Monday, July 4, 2022

Youngsters descend on Molepolole for grooming, Christian-based education

Grooming children to accept Christian-based moral education complements parental guidance efforts to mould behaviour in conformity to the principle of botho, as they are the leaders of tomorrow, Worldwide Evangelical Mission cleric Binoy Oonnunny Baby has pronounced.

Binoy, who fancies long hair, told Lifestyle in Gaborone last week that since 2006 the conducting of a 5-day Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) during school vacations concentrating on the most basic moral values drawn from the Bible has shown that children frequently have a more profound effect on the spiritual developments of their parents than the clergy or church staff.

“We invited to the Fellowship under the theme, ‘Evangelism and Family Relationships’, children ranging in age from the pre-school age of 3 to Form V school leavers averaging 18, through letters dispatched to churches, orphanages and individuals involved in clerical work. The inclusion of this category ensured a broad-based demographical representation with the potential of maximizing the benevolent influence,” said Binoy, giving a brief overview of the 5-day evangelical crusade held at Moseluapula Junior Secondary School from July 15 to 20. “Our programme anchored entirely on the CEF international model as well as research by the US-based author George Barna in 1999, confirming that ministering to young people is a key to growing Christian faith. According to the research, children represent the highest potential for conversion. For instance, 2 out of every 3 adults who confess to be Christian made their decision for acceptance before attaining age 18. The botho bonus lies in the fact that as CEF has a way of impacting on the conduct of society dynamically, some of the children who have gone through CEF shall be the leaders of tomorrow.”

According to the Molepolole-based Indian-born cleric, the 2013 edition of CEF was co-hosted by the Worldwide Evangelistic Mission and Harana (Haran) Church of God in Mogoditshane.

For easy delivery the children were divided into 3 to 5; 6 to 9; 10 to 14; and 15 to 18 age groups, referred to as Angels, Saints, Apostles and Evangelists, respectively. The estimated cost of P60 000 to cover meals and transport had been made possible through societal and individual benevolence. This generosity, which has touched many hearts, is reflected biblically: “Be generous and you will be prosperous. Help others and you will be helped.”

The Fellowship Logistics and Transport Co-ordinator, Ngulube Kellys, said although there was provision for 400 children, up to the time of going to press, the lowest attendance on day one was 295 while 366 had been the highest. Two kombis were availed by one of the ministries to provide transport to and from the School.

The 6th and final day of the crusade was held on July 20, the open day extravaganza designed as a refreshing ending, where members of the public were welcome. Highlights of the day included quiz-based competitions for the incumbents and drama sessions before the serving of snacks.

The Botswana CEF National Co-ordinator, Pastor Reuben Ackermedie, said the Fellowship is working in partnership with ministries like Apostolic Faith Mission and Word of Christ, to name a few. CEF has been responsible for providing teaching materials and holds a threefold results-based focus i.e. of Christian knowledge enhancement, faith consolidation and service commitment. As research has shown, some of the children’s parents do not fellowship, however, they emulate the more positive behaviour and lifestyle patterns they see in them.

“We expect the children to have answers to the 5 great questions such as how to know about God, righteousness, confidence, life’s purpose and the future. We want to communicate some basic skills of the Biblical doctrine to children who know little or nothing about God,” said Ackermedie. “We would like to maximize our Fellowship attendances, but the clash between English Medium and Government Schools’ vacations leaves us with no options other than including those available.”

According to Ackermedie, CEF, with its largest operations in the US and Canada and branches in more than 150 countries, is a worldwide biblical metropolis targeting young boys and girls to accept Christianity as the unifying element for discipleship and fellowship.

At the international headquarters, the CEF workers produce teaching and shipping materials, processing information, training missionaries and providing overall leadership to local and overseas ministries.

In his capacity as CEF co-host, Harana Church of God Pastor Moses Mbazo said there should be in existence a partnership and trust between the church and government in the day-to-day running of the country, based on trust and commitment. In anticipation, Christianity is building a holistic person whom the government and community can trust.

“We are expecting the participation of larger number of churches who understand the concept as a way forward. The hosting of a similar event in Molepolole from July 22 to 27, will underscore determination to further the Fellowship crusade.”

Volunteer educators, Lesedi Kegakilwe and Letta Mangadi, said the children’s response to the CEF programme and subsequent induction of parents has been phenomenal, showing what always God-abiding people can do when everything falls apart.

Marulamantsi Community Junior Secondary School student Caroline Mugonza (15) said the CEF moral education has become essential, especially to young people because of their higher rate of involvement in anti-social behaviour, alcohol and substance abuse and premarital sexual relationships.

Botswana Accountancy College first year student, Lebogang Maswabi, commenting on the programme, said young people need religious counselling now more than ever before to survive other challenges such as HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies and youth unemployment. She vowed to spread the message to benefit her peers who shun Christianity for reasons better known to themselves.

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