The East Africa singles 2012 retreat took place at the Jumuia Conference Centre Mtwapa, Mombasa presenting an opportunity for the singles to have a weekend of fun, fellowship, learning, serving and praising God.

Charles Omollo and Mike Odwallo guided the singles on the retreat theme ‘reflections,’ drawn from Proverbs 27:19. The singles harvested the expectations that they came up with to form the basis for the whole retreat. Charles did a PowerPoint presentation on reflection.

fello beach_nMike took the singles through the theme scripture pointing out that what goes on inside our heart is what will reflect us? “The goal of 2012 singles east Africa retreat was to enable the singles get in touch with their hearts and reflect on who they are.” He cautioned the singles that they cannot learn much if their heart is contaminated.

“The heart is very crucial,” noted Liz Odwallo “In 1st Samuel 16:7, God instructs Samuel to look at the heart and not the outward appearance when in search of a King the Israelites wanted.”

What is really in our hearts today? Is their anger, impurity or bitterness? Let us draw our hearts out so that we can helped and be free as we fellowship together.God tells to guard our hearts above all else because the heart is very delicate. Proverbs 4:23. When you respect and guard your heart others will do the same to you. “How come we do not protect our hearts? We should be able to get things out of our hearts so that we help others around us without messing or contaminating their hearts. Let us learn to pull people aside and be real. Let’s deal with our hearts in a Godly way, she concluded.

The Main Message

Evangelist John Kilaha gave a powerful sermon on Pursuit of Holiness, preceded by an equally powerful communion by Edwin Mahiga on Moving out of our current situations and learning to forgive and not avenge what has been done to us.

The Baptisms

Catherine Kiusu, a sister from Thessalonians ministry residing in Mlolongo was baptised. Catherine was reached out by the late Phanice Ngoya. She decided to make Jesus the Lord of her life at the Indian Ocean beholding the glory of the Maker. John Luvaha took her through the confession of Jesus as the Lord of her life. It was an awesome experience to have one added to the Kingdom of God as Fred Arogo aptly puts it in the closing prayer after baptism. Joshua from Uganda had also been baptized a day earlier at the Indian Ocean.

The sisters and brothers classes

Purity

Charles and Josephine Omollo who lead the singles (shinning stars) in Kenya shared with Josephine sharing her own story of pain and suffering when her husband was sick. She further reminded the sisters that it immensely contributed to her growth in faith. From her sharing, the sisters learned how to deal with pain and draw closer to God in times of hurt and disappointment.

Liz touched on the subject of purity in the lives of single women emphasizing on the need to be open especially when struggling with sexual sin. As she shared her life with the sisters, it was clear that a strong relationship with God is based on one’s need to be completely open with God and confess sin.

The sisters were inspired with 2 Corinthians 4:16, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.”

Fellowship

The brothers had great time discussing challenges of singlehood and fellowships. Claude Ndezaclo from Burundi shared how smaller churches do not go on fellowships with as many sisters as possible because of their smaller numbers. The brothers below 30yrs mainly dwelt on the aspect of fellowship specifically in the area of dating that is going steady, liking sisters among other things.fello 2_n

The 7 top reflections that will bring you joy always

Evangelist John Kilaha’s class on “the 7 top reflections that will bring you joy always,” spiced up the whole retreat. He summarized them as remember this far the Lord has brought you, encourage others daily, forgive, lead, expect great things, confess and trust the Lord. The classes at the camp catered & spiritually nourished the different groups that included single parents, the steady and engaged and widows. There were questions and answer sessions which were very helpful to the sisters and brothers. They were interactive and interesting.

A change from tradition

For the first time, the East Africa singles retreat was held in the middle of the year unlike its usual tradition of coming at the end of the year with Uganda and Tanzania becoming the first contingent to arrive and on to welcome them was the host church (Mombasa Church of Christ) led by the leader Sammy Mbuva. The retreat took place between 1st and 3rd June. It was the fourth after Naivasha (Kenya), Maasai Mara (Kenya) and Mbale (Uganda).

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The activity menu

The activity menu was filled with a blend of activities. The team formation bonding activity required every member in the camp to participate. It was entertaining and well coordinated.

The Yellow, Red, Green and White teams were formed and each team came up with a War cry, Slogan and a National Anthem for a newly formed Nation with a name of their choice. The response was good and the performances exhibited elements of creativity as well as forms of entertainment. Every team performed and entertained the other 3 teams as a show of might and team participation.

Later the groups were split into different nationalities in preparation for the Saturday dinner and explosive cultural performance from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda (eventual winners) and South Sudan. The Mombasa disciples merged to support their Tanzanian counterparts. The disciples were dressed in resplendent cultural attires. The performance from the Acrobats was also breathtaking with different disciples taking the courage to join them. None was injured. Awards were presented to stand out teams’ performance that emerged as either the winners or runners up.

Lessons learned from Uganda

The warmth of the disciples from Uganda was evident. Sarah Bwete from Kampala church of Christ could not hide her joy as she shared. The excitement of being in Kenya and Mombasa for the first time could not be hidden. “The attractive site of the Indian ocean was a perfect setting for me to reflect the theme and the scripture.” She added, “I was able to reflect on my life and realize the importance of my relationship with God. I will use this retreat as a point to work on my relationship with God and trust that everything else would fall in place.”

bro. fello_nBlabek Biong appreciated the organizing committee for the great job of putting the retreat together. It gave him an opportunity to fellowship with different people and above all, enjoyed God’s creation by the ocean. Blabek was enthusiastic about the relationships he had made with disciples from different countries at the camp. Being that it was his first time in Kenya, he felt that this was going to be one of the most special memories of his life. He eagerly pointed out that he had learnt a lot on forgiveness, putting the past behind him and focusing on his relationship with God.

Lesson learned from South Sudan

Kheji Stephens, a tall beautiful sister who is as funny as much as confident shared about her culture.  She pointed out that there are thorns in our lives to humble us. We need to drink the cups of tears, prayers and pain. Keji singles out “the seven joys of reflection class”. We should remember how far God has brought us. David was a shepherd but God brought him from there to be a King and to learn to forgive when hurt. Kheji was really excited that her sisters and brothers from South Sudan had accompanied her on this retreat. At one moving moment at the retreat, Kheji was translating for her friend Victoria who was responding to a class in Arabic. It was a special moment that not even language disparities can stop the Word of God from spreading to all nations.

Lesson from Kenya

Brian Otieno one of the organizers was very impressed by the performances that were presented by the singles representing their nations and their countries. He felt that it was quite inspiring to see adults take up a challenge given to them and pour their hearts into it.

Rehema Dhiki learnt the importance of not compromising her purity especially in her steady relationship. She was inspired to know that God puts thorns in a person’s life so that the person may not be conceited but remain faithful to him by allowing the thorns to build his/her faith.

Alice Gitonga stated that being a quitter in the face of trouble and affliction was not her portion as a Christian. Instead, he added, “We should be Pitchers and stay put even in the midst of life’s issues. Being vulnerable and open with regard to our purity as sisters is vital.

Lessons from Tanzania

“The retreat was an amazing experience,” stated Moureen Kionga, “I never thought kingdom could be an exciting place to be, I thought I had left FUN in the world and now I was to face a boring life”.  There’s actually plenty of fun in God’s Kingdom compared to the world.  Moureen could not hide the fact that she had found it difficult to mix with people he barely knew being a new disciple…However, with time, she made plenty of friends, some of which she has maintained communication with. I’m really grateful. “We pray for each other, encourage each other, advise each other…so I’m super happy and glad I made it to Mombasa.”

 

“The love in God’s Kingdom is incredible, disciples are so loving, so encouraging, each of them unique in their own way….I just fell in love with the disciples, the unity, and the event organization and to discover different talents we had around. I can now appreciate my life, having heard what others have gone through and they still love God, concluded Moureen.

The countries represented

The East Africa singles retreat had a representative attendance of different East Africa countries. Key among them the newest African state, South Sudan which plans are underway for it to be part of the East Africa International Churches of Christ. The 150 disciples were drawn from Tanzania churches –Dar es Salaam and Arusha, Juba in S. Sudan, Mombasa, Kisumu, Kampala, Bujumbura and Nairobi. New terms sprang up like swallow-ship and channia bugs in memory of the defining moments. The disciples were so fired up; that you would have thought it was a big family reunion! This retreat served to show how a relationship with God bridges the barriers of languages and nationalities to bring people together.

CategorySingles
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