God certainly is opening up doors we never imagined we’d be walking through because of the Children-at-Risk (C@R) Initiative. Newly trained Awana leaders are now reaching out to children in some of the largest slum communities in the world. Street children are drawn in. Ministries whose families are living in the midst of the HIV/AIDS pandemic can now give discipleship opportunities to the children.
In refugee camps, the C@R Initiative has also brought a whole new set of needs to the doorsteps of Awana. The picture is not a pretty one. By the very nature of its name, children at risk, come from and are in very desperate situations. As refugees, even the leaders find themselves in the very same situation as the children, perhaps worse. For it is the Awana leader who also is a refugee and has experienced the trauma of war and suffering sometimes to a degree that is unimaginable – that is what this video will show. This is the new Awana leader, and they need our prayers.
Enoch just might be a classic example of the new Awana leader. He and his brother grew up during times of ethnic cleansing in their village. They saw their father beaten and dragged away, never to see him again. “There was killing, with machete, before our very eyes…” he says. They also were forced to watch as their mother was raped, and then never saw her again. They’ve spent the last ten years in a Zambian refugee camp…having “lost” their childhood.
“Refuge in Three Parts” attempts to show you this new Awana leader and the challenges they face. Part 1, “Fleeing From War” tells the story of where they’ve come from. It is quite intense and may not be suitable for younger clubbers. Part 2, “From a Refugee Womb”, shows us that this is a generational issue with families settling in refugee settlements and raising their children in this environment. Part 3, “We See Jesus in the Games” shows the hope that the Awana ministry is bringing to several leaders and churches in the Meheba Refugee Settlement in Zambia, Africa.
We often read stories such as these, but it is another thing to go and meet the people, and hear their stories first hand. This video has two purposes: first, to catch a glimpse of their stories, and secondly, to remind us that they are our extended family of Awana leaders – remember that as you watch “Refuge”. As I watched Enoch and others come alive as they led their new Awana clubs, I believed our entrance into the Meheba Refugee Settlement provided some of the best “therapy” these leaders could ever have received. This was affirmed when Enoch’s face lit up, and he said, “I am so thankful for this training to be an Awana leader. I have found so many things in Awana that [I’ve experienced] through God’s Word to lead me, to have courage and to be faithfully [faithful]. I am thankful that God has given me the opportunity to be trained in Awana. I can see my life has changed. Being an Awana leader has helped me to forget my past. ”
Enoch and his brother “Doctor”.
The new Awana leader…alive and thriving in Africa, Asia and developing nations around the world. Join us as we see what God is doing.