Over 200 young women from Lilongwe City Zone, between the age of 14 and 25, gathered at Falls Seventh-Day Adventist Church for a Young Girls Seminar on 30th April, 2017.
The seminar themed ‘ The Advent Girl; A Stronghold and Future for the Church”, aimed at encouraging and supporting young women of the Seventh Day Adventist church spiritually, socially, academically and economically. The seminar also endeavored to define the role of young women in the church and the world at large. The young women were challenged to believe in themselves and stay focused on their goals and to be Gods instruments in influencing and changing peoples’ lives for the better. They were encouraged to find role models that would shape their attitudes and habits to serve God better and to take a pro-active role in the church and realize that they are the future of the church.
Both the girls and presenters were excited with the event, Chikondi Mkawa from Area 18 SDA Church set the pace, tone and relevance of the seminar. She presented on Youth and Christianity. She emphasized on principles for a successful christian walk; principles that sets the young woman ‘apart’, and builds their character towards heaven, principles that will enable young women to walk tall in a society where women are looked down upon. They included leadership, discipleship….
“Do not be overtaken by other peoples lifestyles, in your heart know that you are special and set aside by God before you were born , you are fearfully and wonderfully made from Gods hand,” these word from said Mkawa were received with cheers.
The theme of the seminar resonated well with challenges girls face in and outside the church. They were given a chance to discuss and present the challenges that they face within the church as well as the community that they live in and possibly solutions and interventions to deter or minimize the challenges. Topping the list for the challenges was that most girls underestimate and belittle themselves. They also lamented the fact that most of the time the church and society prefers to give responsibilities to young men than the girls. They felt there is a lot of pressure from parents, church and society that at a certain age they should get married. Peer pressure is a real and affects their behavior.
Another issue that surfaced was lack of support from parents. Most young women felt that their parents do not have time to talk with them. As long as they have paid school fees and provided food , shelter and clothes, they are done with their children, yet the children would have loved to have time to discuss different issues that are affecting the. They also felt that there is no love in most families and this sometimes forces them to look for love, compassion and affection elsewhere. They expressed worry over limited resources for them to continue their studies or establish small businesses. They also suggested that the church should come up with strategies that can promote integration between the rich and the less privileged, there seems to be divisions among the two group.
Speaking as a role model Grace Chinguwo, an accomplished accountant by professional, challenged the young girls to be goal oriented and be principled, to make their dreams come true and put God first in all their efforts. She narrated her story, how it took her almost ten year to become a charted accountant. She is a chartered accountant, a Fellow and holds a Masters on Business Administration (MBA), yet the road to success was not easy. She inspired the young women to remain faithful to God despite the many challenges that they face; to remain faithful to God in their actions and thoughts. She encouraged them to associate with people who truly fear God and can motivate them to succeed academically and spiritually.
Grace encouraged the girls to write their goals on a piece of paper, read them every day and so that they are reminded of what you want to achieve in life.
The discussion and presentation were cemented by devotion conducted by Mrs Patricia Miseu, her sermon title ‘not an easy road’, and her life story. Stories of different women from the bible who met challenges but overcame them were given as examples. This in a way inspired the young women to realize that they can also overcome any situation ahead of them with God’s help.
The seminar ended on a very high note, most of the girls asked the organizing team to conduct such seminars on a quarterly basis. They said, such events motivate them and this seminar in particular has inspired them to believe in themselves. They learnt from other women who have gone through the same challenges but still they have succeeded.
Other young women seminars are expected to take place in Dedza, Kasungu, Mchinji and other districts within the Central Malawi Conference (CMC). The meeting was organized under the leadership of Comrade Kate Khomeliwa.