Increased cases of suicide cases
According to the World Health Organization in 2000, throughout the world, approximately 1,000,000 people died of suicide. More than 50% of this constitutes the youth who are in higher levels of education; colleges and universities. This translates to a global mortality rate of 16% or one death every 40 seconds. This makes the number of deaths by suicide worldwide higher than the total number of deaths from war and homicide combined. This only means that preventive measures have to be put in place if we will save the current and even future generations.
the number of deaths by suicide worldwide higher than the total number of deaths from war and homicide combined.
In contemporary African society, suicide was viewed as an offense and a sign of bad omen, a belief that could have been the reason why many people shied away from committing suicide. Those who were caught committing the offense faced dire consequences. This, however, is not the case today. Through civilization, modern education and western influence; the narrative has changed. Such exposure among other factors has contributed to the high number of suicidal cases in society. (more…)
Every time I have studied the book of Nehemiah, I have prayed that God would raise a Nehemiah generation in our time. A generation that has not only the burden to see the transformation in the society, but also one that is ready to transform the concerns into tangible actions. For this to be achieved, one must have counted the cost and committed to doing the right thing even if it means that they will be at it alone.
When Nehemiah received news about the condition of the walls of Jerusalem, he was filled with grief and mourned for many days (Nehemiah 1:4). Even though the book of Nehemiah does not explicitly give information of what other people or leaders back in Jerusalem were doing concerning the ruinous walls, there is an indication that they were not concerned as much (Nehemiah 3: 10-16). For this, they needed a Nehemiah who was both concerned and committed to seeing the restoration of Jerusalem; one who could clearly and convincingly communicate the need and rally people to action. This is what every person need for societal transformation. In addition to this, one ought to pay attention to the following principles:
- Awareness and Salience of the issue – someone needs to be aware of the issue at hand and find out whether it matters to them and why?
- Intrinsic motivation – One needs to find out whether they feel the moral responsibility to address the issue?
- Efficacy – Do you think your action will have an impact on the system?
- Capacity for collective action – Will other citizens/people join me? Is there an organization that has the capacity to launch actions on this issue that you can collaborate?
- Cost of Inaction – What is the cost benefit of my participation? Am I afraid to act? What is the cost of not taking an action?
The problem is inaction
It is Good Friday! Humanly speaking, those are four off-days for a regular employee and if that happens to be a teacher/lecturer it’s time to give the students some space. Here in Kenya, a good number of people take these days to sleep, visit each other, and do charity work, catch-up with rest or entertainment. I have a list on a sticky note of a to-go list for this long weekend. However, together with millions of others, we are either creating Easter memes or viewing them as they land on social media.
Setting out to do reflections on the death of the Lord, two interesting observations struck me:
- An incredibly rich account from scriptures of the death of Christ. The records in the gospels suffice as historical, biological and spiritual go-to books. The details there are indisputable and resonate well with archaeological reports.
- The familiarity with the story of a man who died and rose again for men to be saved. The unfortunate part with this is that the most popular parts of this story are those tailored to sound pleasant and appealing, seeker sensitive versions.
The reality of a finalist
Many finalists grapple with the issue of uncertainty; where and how to settle after campus and securing a job so as to attain stability in life. It is never easy as testified by many and during my last semester, in 2017, I wondered whether I would give the same testimony. Did I have everything figured out? Perhaps, but then God had a totally different plan for me altogether. He called me to ministry. I joined the Short Term Experience in Ministry (STEM), internship program by FOCUS Kenya. I got to learn quite a lot through mentorship in STEM. I acquired, among many, Biblical Interpretation skills, sermon making, training skills and I experienced growth in my interpersonal and social skills. I as well discovered abilities that were seemingly hidden. My entire value system was changed. The STEM experience is one of a kind and I count myself the privilege to have gone through it.
One of my convictions for joining ministry was the fact that I knew we are co-workers with God in His great mission of restoring humanity back to himself. Through Matthew 28:19, I learnt of this amazing assignment given to us by Christ and that He is with us till the end of age. This assured me of God’s presence as I ventured into His service.
Making the decision
It is a question of what would help one decide whether to join “full time ministry” such as FOCUS or serve God in the market place. Just like any other major decision in one’s life, it may not be a straight jacket process. Of course you need to have learnt the art of listening and hearing God. Eli was more familiar with God’s voice in comparison to Samuel, when he heard God for the first time (1 Samuel 3). As you prayerfully consider the invitation to join any ministry, there are critical questions to think about: Is this the direction God is leading you to? Is it just for our personal satisfaction and pride? Is it out of peer pressure or trying to impress someone? If there were other openings, would I still choose ministry? God alone can make things clearer. But also, consider mentorship from a mature Christian for more illumination on the area. We also need to question our motivation. I am reminded of the words of Hudson Taylor in a prayer he made after he got born again “Dear God please give me some work to do for you, as an outlet for my love”. It is on this evening as he fellowshipped with the Lord that he knew God had called him to China to be a missionary. He experienced this unmistakable awareness that convinced him that indeed it was his love for God that motivated him into missionary assignment.
The experience in STEM was very demanding. You are always in service of other people. Subjectively, I think if one is not careful about intentionally growing in their spiritual walk with the Lord, they can easily get drained. I thought simply because I was in a religious environment, automatically, I would grow spiritually. It was not the case. It requires a balance and intentionality.
We all are full time ministers
STEM is a one year program so my term ended on 28th of July 2018. It is almost a year now since convocation yet I still feel like a STEM staff. I get students calling for my attention invitations to speaking engagements. I still have a burden for the young people; to pray and walk with them. In my new environment, I feel burdened to let the word of God known to my colleagues. I have easily been spotted to still serve in FOCUS as an Associate through ministry engagements and other students. I am convinced that it neither matters where the serving place is nor does one need to be a full time minister. Market place evangelism has proven to be an area in ministry that all Christian workers need to embrace and act upon. I am persuaded that we can preach the gospel and actively serve God even outside the “full time” ministry arenas.
Conclusion Indeed, STEM was not just another year I had to live by so that I can move on with my life. It was an equipping session that I needed to go through to live out my life as a Christian. Exposure to the short-term missions, and ministry opportunities should help us carry out the mandate that Christ gave us all, effectively; to go make disciples.