#day20 #WinterABC2020 #afrobloggers
I recently took stock of a culmination of events leading to an event that has changed the trajectory of my life and those around me. I have always valued the concept of civic duty not necessarily in the context of exercising my democratic right to vote , which is important but rather an obligation towards my fellow men to add whatever value l can to others, even sometimes at my own disadvantage. Some offcourse do look at this as a sign of weakness and a chance to run roughshod and take advantage. l decided a long time ago that it is seldom helpful to want to explain one self or protect self from the vagrances of those with character excesses. My personal motto is to plant a good seed because l understand the value of generational good will building. What happens to our future kith and kin is very much a product of our current settings-that which we are investing in now. This is so elucidated in the teachings of Jesus Christ when he clearly articulates that one of the primary bases of his teachings are founded in the law of reaping and sowing-the law of seasons. Some call it the secret-call it whatever you want. That which is planted and spoken , acted on , the universe will recreate a corresponding effect-only multiplied. You sow at your own risk and present your own harvest. I have not wanted to harvest for me and my children bitter pills neither for their future children. So l try to plant good as much as possible and l am so ably partnered by the man l have chosen to spend the rest of my days here on earth with.
So a culture of service has always been engrained in me coupled sometimes unfortunately with a competitiveness edge. I do justify the competitiveness element from an economics point of view-being more amenable or offering better opportunities for less expenses. It is my thorn in the flesh.
I started a culture of service learning in primary school when there was still a Red Crescent Movement , when l was the only first aider in the whole school together with the first aid teacher. I criss-crossed the whole school field at break time taking care of bruises , sprains , fainting and noise bleeds -mostly nose bleeds. It was not a paid voluntary job- just the thought of getting the first-aider of the year award was enough for me- l loved the ethos of the Red cross and Red crescent movement -in normal wars if wars can ever be normal it is red cross and crescent volunteers who would be able to cross the enemy line and take care of casualties without being fired on.
Then there was the Scripture Union movement in both primary and secondary school. One clarion call of Scripture Union was to inoculate us with the word of God in a way that w impressionable teenagers understand. It also helped to teach voluntarism. There was nothing like a scripture union meeting -the singing and dancing ,the praying was so sincere that over the years l have struggled to see such authenticity in most of what we profess to be Christianity today. Here we made our pledges to abstain from the perils of sex-before-marriage as it was called then. At this time l also discovered l was an eloquent speaker and being an empowerment group , scripture union groomed future leaders and prayer warriors-like seriously. I attended church zealously and can affirm that from age thirteen to nineteen l had attended over 23 youth camps. I was a church usher for 8 years. Those who have been ushers know that it is not a pretty church title and neither does it have a pretty job description-no siree , you are the first to arrive in church for every service which is about three services a week , clean the church and make sure everything is ready and pass the offering baskets-that was before people could just rush to the pulpit and put money there. There was order in church then- ushers were bouncers slush gate keepers slush pastor protectors slush church cleaners. You do know that in church most services are pro-bono right. So l did this for seven years until l moved to a big church. When l moved to this new church l was so exhausted and tired such that l just blended with the crowd and focused on self for some time. Heard though that they missed me sorely at the other church-offcourse l have no proof but l would like to think they missed me.
Then l applied for bible school and discovered at the time l just could not afford the high fees. Back in the day accessing courses and programs for theology was expensive and involved church politics. The failure drained me , life happened and l kinda of shut-off for some time- mmm years. Christian’s call it backsliding -tongues and all.
I found myself again in my mid- twenties. I little bit wiser about church and playing church. One day l heard about the concept of Christ in the market place. The gospel that l had heard for a long time was separating ourselves from the world but here was a message resonating with my spirit because in between the years l had studied Marketing and was a full fledged marketer and entrepreneur and had seen how detached sometimes from reality our Christ Walk was. The basis of the market place believer is that we dont have to divide our lives in segments of church , home and business but rather that we can incorporate a Godly walk even in our work life and business world. We do not have to shut other people based on our differences but rather to find a way of winning them with our conduct in the work field without neccesarily putting labels on our faith. Bringing the walk of faith in the market place. Applying the principles of the Kingdom of God in the market place. Respecting and believing people even if we do not necessarily agree on life styles. That’s why l will hang with people that in my younger life l would not. l dont have to agree with all aspects of your life style or religious choices but l will respect and love you.
So l have become more open, more encompassing, more accepting. l am quite firm on what l believe but l will not be your judge because l dont want to be judged-l hope to showcase the Christ who hanged out with tax collectors , prostitutes and politicians and l am not perfect either.l will make friends with those l must else how will they here the good news. Oh it will never be a profuse you will be damned message. It will be little hints , little acts of kindness until you want it too.
The culmination of all these events is that l met my husband about 11 years ago who also loves volunteering. His first voluntary act that l saw was to change his church and come to mine-l did not ask him, he volunteered , he immediately became a good fit. We moved to Victoria Falls from Harare for him to pursue better art opportunities. We found a small church. We become youth leaders. He volunteered at an orphanage for nearly three years teaching art because he loved it. l focused on grooming young people in the Kingdom. We ended up studying theology. Five years ago based on his work and mine we begun a non-profit organisation called Rise N Shine the name coming from Isiah 60. This organisation is based in rural Victoria Falls. We initially came across these villages in our theological work and fell in love with the people and saw the great educational needs of the young people. The organisation uses the Arts in all its forms to bring sustainable change in the lives of rural youth and women-our programs have mostly focused on girls not because there are more important but their needs are more stark in contrast to the lives of boys and men in rural villages due to patriarchy entrenched in our African Societies. When l was ordained l made the personal decision that l would seek not to start or head a church but rather that l would be a market place Pastor. Change the lives of rural youth through my private convictions using the gifts of Art which we are well endowed with. A lot of people struggle to understand this.They ask why l dont start a church. l wish not to be understood-l wish to do my part because they shall be a day of reckoning and l want to be true to my calling.
Through our programs we run girls and boys clubs in a cluster of rural villages and l am proud to say we have met consistently every Saturday across these villages for the last five years and only stopped to meet in groups due to the Corona-virus. This is the only time our family has been truly able to spend with each other as our lives are filled with so many of our club and program activities. My daughter started attending clubs at 4 and now she is nine. My twin boys started at three and now there are five -they prefer to attend the girls clubs rather than the boys clubs.We try to make everything fun ,we do annual camps for five to six days. I have to play the part of mentor , protector and discipliner all at the same time.We dance , sing laugh and dance. We hold youth expos in villages and try to do our part. Everybody knows we all have to do our part.
Four years ago we made the decision to live town life-can’t really call Victoria Falls a city , to come and take up residency here in the rural areas so as to be near our work-our market place.That was a major event for me and my family. I can bet you, you will not see me running a church but you might see me with a couple of people that you might frown upon. Actually you might not notice the difference with my shaggy locks-l blend in well , we both do. I have to be honest though that l still cringe inside when the girls and boys tell me about their life style choices ( l am still old school, l believe in abstinence ) but l learnt a long time ago that young people dont need sermons they need someone who listens to them, who believes in them , who encourages them. My main aim is to help equip them with education so that they can make better choices which will serve them well in the future. I want them to have access to choice the same way l have been given choice. This type of work is not for those with an affinity to judge -you will have an early heart attack. I am not perfect-I have my own battles to fight , after all Paul says work out your own salvation. l have found mine l hope you find yours. Today l sign as Pastor Sfe-just for today.