Kukany’Okusha Youth Conference a Success!
Greetings from the Kingdom of Swaziland! We recently spent a memorable weekend participating in the second annual KukanyΓÇÖOkusha Church Youth Conference! The first Youth Conference was held in Sept of 2013 here in Manzini, and it was decided then that the 2nd Conference should be held in Nkombeni. Since Nkombeni is a rural area, we knew that many of the supplies would need to be brought from Manzini.
Greetings from the Kingdom of Swaziland! We recently spent a memorable weekend participating in the second annual Kukany’Okusha Church Youth Conference! The first Youth Conference was held in Sept of 2013 here in Manzini, and it was decided then that the 2nd Conference should be held in Nkombeni. Since Nkombeni is a rural area, we knew that many of the supplies would need to be brought from Manzini. During the last few months, Youth Officers met several times at our home to plan the activities. They decided to have registration, fellowship, and supper Friday evening, followed Saturday with guest speakers, meals, sporting activities, and a traditional night vigil worship service. They arranged for us to use 4 rooms, a kitchen, the outdoor toilets, and sports fields belonging to Nkombeni Primary School. The theme was “Do Not Let The Fire Die,” and they asked speakers from Techno Serve, Swaziland Council of Churches, the Royal Swaziland Police, and Career Planning organizations to present important messages for the youth. In addition, Manzini’s pastor and the pastor of the Nkombeni church spoke about the importance of having a strong Christian foundation, then building a life for oneself by setting goals and working hard to achieve those goals.
The Youth Officers arranged for 2 mini buses to transport young people to Nkombeni as well as sleeping mats (called sponges) for them to use on the concrete floors. They created a menu and arranged for several young people to help purchase and organize the food, eating utensils, cleaning supplies, etc.
Finally the much-anticipated Friday was upon us. Diana provided transportation for the shopping committee and their purchases. She and Vuyo picked up the fifty sleeping mats, which were loaded onto our trailer. Terry, Victoria, and Diana then headed to Nkombeni pulling our pop-up camper (called a caravan). A bit later, one of the Youth Officers pulled our trailer piled high with sleeping mats to Nkombeni and the two the mini busses brought the majority of the young people. As we pulled into the school campus, we could see the cooking fires were burning as the church ladies were preparing our supper. The local church had kindly provided ladies to cook all of our meals, as well as the firewood to use for cooking. Local folks had also donated a goat, a chicken, some fish, and some melons.
After showing the youth the sleeping areas and the toilets, registration began and supper followed. We all slept soundly, and awakened early to have a light breakfast and begin the event-filled Saturday. We were amazed that we had more than 200 young people there, since we had really planned for 150! Praise God! They listened intently and asked questions during the day, only taking one tea break. Then the committee had planned for everyone to get better acquainted through games played on the school grounds (volleyball, soccer, and netball). After the games were finished and supper was served, a beautiful worship period of preaching, praying, and singing (a night vigil) took place. The church elders came from Manzini to worship with us. Bishop Emeritus was present and recounted the history of the Kukany’Okusha Zion Churches, which God helped Bishop to plant in various parts of Swaziland and even South Africa.
All in all, the young people who attended were fed and provided inexpensive transportation thanks to the support of several local groups, individuals, and Global Ministries. We believe that the money was wisely spent as an investment in future Christian leaders. We felt the Holy Spirit in our presence, and it seemed that God smiled on this Conference. We feel blessed to have been a part of the planning, and to have spent the weekend with these young people. Their enthusiasm is infectious!
Typically here in Swaziland, retreats of any type are rare, and since there is year round school there is no “Summer Bible School” available as in the U.S. Consequently, for most of these young people, this weekend was an unusual opportunity to share with other young believers, encourage one another, and discuss how to meet life’s challenges while living out their faith!
Terry and Diana serve as Long-term Volunteers with the Khukhan’Okusha Zion Church in Swaziland. They serve as coordinators of the development programs. Their appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples’ Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission and your special gifts.