This year, the Brunstad Christian Church in South Africa (BCCSA) welcomed 28 participants to the Christian Youth Development Program (CYDP). Composed of young people from Brunstad Christian Church fellowships throughout Africa, namely: Uganda (3); Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (2); Kenya (4); South Africa (3); Zimbabwe (4); and finally, after 3 years of delays and administrative challenges, twelve from Cameroon were granted visas enabling them to join the program – heartiest congratulations and welcome!
The aim of the CYDP is to provide opportunities for young people to develop in all spheres of their lives. Having acquired the skills to be self-sufficient, and combined with a willingness to serve others, they can return to their home countries and make a significant difference in their local fellowships and communities. BCCSA has training facilities that cover a wide range of skills. For example – carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, kindergarten, sewing, bookkeeping, office administration, event co-ordination, media, IT network installations and warehouse management.
However, one of the most important components of the CYDP is the spiritual development and wellbeing of participants, and their integration into the congregation of BCCSA is vital for their spiritual growth. This takes place through Bible studies, church services and other church activities, which all form part of the weekly program and provide opportunities for interaction with other members of the church. A deeper understanding of the Bible is developed through the Bible studies and this enables the young people to apply the gospel in a practical way in their daily lives. An English language course is also offered which covers the spoken and written word and makes a significant difference to participants’ understanding in all areas of the program; particularly for Bible studies where preparation must be done on a specific topic each week; this facilitates and encourages questions and discussion.
The feedback received from some participants clearly shows their appreciation for the skills and the spiritual development they have gained on the CYDP.
Gordon Omondi (Kenya):
“I have received training in hotel management and hospitality and the skills I have gained include record keeping, stock control and stock taking, how to prepare hotel rooms and apartments for guests and cashing up. This has enabled me to learn how to work with different people, to be patient, to work hard and most importantly manage my time.”
Chantale Kengne (Cameroon):
“The Bible studies are helpful and very uplifting for me, for example, we take one term and talk about it until everyone understands the meaning of it and things become more and more clear for us. It is so good to hear the testimonies of different members of the church and how everyone is in the same spirit and has the same longing to be disciples of Jesus Christ.”
Heleen de Wet (South Africa):
“I am receiving training on the media team where I have learned a lot, such as doing recordings, editing songs and articles for ActiveChristianity. I also work with filming and have learned how to put together film clips for interviews or to make a music video, depending on what project we are working on. I really enjoy the training I am getting; I have learned so many new things and I am very thankful because it will help me a lot in the future.”
Marc Touoyim (Cameroon):
“I enjoy the easy interaction between the lecturers and students on the language courses. The church services are edifying, comprehensive and straight to the point. Events are organised properly and are for all age groups. The Bible studies are helpful and fun in a relaxed atmosphere.”
Precious Zawadi (Uganda):
“On CYDP I have learned hard and soft skills and I have gained a lot from attending church services, Bible studies and having fellowship with other members of the church.
The soft skills I have learned are how to communicate with and understand others; do what’s best and care for those around me. Most importantly, I have learned to serve others rather than to be served. Kitchen duties, cooking, housekeeping, learning to use appliances and do stock taking are some of the hard skills I have learned. I am also learning how to deal with children at the kindergarten.”