Forty-three years ago, on June 16th, thousands of youth in South Africa started a protest that has ripple effects that have lasted to this day. The protesting youth called for a better standard of education as well as to be educated in their mother tongue. What started as a peaceful protest ended in the deaths of hundred of children. As a result of this tragedy, June 16th is commemorated as Youth Day in South Africa.
This year, on June 16th , forty seven youth from Sun Valley Community Church in Arizona were visiting and working in Orchard: Africa projects, interacting with youth from local communities.
On Sunday, the teams visited The Church Without Wallsin Khayelitsha where special Youth Day services were held, as well as Fountain of Hope Churchin Molelwane. It was an honor for us to see young people from different countries and cultural backgrounds worship God together and interact with one another with a common purpose. A South African holiday that had a tragic beginning has become, for South Africans, a day of hope and of peace.
During the week, the Sun Valley youth led five separate VBS programs around the subject of prayer. Youth Day started, partly, as a call for education in a language in which youth of South Africa were fluent. Ministering to youth about talking to God seemed fitting as God is fluent in all languages and prayer is universal.
Sun Valley youth not only led VBS programs, they also led service projects, building vertical agriculture structures as well as upgrading a playground.
When youth from different cultures work together they not only learn about each other and from one another but they also learn about themselves. Experiencing this growth has been beneficial to both the South African youth as well as the team from the United States and has been a privilege for us at Orchard: Africa to facilitate.
The Orchard: Community grew by over 30 new members as over half of the visiting youth signed up to give monthly from the little they earn. This is yet another inspiring example of the kind of lasting impact youth can have when they rally together for a worthy cause.
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