Banja La Mulungu – Kukhala ndi Kuchita”



Young people at the Chiphwembwe  camp

Translation: "The Family of God – Being and Doing"

So far this year, more than 1,000 young people have been through two youth camps organised by SIM Malawi and the Africa Evangelical Church (AEC), with more to add as a third camp is planned for December.

In April, Nanjoka in the Central Region of Malawi was host to over 200 young people, and in August more than 800 young people attended the camp at Chiphwembwe in the Southern Region. December will see the final camp for this year at Mzuzu in the Northern Region.

Each camp follows the same title and a similar mix of ‘small groups’ – up to 40 in a group in Chiphwembwe – and full-group Bible studies as well as fun times and games and sports. The format helps the organisers ensure that there is a consistent quality across all of the camps.

And this approach is certainly working this year as feedback from the young people is that they want next year’s events to be even longer than the three or so days of each of this year’s!

“It is encouraging that the youth who come to the camps wants even more next year!” said Peter Ong, SIM Malawi’s Youth Ministry Co-ordinator.

Pete Ong speaking at the Chiphwembwe Camp 

The term ‘Youth Camp’ can be something of a misnomer in Malawi as people are deemed to be ‘youth’ until they marry! This means that such an event can attract ‘youth’ who are young as 12 and as old as mid to late 20s, a nightmare for the organisers.

Each day starts at around 4.30 to 5 a.m. with baths, in temporary bathrooms built for the event to accommodate the numbers, and breakfast. Then it is small groups for discussion on the theme of a previous talk, two main teaching sessions and ‘Ministry Sessions’ which include practical things such as Sports Ministry and Youth Choir Discipleship Group.

After lunch, and at the request of the participants, there are a number of practical sessions which include discussions about such diverse topics as HIV/AIDS, Gospel-centered boy/girl relationships and education and career development. All of these sessions are taken by specialist facilitators who have been engaged for this work.

But there is also time for fun and for sports. Under the watchful eye of one of the leaders, Pastor Fostance Motolo from SIM Malawi’s partner organisation Sport’s Friends, football and netball are available on some afternoons, with groups competing against each other for team points. And there is a talent night, again with points for the teams.

But perhaps the lasting legacy for the participants, and for the AEC, is that, especially at the Chiphwembwe camp, many young people have committed or re-committed their lives to the Lord. The AEC’s National Youth Co-ordinator, Pastor Chisoni Bridge, made a call for commitment after one of his talks at the Chiphwembwe camp, and the response was almost overwhelming.

 To offer support to this initiative please quote by project number ‘96658 AEC Youth Department’