I found that these students really had taken a lot of initiative! Not only do they organise all activities, but they have also contacted other institutions to start new UJC groups
Prosper Gadnodji is a man with a mission. As General Secretary of UJC Chad, he led students and staff in discussion of the IFES Living Stones vision at their last national convention in 2008. As they explored together what it meant to be living stones, they were convicted of their need to change as a movement and excited about the possibilities for the future. The decision was made to radically reform and rebuild the movement.
How is this transformation progressing? Prosper shared with us: ‘From November 18 to 21 I participated in a training mission in the centre of the country. I was very impressed by the students in one of the institutes in Mongo. In 2008 we had decided to train students in accordance with the Living Stones vision, to release student initiative. I found that these students really had taken a lot of initiative! Not only do they organise all activities, but they have also contacted other institutions to start new UJC groups.
‘They also took the initiative to contact graduates, or Amis (Friends) as they are known here. In this locality the graduate group is not functioning, but these students recognised their need of older brothers and sisters who could mentor them, and told them that I was coming to visit. So in addition to the training I actually ended up meeting with 12 Amis! I told them about their role as advisers for young people, and they were really encouraged and created an interim committee of three persons to help organise student activities. The students had even organised a reception for the Amis, even though usually they can’t afford those things.
‘These students are really zealous. They also organised a meeting with young people in the nearby town of Bitkine. When I arrived I met 26 high school students – there is no university there – and eight Amis. I left with an outline of Bible studies and they plan to meet once a week for Bible study and prayer.
‘We are committed to work more with high school students. If these young people get a taste of the movement in their early years we trust they will want to continue when at university. So we have organised summer camps for them. We talk to them about many things, especially about UJC, what we do nationally and internationally, and we give them practical advice in relation to school. In 2009, 117 young people took part; in 2010, 250 young people and in 2011, 400!
‘We also want to train students on how to support their local UJC group. They think they must have a salary to help but they can start giving now.’
And some of these students are already giving in a most practical way.
‘We need to rebuild our office building using durable materials. So students in N’Djamena have committed to making bricks! During selected times, students come every day – those who have morning classes come in the evening and those who have evening classes come in the morning – we wet the soil to make bricks and then bake the bricks.
‘When I sit at my desk I can see in front of me the 8,000 bricks that we have made so far. In order to bake the bricks we need to buy wood for the fire, and the Amis are supporting us in this project. Our goal is to make 15,000 bricks, so we still have 7,000 to make!
‘At Christmas we will start making bricks again for 4 to 6 days: we will use the holiday and perhaps continue the baking process until January.’
How encouraging to see these living stones – growing in number day by day, growing in maturity – making bricks and giving up part of their holidays, as their offering to God.
Making bricks is not all these students have planned for their Christmas holidays. From December 26 to 31, UJC are holding their next triennial national convention on the theme: Getting better and better at doing the Lord's work.
Please pray for delegates as they work together to determine the direction of the movement for the next three years, that there will be even more good fruit from this event than there was from the convention in 2008.
And as you give thanks with us that there have been great advances in the rebuilding of the Chad student movement, think about what you are doing for the Advent and Christmas season. How can you contribute to the building of God’s kingdom, living stone by living stone?