Taliba Harriet Susan was troubled by what she saw in Soroti, Uganda. Young men and women were having strings of girlfriends and boyfriends, and their sexual boundaries were lax. Caught up in the “party lifestyle,” they were drinking excessively and becoming unruly, Taliba says, and her heart broke as she saw them making lifestyle choices that harmed themselves and others.
Ugandan women gather to perform a dance of praise.
“[Only when a youth is] hooked in the Lord . . . will he or she be sure to escape these behaviors,” Taliba says.
“Youths need adult Christian leaders as well as peers with good testimonies to regularly speak to their lives so that they escape the so-called order of the day, which only ruins their lives and makes the lives of others around them miserable. At the same time, avenues for spending their energies rightly need to be created.”
Taliba is one of several Ugandan leaders involved in Timothy Leadership Training (TLT).
TLT focuses on biblically based principles for personal, church, and societal growth and wholeness. Christian Reformed World Missions missionaries Mwaya and Munyiva Wa Kitavi have organized workshops across Eastern and Southern Africa to strengthen leaders like Taliba for ministry in their communities.
TLT, which works in many countries around the world, is based at Calvin Theological Seminary.
“Timothy Leadership Training opened a door for me to minister to the young people of the church,” says Taliba. Since then, she has made it her goal to challenge youths to live for Christ and participate in church life.
She regularly carves out time to get to know young people. She opens her home to them, befriending and encouraging them to follow God. Believing that they have something to offer the church, she urges them to use their gifts to serve the community of believers.
As a result, about 12 young people have become involved in choir and other worship ministries.
More important, they are renewing their commitment to following God. Three young people have come to know Christ; others are re-engaging themselves in God’s Word. One girl used to skip school and not return home for nights on end. Now she is getting along better with her parents and singing in the choir.
“[It is] a joy to see young people come to the Lord and get committed to serving him,” says Taliba.
“Young people now have the opportunity to channel their energy in meaningful activities that shape their character and talents,” says Mwaya Wa Kitavi. “Harriet’s prayer is that these young people will continue to have the passion to serve the Lord.”