Awareness - 2016 (1)

Post date: Jan 24, 2018 6:50:07 PM

During 2015 we worked hard to make arrangements for the annual HIV/Aids Awareness Camp. A number of people were involved with the planning and introduction of the camp, which included: ordering Bibles, recruiting of young people, collection of registration fees and indemnity forms, organising transport, communication with Kloofwaters’ management, and preparation for the workshops.

At last, with all the preparations completed, Khothatsong’s annual Awareness Camp commenced on 4 December 2015. The two busses packed with young people arrived at noon, with one bus with 15 young people from Nellmapius, and the other bus with 18 young people from F4 (New Eersterust). Nellmapius is an area east of Pretoria, whereReverend George Mnisi of the Free Reformed Church (FRC) of South Africa has the calling to build a congregation and F4 is Khothatsong’s focus area for home based care. The luxury busses were provided at a special rate, with the compliments of Baobab Tours.

We had the usual six formal educational sessions in the chapel on site. The topics that were discussed included HIV transmission, interacting with people with HIV/Aids, planning for the future, making life choices, God’s amazing love for sinners, and opportunities for personal involvement with people impacted and/or affected by HIV/Aids.

These sessions were , once again, attended with enthusiasm and interest. As usual, the roleplays were a highlight, and resulted in commentary, laughter, and respectful silence. Apart from these six sessions, we also had a session to introduce the Bible. In the past we noticed that not all the attendees know the Bible, and that it was therefore necessary to explain the way in which the Bible was compiled and to practice finding books and verses in the Bible. This year was no exception: some attendees knew the Bible well, and others did not know it at all. By the end of the weekend everybody was more comfortable with their Bibles. We have also identified the need to explain the content of the Bible, which we will include in the program this year.

Each leader was responsible for one of the six educational sessions. Each leader also had a small group to lead and to guide during the course of the weekend. A young assistant leader from the FRC Pretoria conducted the “Introduction to the Bible” session. He also introduced Christian hymns and songs, and the group chose two songs to learn during the course of the weekend. God was praised with enthusiasm through these songs! This collection of songs was electronically downloaded by a number of attendees, and some played these during recreational periods. Another assistant leader from Pretoria joined us on Saturday afternoon, and the game the two young men taught those who wanted to stay up later that night, was very popular.

We employed a young lady from F4 to assist us with the camp preparations, the recruitment of young people in F4 and general administration during the weekend of the camp. Her confidence and skills grew over the period, and her administration was impeccable. The assistance of these three young people was invaluable.

Four employees of Kloofwaters organised the outdoor adventure activities, with Khothatsong’s leaders watching with appreciation how these experts involved every youngster to complete every challenge in a satisfactory manner. It was inspiring to see what was possible with teamwork, encouragement, and the expectation that everyone should participate. These activities illustrated the concepts and behaviour we discussed and explored in the workshops. Examples are the importance of making the right choices, planning, time management, working together, determination, as well as the value of teamwork, giving and receiving support, and correcting wrong decisions.

I don’t think there was one person not changed by the weekend we had the privilege of spending together. To say farewell after the sermon on 6 December was difficult. God in His infinite wisdom brought us together, and we pray that He stays with these young people as they move on and are exposed to situations where they have to apply what they had learnt. The HIV/Aids survey we conducted before and upon completion of the six workshops generally showed an improvement in knowledge and change in attitude among participants; but whether behaviour will change especially regarding sexual behaviour and biblical valuescannot be guaranteed.

We look forward to meet with this group of young people again in April to continue discussions and to share problems and challenges. During the follow-up session we encourage the sharing of differences in opinion, and the debating that follows as a result is usually stimulating and interesting. Please remember this follow-up session in your prayers, that we address the right topics, and that the Lord shall give us wisdom.

We need to expand the team, in order to be more involved with the young people who attended the camps. We want to inspire people to become involved in the camps and follow-up sessions on a personal level. It would be a good thing for believers of the same age groups as the camp attendees to help with this work. We needyour support in this. Should you be interested in doing the Lord’s work in this way, you can contact me: Anita Bron.