Working With Youth in Tanzania

Brook Seekins is working with youth (ages 13-35) in Tanzania. She is trying to get local youth groups in each of the 70 GMI churches there. One way this is accomplished is through Youth Leaders Seminars where the youth teachers are trained. Brook talks about the latest seminar in her latest update letter:

Youth Leaders Seminar
Last week we called together Youth Department leaders from each region and center of our churches. Our goal was to train them how to do their job and then send them out to train Youth Teachers for each church in their area. In theory this sounds great, but in reality it is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. For five years we have been training regional leaders annually so that they will go and train the people under them in local churches in order to start Youth Groups. It is impossible for my team of four leaders to reach all 70 churches, but these regional leaders can reach the 6-10 churches under them. Over the past five years, progress has been slow. We struggle to explain to pastors and church elders the need to have more than just a choir for their youth. We struggle to find capable men to teach in each church. We struggle with the high turnover rate of leaders on all levels. And yet there is hope. Slowly but surely people are starting to catch the vision.

May I introduce you to a man named Jericho? He has been a regional youth leader for years now. He has a heart for God and His Word. He desires the youth to learn the Scriptures. Many times we hear how he rode his bike hours away to talk to a church and help them establish a Youth Bible Study. Other times he rode all around his region to make sure the the Camp Announcements had arrived and that the pastors and elders were encouraging their kids to come to camp. God alone knows how much time and energy he has put into doing his job well. Now, he is the secretary for the National Youth Department. It is my privilege to have him in meetings because he is someone who has been there and done that. He took all the training we gave him and put it into practice. He has trained two leaders under him to start taking on the responsibility of traveling to churches in their local areas. Almost all the churches in his regions have appointed someone to teach the youth, and over half of them are actually teaching weekly Bible studies. That took a lot of hardship and endurance on his part, but we are seeing the fruit of his labors. Today he is studying to be a pastor, and I know that he will give his all in this area, too.

Whenever I feel frustrated at how long it is taking for local churches to implement weekly Youth Bible Studies, I remind myself that some are. I am encouraged by those who are working hard to make it happen.

Youth Camps
In one month we begin another year of Youth camps. Every day, I am working on activities, Bible studies, supply lists, staff, and short-term team members for camp. With my staff coming from the US and several different regions of Tanzania, there is a lot of communication going on these days. I am also training in a brand new camp co-director. The letters have been sent out to all the churches so that the campers know all the details of when and where and what to bring.  With the lack of postal services here, sometimes those letters arrive late or never. Sometimes someone traveling near a village will toss a letter out of the car as it passes a busy area of a village, hoping that someone will pick it up and get it to the church!

Please pray for Brook and her ministry in Tanzania! Pray that God would raise up more men like Jericho to help start Youth Groups and Youth Bible Studies in Tanzania. Also pray for the youth camps coming up!

Below, you will find Brook’s latest ministry video and some Tanzania statistics:

Population:   45 million
Life Expectancy:   55.0 years
Infant mortality:   65/1,000 births
Adult Literacy Rate:   72.3%
Youth Literacy Rate:   78%
HIV prevalence: (ages 15-49)   6.2%
Population living below the national
poverty line
:
  35.7%
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