Lisa (Executive Director) and Rebecca (Missionary) spent two weeks in Zimbabwe in August.
While we were in Zimbabwe we spent about a week with many of the same youth that we will be working with regularly at a youth camp hosted by Celebration Church. The same camp where this God dream all began in 2018!
The camp was amazing, of course, just like last year. But a similar understanding was had among the youth that many of them were going back home to very difficult circumstances. The feeling can almost (almost) be compared to when family comes into town for a holiday. It's exciting and fun but when everyone leaves you're left with a quiet and empty house. Multiply that sense of loneliness with added emotions of hopelessness and even ones that comes from tough family situations that they had to return to back home.
We were able to spend an additional week pouring into some of the youth leaders we asked to join the LDJ Ministries team once we launch. They were so encouraged to know that not only did someone see potential in them but that they were considered important. One girl was in tears upon hearing we really believed in her and she had an important role to play not only in this ministry but in the world.
Once we met with our leaders we hosted a big event with 250+ students. They had a blast! As you can see in the video above.
We saw the need for these kids to have some place to go and to have people surrounding them that love and care for them.
A big cultural difference in Zimbabwe for the youth is that they often throw these big parties called vuzu parties where they hide out somewhere and try copious amounts of drugs and alcohol and try to sleep with as many people as possible in one night. We want to be counter-cultural and give them an outlet to have fun without feeling pressured into things that will ultimately lead to their destruction.
We can't wait to go back and continue our work in Zimbabwe. We will see change in Zimbabwe!
This is Bruce. He is 18 years old.
Bruce attended the Celebration Fuse Youth Camp last year in Zimbabwe.
We want to highlight Bruce because he is a perfect example of what a good mentor can do for a child and how a sense of purpose can promote positive behaviors and give vision and direction for life.
"I started going to Celebration Church in 2017. I would go and I would just attend the service and then go home but one day a guy named Lesley said I should join the media team."
Bruce says that he didn't want to join the team but he reluctantly agreed and began to learn the ins and outs of serving on the media team for services, outreaches, and events put on by his church.
"I didn't really want to, but I joined... every Sunday he [Lesley] taught on how to do media. Lesley has taught me things I didn't know and he treats me like a young brother."
Before Bruce began serving on the media team he says he was usually distracted and a half-hearted participant in events. However, his involvement in something he enjoys and has talent for has helped him in many areas.
"It's helped me socialize. I am not a person that talks a lot but I have learned a lot. I was made a youth leader, something I was not expecting to happen.
I thank Lesley for being a good friend and a big brother to me. Ever since I started serving I go to church every Sunday and it has really helped me."
Bruce's story isn't always the case. Not every kid in Zimbabwe has access to a pool of people in his or her community that are willing to invest in their purpose. Not every child has the opportunity to get involved in volunteering in a specific vein of work where they feel purposeful and gain vision for their lives.
LDJ Ministries is here to change that.
We want to provide these mentor relationships and opportunities for the kids to lead their own program with the help of adult volunteers while being trained in skills that they are interested in to open up job opportunities at an early age.
Bruce is a success story based on the principles that LDJ Ministries believes in. To LEARN, DREAM, and then TAKE THE JOURNEY. However, there are plenty of children without this same story that still need our help. Children that you can impact and change the life of for good!