Meet Malaki. He’s an 18-year-old Maasai warrior. Malaki has lived in the rural area of East Africa grazing cattle his whole entire life. Because of his culture, he has had little to no education and only speaks his mother language. Only by the grace of God was Malaki introduced to the Gospel through the Rejoice Project in his community. After a while of learning what a relationship with Jesus looked like, Malaki joined the Rejoice Project team himself. As the youngest member of the team who cannot speak Swahili, he struggles with speaking up, being bold, and confidently leading. When we traveled to his community a couple of weeks ago, we were introduced to this timid boy with holes in his ears from his traditional Maasai earrings. He shook our hands with a surprised and very scared look on his face. He had seen mzungu’s before, but never spent this much time with them. Throughout our time spent with Malaki, we learned more about his incredible story and how he left the majority of his family, his culture, and past life to follow Jesus and make him known among the next generation. Leaving everything behind, Malaki fully committed to his new life in Christ. He asked questions, learned how to lead in schools, taught himself Swahili, and continued to desire more. Peter, a Rejoice Project Coordinator, noticed the deep yearning in Malaki and asked him to attend the RP retreat in the city. In all 18 years of his life, Malaki had never been outside of his rural village, he had never been to the city, and he had never met anyone outside of his tribe. Needless to say, the retreat was an eye opening experience for this one dedicated and devoted 18-year-old man of God. Over the course of the week we witnessed Malaki speaking Swahili with brothers and sisters from different tribes. We witnessed Malaki lead worship and teach everyone the famous Maasai jumping dance move. We sat back as Malaki shared with the RP Coordinators the challenges he faces having left his tribe, yet the reward he experiences from being obedient to God. We observed Malaki in his element as he played team-building games and laughed like he never has before. We watched a new believer in Jesus grow in knowledge of the gospel, engage in the body of Christ for the first time, and walk in freedom that only God provides.
If this story promotes the name of Malaki, the point was completely missed. Even before this story began, it was Jesus. In every single crevice and detail in the story, it’s Jesus. In every chapter of this story that is yet to be told, it will still be Jesus. Always captivating. Relentlessly pursing. Reconciling. Restoring. Redeeming. Faithfully leading. Drawing all of his children to himself. Revealing glory. It is always Jesus.
Malaki’s story is one of fourteen that were represented this week at the Rejoice Project Retreat. Team members from three different communities across the country gathered together for a time of fellowship, encouragement, unity, worship, and just plain fun. The three coordinators from each community led the team members through the ‘why’s and how’s’ of what they do as members of Rejoice Project. The coordinators guided the team members as they dove deep in the scripture and the truth behind the calling God has given them. Team-building games, crafts, an Andy Stanley series, good food, and lots of worship also helped make the retreat the refreshing week that it was.
After this week, we stand even more confident in the work that God is doing in in these leaders' communities. God is rising up bold and fearless leaders to disciple the next generation. He is transforming lives by his matchless power. He is calling his children and they are responding in obedience. He is fulfilling the Great Commission and is using these Rejoice Project team members to do it. God is, without a doubt, winning the nations back. We can only respond in praise that we get to partner with God in the mighty work He’s doing!
From the mouths of the RP leaders themselves, this is how you can prayerfully walk alongside of them: wisdom, courage, & guidance in their leadership & whole project in general | the student’s time off for the holiday when RP won’t be taught | church members with sick relatives and children | rain in their communities | Pastor Boniface & Pastor David as they lead their congregations | the Church |
This blog was written by Choose to Invest's Journey Manager, Mary London Carswell.