Children's Ministry Training and Camp with West Hills Community Church and the Champs!

This June we had the privilege and joy of hosting a short-term team from West Hills Community Church (Morgan Hill, CA). This was the biggest team we have personally hosted in the last five years, and the only one with an abundance of teenagers and where we’ve faced massive and unpredictable power cuts of 8-12 hours a day. 

This was also the first team that was “ours.”  Usually we at Ciyanjano host teams for other ACTION Zambia Ministry areas like the HIV program (CROSS) or our pastors’ college (APC). But this team was coming to train the Champs and 15 additional trainees from churches around Lusaka in the Kidzana program for child evangelism and discipleship. And after the training our Champs would stick around and hold a two-day, overnight camp with 60+ children from a local church to practice what they learned. So we were more heavily invested in this team and our responsibilities from long before the team arrived were much greater as well. 

It’s really been more than two years in the praying and planning. And wow. God is good. We had a three-day conference/training where the WHCC team built fast and close relationships with our Champs and the other trainees and then spent a single day with the Champs afterwards to prepare all their lessons and games and illustrations for camp. The training was amazing and we got wonderful feedback from the participants. The Kidzana program is something Zambian churches and Bible Clubs can really put to use.

The next morning a bus-full of singing children from Chisomo Baptist pulled into the campground and the Champs got to lead an amazing camp for the kids. Chisomo brought 20 kids from their church plus another 40 kids from the community that come for games and teaching at their Saturday Bible club. The camp was also a special blessing to our own kids here at Ciyanjano.

The WHCC team took time to debrief with the Champs after each of their lessons, giving feedback and encouragement. At the same time the teens from WHCC would keep the kids busy doing games or playing at the playground. 

The only real downside to the whole week was the lack of electricity much of the time and that it was extra cold. These two things along with a stomach bug going around meant that by Sunday afternoon when the kids went home the Champs were exhausted. But while I was getting the generator to fill up our water tanks, I could hear those unstoppable Champs singing and worshiping while waiting for me to come and dismiss them. We are so proud of them! God truly hand-picked this crew of youth and has created beautiful friendships between them.

All the Champs came back at the end of the week to see the WHCC team off. There was much rejoicing and tears and we were all full of joy and gladness at what God had done with the team and the Champs! Thank you West Hills!!! And thank you to our friends and family praying for this time together. 

This morning I received a letter from the pastor of Chisomo Baptist thanking ACTION Zambia, Ciyanjano and WHCC, “May the Lord richly bless you and the brethren from West Hills Community Church for pouring your financial resources, time and your all into these children.” We also received feedback this morning from one of our Champs who said that she was very excited to train the other three children’s teachers at her church to use the Kidzana program and that the materials are absolutely wonderful. She said, “The training we received on going over memory verses and using object lessons to build the kids’ understanding was so valuable and I can’t wait to teach it to the other teachers.”

We look forward to seeing the results of this training as we move forward with our Champs program and we also pray for good spiritual fruit in the lives of the kids who came to camp. What a great start to “short-term team season” and we are thanking God for his hand on every step and every person involved.

Uncle Kelly lays out the camp rules for the Kidzana Training

Auntie Christina teaching about using object lessons

Making friends!
Auntie Kenzie stepping in to help the guys group get untangled from a game

Blowing off some extra energy playing netball

Chicken and Rice is nice!

Dinner bbq with the trainees and Champs

Uncle Kelly and Auntie Tricia in the Ciyanjano spirit

Aunties Natasha and Sydney!

Auntie Sarah teaching on the Kidzana materials
Training in small groups
Lessons and the Word
Graduation (Uncle Rodgers is pumped for his certificate!)

Planning for Chisomo camp (the Champs really worked hard and late to prep)

The kids arrive!
Auntie Theresa with kids she knows from Chisomo

Auntie Rylie serving up the grub

Crazy giant parachute madness!

Teaching in small groups

Uncles Juma and Richard sharing a moment after teaching

Uncle Abraham leads uncle Rodgers in as a blind man to teach about Jesus healing the man born blind (John 9)

Kids in teaching time

Uncle Abraham and Auntie Theresa teaching in a breakout group

Auntie Kim watching the Champs teach

This little one loved the story of the lost sheep!