YSA Activity Day

As many of you know, we have come to Malawi as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the specific assignment to work with youth ages 14 - 30 in Seminary and Institute classes.   We are also working with the activity arm of the 18-30 year-old group called Young Single Adults (YSA).  Our main goal is to work alongside District and Branch leaders in both Blantyre and Lilongwe to help them learn how to run their own program (Branches are small congregations.   Districts contain several Branches).  Currently we are taking an active roll in organizing and carrying out activities.  Our hope is that local members will eventually assume the responsibility to plan and carry out these activities.   

Our first activity in Lilongwe had 25 YSAs from 3 branches (12 additional YSAs were waiting at another building thinking there was going to be transportation) attending.  Wish we had taken a group picture before everyone started leaving! 

Church buildings here are interesting.   They rent buildings, most of them old homes.   One of the buildings in Lilongwe, however, is like a villa!   There is a swimming pool (see picture above), a garden house, and another building out back that they use for storage.  Inside, the "chapel" is actually more like a small ballroom ---- Classes are held in the various bedrooms.   Members are responsible for the care and cleaning of the buildings.   When our YSAs arrived they dove right in and helped mop the tile floors and set up chairs and tables for the activity.

We began by playing Speed Get-To-Know-You. It was pretty fun watching the youth and their Priesthood leaders sitting across from each other laughing and enjoying each other.    We then organized them into groups of 4 and tried to teach then how to play BUNCO.   I don't think anyone had ever "rolled dice" before.   It was hilarious watching them slam the dice down on the table.   We had to explain that "rolling for ones" meant that you were trying to count the dice that only had one dot showing.  We noticed on occasion that they were stopping to count the dots on the dice--- hadn't learned to recognize the patterns formed by the dots . . .  As they got the hang of it, the noise level and enthusiasm rose.  We will play it again now that they understand the game.  

These are such fun young people to be around.   They are appreciative of efforts in their behalf. Their enthusiasm and love of life is contagious!  

We have always heard that you must have food with YSAs. . . . . . but the budget was far spent.   The district president agreed to give them a small amount.   I made 175 cookies (Snicker Doodles) and then we bought bread, peanut butter and a cheap drink they love. . . . Sobo.   It was a hit!

We ended the day watching a few videos of various students and their experiences in Institute. .  President Amos told them, "You will always have too much to do.   Be sure you make time for the important things.   Institute is one of those things."

Many of those coming into the Church in Malawi are Young Single Adults.  We have been impressed by their faithfulness, and humbled by what they are willing to sacrifice in order to join the Church.    Each has a story.   We want to share some of those stories with you in this, and following posts.

Meet Kimberly, one of our Institute teachers in the Kawale Branch in Lilongwe.   When we arrived at the building to set up for our activity she was already there, mop in hand, cleaning and preparing the rooms.  In 2015  she had been attending a church but was dissatisfied and had determined that she was going to go somewhere else.   One evening she received a phone call from a missionary in Blantyre.   It was a wrong number. .  . . he was trying to reach another missionary in Lilongwe (4 hours from Blantyre).   He told her who he was and apologized for the call.  The next morning Kimberly got up and,  following a prompting, called him back.   She told him she was interested in learning about his church.   He told her he would have some missionaries come by and talk with her.   She waited. . .  and waited.  She waited a week and no one showed up.   Finally she called back and asked, “Where are the missionaries?”   The next day the missionaries came.   She and a cousin listened to the lessons over a period of a month.   Both were baptized.   Later, three of her sisters also joined.   Kimberly is steadfast and solid in her commitment to the Lord.  She holds four callings in her branch and is preparing to go to the temple next month. Pretty incredible story.   On the exact week she had decided to seek out another church she received a "wrong number" phone call from a missionary. . . . . .  Even more impressive, she was the one who took the initiative to follow the promptings she felt.   The Lord is mindful of His children!


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