Along with each new year comes new challenges. If you are like me, last year may have had enough challenges of it’s own. Life has a way of relentlessly pressing on through each season. Through blessings and trials, the sun continues to rise and set one day at a time.
Reflecting on what is now “last year” I could expound on all we did, everywhere we went, and all the people who came across our path. But having enjoyed the holiday season I am more apt to look ahead than behind. Looking back has a way of presenting valuable perspective, but looking ahead requires a renewed gathering of effort. Sometimes looking back devolves into too much introspection and prevents us from enjoying the blessings (and trials) to come.
Looking ahead to 2014 there are indeed things to be excited about and challenges to meet head on! There are a lot of things I am excited about but the most exciting thing for me is the Swaziland Leadership Academy. I’ve introduced this in past blogs but wanted to bring you into a celebration we’ve had as our first class has graduated!
These young people have completed a 2 year apprenticeship program we’ve designed to help emerging leaders develop into their roles in God’s Kingdom. A few are staying with us for another year or so to help the ministry and a few are moving on to more vocational or academic training. We’ve awarded one scholarship for further school and are walking through processes to award more.
While this class was finishing their second year, another class began their training for a year in South Africa. That class is now back in Swaziland for the apprenticeship modules. A third class has been recruited and will begin this January.
I am excited about this for several reasons. The strategic nature of this effort is incredible. As we continue to graduate classes into the structures of life in Swaziland, we will be staging leaders filled with integrity and a strong understanding of who they are and how God has uniquely made them to impact their world. In just a few years we will begin to have highly functioning leaders in important places throughout Swaziland. We will have healthy mothers and fathers raising families. We will have community leaders setting the pace in their churches and local communities.
The challenge we have is that we’ve got capacity for 12 or so Swaziland Leadership Academy students each year. The statistics in Swaziland tell us there are 200,000 children orphaned by HIV. Over the next 15-18 years these kids will become adults. How can we broaden our reach to raise up many more of these emerging leaders?
Next week I will begin a long process of addressing that very challenge. I’ll be working in an academic setting to research and develop a plan to raise up leaders from orphan populations. I’ll keep you posted from time to time over these next 4 years as to what I am learning and how we are applying it.
It’s a new year – with new challenges. Whatever your challenges are – let’s get it done!