youth! Their explanation was that most of the youth were back at school. In the 2 days we covered a lot of teaching, 5 X 2 hour sessions based around the theme.

The theme for this conference was "The leadership Call and His role", it was got from Jeremiah 1:4-11. We spent two days here and headed back to Kampala on Saturday 21st, we got into Kampala at about 11:45pm . I felt a lot of satisfaction from what God had used us to do in Agwata. I pray and believe this is just the beginning.

So dear reader, that’s all I’ve managed to summarize from the Lira mission.


Masaka District Compassion Discipleship.
6th to 15th January.

This programme was targeting young people in the projects aged 13 to 18.

  • The aim of our programme was to enable the young people to be clear minded in developing Christian Character.
  • Recognize and acknowledge they are people of dignity and purpose because they are created in the image of God.
  • To realize the importance of being a Christian in all their relationships and decision making.

The Compassion Projects around Masaka have been helping young people who have been through a lot of struggles in their lives. Many of them are orphans living with Grand parents; others are living with step parents in difficult conditions. Compassion International, apart from helping them with school fees, is also giving them a Christian environment outside of the home. This is where we are coming into partnership with them.

In the recent visit we covered the following topics in a discussion format, helping the youth to understand and make personal decisions about how to live their lives. This is very important in East Africa where most teaching is imparting knowledge rather than engaging the intellect.

  • Who God is and therefore how we should see ourselves.
  • Both living and passing on Christian Character.
  • Setting Goals in our lives
  • Value of Education
Most Young people we meet have a wrong picture of who God is. To them He is distant, formidable and religious. Through a proper Biblical understanding of who God is they are able to build a genuine relationship based on love, trust and a desire to serve.

Our teaching on Christian Character development is vital if the church is going to grow into healthy body. In up country areas exemplary Christian leadership is scarce so it needs to be taught to the youth so that they can be the ones setting the example. 1 Tim 4:11-12.

Setting goals and education work together and complement each other. Many young people we work with have 2 generations behind them who have remained illiterate and do not value education. Therefore it is not enough just to send a young person to school by paying their fees’. They also need to grasp how this experience will change their potential in life.

All this work is not without its frustrations. Time keeping is a big problem. In a rural area the youth come from far and most have farm work and other responsibilities in the home before they can attend the sessions.

Also the team noted that the young people in this area are still struggling with big self esteem issues that we need to find an effective way to address. This is especially so with the girls who have been raised to believe they have very limited value in the family.


Hoima 25 - 30th January 2009
Ian, Prosper, Carol.

It is a common occurrence for Church of Uganda Diocese’ to do staff re-shuffles. We are used to this and often find ourselves re-aligning to new Reverends, Youth workers etc. We arrived in Hoima in the middle of a change around affecting the key people we work with. We were concerned this would damage the work we went to do, but fortunately a quick salvage plan saved the day.

The original plan was to train a team of young potential Youth Workers then travel with them to run 3 village Youth Conferences. The team we met was small, 6 people, but proved to be excellent. The 2 day training went well and we really felt we had a group of young people who had a heart for the work. We concentrated on teaching them how to understand the youth they would be working with and how to communicate with them in the most effective way.

The 2nd village in the planned conferences called to say they were not yet prepared. Villages 1 and 3 remained.

 

Day One, Village One: We arrived to find nothing happening. Long discussion between Innocent (the leader of our Hoima team) and the Pastor, Youth Leader etc of the village confirmed that the information had not been passed on to them effectively but they were determined we should be back the next day and they would have a good group of youth ready. We were doubtful but agreed.

The next day we found they had lived up to their promise. A great group of about 45 young people were eagerly waiting for us. The day was a success. The teaching, discussion, games etc all very well received. The time was short because we had lost a day but there is now a commitment to continue this kind of event in the future.

We debriefed with the team we had trained and agreed that they were both equipped and confident to run the conference in Village 3 themselves so we headed back to Kampala early.

In the course of the week we were able to meet with John Kitalibara, the incoming Diocese Youth worker who is committed to the work we have been doing in the area and is keen to partner with us.


Volunteer Team Training Weekend.
6th to 8th February 2009.

In the course of 2009 we will be meeting with our volunteers for 4 training weekends. The Youthworx team is growing and we want to ensure that we keep a level of training throughout so that we can give more responsibilities to team members. Also we are gaining new volunteers who need the opportunity to really understand our work and get to know the existing team.

This weekend was hosted at our own campsite and 14 volunteers attended. A few were unable to come because of other commitments but we will catch up with them individually. Some of the weekend was spent in prayer and Bible study but most of the time was used looking at the following topics through discussion and small group workshops:

Exemplary Leadership and Discipleship as a team member: Led by Ian. If our volunteers are not walking the talk they will not be effective. This session, based on the relationship between Paul and Timothy is foundational to who we are as an organization. We are concerned that each volunteer representing us is being discipled, held accountable and aiming to set a Godly example in the way they live their lives. We stressed that our Christian walk is 24/7 and we are not just asking the team to "be good when on YEA business".

YEA Mission and 2009 work areas: Collin led this session aimed to be an envisioning forum to help the team see the scope of our work, the aims for the year and grasp a clear understanding of our vision. He challenged the team to buy in to this vision, taking ownership of the different areas of work so that we can concentrate more on oversight and team building.

Contracts and Roles: We have written up a volunteer contract so that all team members know what they are committing themselves to. We ran through this document in detail and discussed the expectations we have both ways in terms of commitment and accountability. All the volunteers went away with a copy of the contract. The next stage will be for us to meet with each volunteer separately to agree roles/time commitment etc and for them to sign.

Self motivation and thinking outside the box: Collin took us through an exercise in thinking beyond the obvious…….. Need I say more?

Principles of Project planning: This was a practical workshop to help all our volunteers to take an active role in planning and leading the work.

How to prepare a Youth targeted talk or sermon: This workshop led by Ian explored different means of communicating apart from the traditional stand up and talk mode. The volunteers were challenged to look for new communication methods in small groups, and then we came back together to share our ideas.

Sunday morning we also studied Hebrews 12: 1-13 about our need for the Lords discipline in our lives if we are to finish the race set before us.

By the time we left the campsite it had been raining for about 4 hours so 4WD and Diff lock was needed to get back to the main road. The joys of Africa