Saving Mongu Youth
Young people in Mongu are bored. Job opportunities are scarce. Many wander the streets drinking; become teenage parents; some join violent gangs. There’s just not much else to do.
Mongu is on the far western side of Zambia, capital of the Western Province, though it has a village feel to it. Roads in and out are bad, and it’s isolated far from the capital Lusaka, so official help is somewhat lacking.
In 2009 the Lord placed upon the hearts of Rich and Laurie Weiandt (SIM Canada) a vision for a centre in Mongu for all local youth, from any background, from any church/religion and from any tribe. Now there’s a building, and last year the Weiandts and their four Zambian staff were joined by Daniel and Anita Muir (SIM NZ) whose passion and focus is discipeship – though they also serve in many other tasks throughout the week.
The centre is growing; about 30 young people come every day –mainly boys. The huge need currently is reaching out to the teen girls of Mongu, such as Marvellous Mhusenge (pictured far left, with a youth leader). Laurie and Anita recently started a girls’ club which is going well. MYC outreach events include camps, bible classes, discipleship classes and opportunities for mentoring and counselling to address pressing issues such as drugs and alcohol. Throughout the week there are also on-going life-skill classes from building, music and computers to baking and sewing to give the young people more options for job hunting or even starting their own businesses.
At a recent camp the guest speaker connected with the youth, challenging them to be wholly committed to Jesus and not be ashamed to to be his disciples. “I thank God that I didn’t miss this camp!” says 16-year-old Marvellous . “I never knew I could learn all this! Most of all I enjoyed the life skills – there was art and craft, sign language, cement plastering, baking – and learning more of the Bible. And as for the preaching, it was fantastic. Romans 1:16 encourages us, no matter what, we shouldn’t be ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God at work saving everyone who believes.”
Director Laurie Weiandt says, “At least 90% of the young people stood up in acceptance of this challenge, so now at the Centre we are doing follow-up. Please pray for both youth and staff as we seek to do this.”
As part of their ministry to change young lives, they need to finish the main building, including plastering the walls inside and out. A separate life skills building is part of the plans, because vocational training is such a major local need. As is an all-weather sports court. Then there are resources such as tools and equipment for trades training, computers for an internet cafe, musical instruments and sewing machines. All this so that youth will find MYC an attractive alternative to hanging around getting into trouble, and be introduced to living their lives for Christ in the process.
- that the LORD will provide the funds needed to continue to develop the property and the programmes, and wisdom to use funds well.
- as the leaders seek to know God’s will concerning programmes that will introduce youth to Jesus and/or help them grow in their Christian faith.
- that youth who come would be interested in more than just fun and entertainment and would be open to God’s Spirit speaking to them.
- for the new Evangelism programme. We have young people eager to take the gospel to the community but we want them to be properly prepared.
Are you able to donate to this work?
Or go to share your skills with the team?
Email us here to talk about it.