Meet the Teens
Veronique: Last year, Veronique attended Christian Youth in Action® for the first time. She struggled and was scared to teach the kids. But after CYIA, she told me she wanted to be a missionary like me. This year, she was back but things were very different. She did an amazing job teaching, she spoke with enthusiasm and was very animated as she taught. She stayed up late the night before she was to teach the missionary story working on the story and all during practice time the next morning, she prepared diligently. But when she got up to do a demo for her team, she couldn’t get through the story and ended up crying. During lunch I worked with her on the story. After talking to her supervisor, we decided to give her a choice whether or not she would teach or let her supervisor do it. We saw she had worked very hard and we didn’t want it to be a bad experience at club. She chose to do it. The reason she had worked so hard was because of how much she wanted to teach and she wasn’t looking for a way out. Her supervisor excitedly shared with me after club that she had told the story so well, she got the children involved, told the story in an engaging way and even would put down the book to act things out. She learned that day that as she worked hard, God would help her and speak through her. The CEF director told me later she had seen that Veronique had written in a school paper that she wanted to be a missionary.
Ismael and Setra: Both of these boys’ mothers’ told us that since CYIA last year, they were different. They are now good examples to their younger sisters and brothers and help around the house. That is what CYIA is all about. It’s not just about training teens teach 5-Day Clubs, it’s also about helping them grow in their walk with God and become good examples to the kids they teach.
Malala: Although Malala is quiet and reserved, she doesn’t let that stop her from teaching 5-Day Clubs. One day after clubs, we all walked up to her house because she lives up on one of the mountains surrounding the village and from her house you can see for forever. The front of the house was hardly wider than my arm span and the peak of the roof was hardly taller than me. Nine people live in her house. She literally has nothing, and yet has everything because she loves God’s and is ready to serve Him, even if it means doing things that are outside of her comfort zone. The next morning, she came to Henriette’s house carrying an arm load of gifts: A tall stalk of sugar cane and a backpack full of mangahazo. As she shyly presented her gifts to us, I wanted to cry. How could she, having seemingly nothing, still give us so much? Then and there I thanked God for her and the example she had given me of true generosity, and asked Him to give me a heart like hers.
The Staff Behind the Teens
One by one, the teens stood up and introduced themselves on the first day of Christian Youth in Action. Each of them stated their name and who their Good News Club® teacher was. Behind each teen who comes to CYIA, there is a GNC teacher who has been pouring into their life.
Harline: Harline is our CEF education director and also works with the Northern Antananarivo chapter. After the first day of CYIA, she was telling me how excited she was because the teens had been coming to her Good News Clubs since they were small, and now here they were, learning to teach kids themselves. Harline’s daughter was one of the CYIA students. She is only 13, but does an outstanding job teaching. I know that the fact that this amazing 13 year old loves and serves God, following in her mother’s footsteps, is a testimony of Harline’s love for God and how well she has served Him, not just in being busy with the work of CEF, but in raising her children to love and serve God too.
Henriette: Henriette lives in Ranomafana, a small town in the middle of the rainforest. Last year she told me how excited she was about CYIA because she was getting older and knew she wouldn’t be able to continue reaching the children forever, but in her words, the teens are the hope of CEF in Ranomafana. Last year during CYIA, I watched as she poured into those teens. She did nothing half way. She raised all the money needed for CYIA and wouldn’t accept any money from me. She did fun things with the teens after clubs, like showing them how to make bread wrapped in leaves. She told me she was happy I was there because the teens needed someone to look up to; someone young. But after just the first day I knew the teens looked up to her and loved her, it didn’t matter how old she was. They saw how much she loved them and they loved her right back. Those teens work so hard, love God with all their hearts and passionately serve Him. It’s not because of CYIA or the white girl who comes once a year It’s because of Henriette, her deep love for God, and how much she has poured into their lives. This year, every single one of the students from last year was back, including three new students.
The reason there is such a great group of CYIA students here in Madagascar is the many CEF workers here, who like Harline and Henriette, pour into the lives of their GNC kids.
Miarinzato may only be 11, but she is an amazing teacher. Her enthusiasm during training, prep time, club and whatever it is that she is doing is contagious.
Landry, Rinoh and I were blessed to get to spend a week and half in Ranomafana for CYIA, serving alongside Henriette.
Harline, Seheno and Lalasoa prepared lunch for all of us each day and even prepared a huge feast on the last day of CYIA to celebrate.
24 teens attended the Southern/Western Antananarivo CYIA, 15 in Ranomafana, and 6 for the Northern Antananarvio CYIA.
This club had about 100 kids, and even the supervisors said they had never seen such a rowdy group of kids with fist fights breaking out randomly among other distractions. The teens did a great job dealing with it and where thrilled to see the children who accepted Jesus change and begin trying to get their friends to be quiet so they could hear the lesson.
Fun Fact: Almost half of the world's chameleons (about 60 different species) are found only in Madagascar.
Pray that the Christian Youth in Action® teens will continue growing in their walk with God during the school year.
Pray for the Good News Clubs that are starting up and for the children who will be attending.
Pray that me and the CEF workers here will serve God whole heartedly out of our love for Him and grow to become more like Him each day.
Praise God for the teens who attended Christian Youth in Action this year, and the new CYIA that started in Northern Antananarivo.
Praise God for each of the children who attended 5-Day Club and those who accepted Jesus.