We've reached out to the kids of Windsor for almost two years now. So, obviously, we've built a reputation and relationship with some that have moved on from childhood. However, they still seem to love coming on a Saturday to our program! Like having teenagers anywhere, they cause plenty problems when left alone.
So we've started giving them more and more responsibilities. It started by asking a couple of them to help set out mats...
...and rapidly progressed from there. Now they're arriving earlier than any of the leaders, and cutting rolls, making hotdogs, setting up the entire facility, and keeping the kids quiet during the program.
We're even going to meet during their holiday so that we can plan August's Ngonyama program so that they can lead the lessons. I want to run some training with them, too, so that they can grow in their leadership skills.
On this last Saturday one of the mini-leaders was running registration and was a little too forceful as she yelled at the kids to get in line. An Ngonyama leader pulled her aside and said, "Hold on a minute, you can't just shout at everyone. Is that how your parents would speak to you?" She answered, "yes, of course." The leader's strategy kind of backfired, but it showed us the level of training that we have to start from with these guys.
I was toying with the idea of being a missionary in my own country. Trying to figure out what that means. In Brazil it was an easy concept to understand. When people I met asked me what I did for a living and I said missionary, we were all on the same page. Foreigner, he's here to carry the gospel across the ocean. In South Africa when I tell people I'm a missionary, it doesn't quite compute.
But the same situation is unveiling itself, the same way that it did in Brazil. We left the country after we had raised up local leaders to run the project for themselves. Brazilians can reach Brazilians way better than I could. Here in South Africa, we're crossing cultural boundaries in a similar way. We're raising up locals from the community who can reach the kids in a way that's much more relevant than anything we could do.
Hopefully one day we can leave Project Ngonyama safely in the capable hands of these energetic young teenagers.