rejoice project

Stepping into Africa

Faces always connect me to the stories, helping me step into what others are experiencing. I'm excited to be able to share some of those faces with you today and give you the opportunity to step into the story God is writing here in Africa. Enjoy!  

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A seat in the bleachers.

I stood under a tree watching them, one child at a time, step up to home plate, kick a red, now orange-stained, ball into the short dry grasses. Excitedly, they would run around the bases as their classmates would run after the ball. It occurred to me in this moment these children could have been a number of places on this Saturday in late May. Whether they be tending their family’s field or livestock, gathering fire wood, carrying water along thin footpaths through tall grasses, or catching up on their studies, many of these children would not have found themselves enjoying a game of kickball at a Rejoice Project Camp. I was completely taken back by the joy evident on each of their faces, the energy in which their teammates cheered them on, and the profoundness of what I was witnessing. These were children fully embracing joy in Christ.  

Today, I witnessed 20-odd college students from the US encourage a group of 10 Rejoice team members and 10 Rejoice team members empower 150+ children to be the unique sons and daughters they are in Christ. It’s a powerful thing to see such a united force for Christ in such an unsuspecting place as a rural, African school. But, it’s in places like these that children of the Kingdom are being ushered to their home in Christ - to the God who sings praises over them.

 

“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all of your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17.

 

I’m reassured by this verse that the good work that God is doing in the lives of all those involved within Choose to Invest, the African leaders, our interns, and those on our team, has yet to be completed and is, everyday, being brought closer to its most, glorious climax. As we near the day when all things will give way to authority of Christ, I am confident that we, in stride together, are joining a host of angels and brothers and sisters in one chorus of praise to Jesus. I feel the fullness of God here. His full glory is radiating in the rural, African schools, filling their classrooms. His full power, expressed in love, is surging into the lives of college students. I can only thank God for the blessing of having a seat in the bleachers.

 

Thank you Lord that I can be a spectator of this symphony. You are worthy and deserving of more than we can offer, but here we are bringing our all and trusting in your grace to lead us all home.

 

The Rejoice Project Retreat has begun!

IMG_2601 The Invest house is packed full with leaders from three different regions of the country for the first quarterly Rejoice Project Retreat of 2014! We are excited to have all of our leaders together in one place for a week of worship, empowerment, and community. We are hoping that God uses our time this week to deepen relationships, both with himself and amongst our leaders.  Our leaders dedicate so much time to this ministry, and we are hopeful that God would use this week to encourage them in all that they are doing. We are eager to watch God move, and we invite you to join the journey this week through prayer.

-Pray that God would cover our leaders with a spirit of peace and rest.

-Pray that He would build unity amongst our leaders.

-Pray that He would remove any distractions.

 

We are confident that God is going to use this week to encourage and remind our rejoice leaders that they are a part of something much bigger than themselves.We will continue to update throughout the week, so please stay connected with all of our social media outlets! Your prayers and support humble us daily.

 

Twitter: @choosetoinvest

Instagram: @ichoosetoinvest

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ichoosetoinvest

 

Meet Malaki

DSC_0207Meet 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.

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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.