Dear friends and partners,
We will first apologize for sharing no updates since our December 2010 end of year newsletter. The least we can say is that the lord really kept us active in many leadership development fronts during this great season of service. Please join us and give praise to God for all He has enabled us to experience during the first quarter of 2011.
Teaching compassion and reaching hearts
This academic year again, members of two Young Leaders Clubs (YLC) went to visit "The Good Shepherd" orphanage in the outskirts of Yaounde. We had been there last year with about 30 youths. This year; the YLC members challenged their classmates and friends to join them for the visit. As a result of their mobilization, 55 students joined the 40 members of our two YLCs to pay a memorable visit to our friends of "The Good Shepherd" orphanage. Students came with bars of soap, or bottles of oil, or even clothes and other gifts for the residents of the orphanage. Above all the physical gifts, these young people came because we had challenged them to give a gift of love. We asked them to share the warmth of their hearts with other young people like them, who needed to feel loved and considered. Taking this challenge of true love and service, the students spent a whole afternoon with the orphans. They played all kinds of games with them, and at the end presented the gifts they had brought. Victor concluded the visit with a message of hope to all who were present. Reading from Psalm 113: "He raises up the poor out of dust…in order to make him sit with nobles…". He encouraged the audience to remember that our circumstances do not limit God, in what He will make of us. As He raised Hannah from barrenness to the mother of the great prophet Samuel, As He raised Mary from an anonymous humble girl to the mother of the Lord Jesus, He will raise them from the orphanage and make of them great men and women of our Nation.
No fraud & No cheating in school
Every year, YLCs organize a project to lead transformation in their environment. After realizing projects related to the transformation of their physical environment during the last two years, YLC members came up -early February this year-with a plan to address moral issues. The "No Fraud! No Cheating!" project. This was a campaign organized in school, to sensitize the school community on the dangers of fraud and cheating. Helped by their teachers, Young Leaders went from class to class, organizing discussions on the danger of fraud and cheating. They sold a T-shirt in school on which it was written "No to Cheating! No to Fraud!" They also organized an art contest on the theme of the campaign, with winning prizes for the best story, for the best poem and for the best drawing against fraud and cheating. This campaign was organized one week before the school second term examinations, and the objective of the campaign was to reduce cheating and fraud by 50% in the school (with 1,800 students). We had feedback from a discipline mistress that one student was found cheating during this session of exams, whereas in previous exams, they had to deal with more than 20 cases. Donald Agasoh, the president of the Club who was at the forefront of the campaign made the following comments: "Once we took the risk to come out and challenge our fellow mates to turn away from cheating, we put ourselves on the spotlight. They closely monitored the behavior of all YLC members during the exams. And we understood that you cannot preach the values of Jesus, you don't demonstrate the same values consistently in your own life. We need your prayers so that we can continue to be good examples to our classmates".
The Challenge of Transforming Leadership
From March 09 to 11 this year, International Leadership Foundation (ILF) organized a "Transforming Leadership Seminar" (TLS) for top government and business leaders in Yaounde. This seminar was attended by representatives of the Presidency of the Republic, of the Prime Minister's office and of five ministries in Cameroon. There were also four honorable members of parliament and a few key leaders of the business sector. The Prime Minister and head of Government of Cameroon received the facilitators of the seminar and encouraged our initiative, recognizing that Cameroon is in great need of leaders with a high level of integrity and character. He was particularly happy that we thought of taking this value based leadership curriculum to high school students. And he also expressed a hope that the next generation of leaders will embrace their responsibilities with a high sense of calling to serve the people and the Nation and not their personal interests. Our discussions with the Prime Minister also opened doors for future collaboration in the areas of economic transformation. Dr Victor Koh of Singapore, who is the ILF expert on economic development and TLS facilitator lead these discussions.
TLS participants formed transformation groups according to their professional sectors and they designed transformational projects on which they will begin to work as a result of their participation at TLS. In addition to the outcomes mentioned above, we are currently exploring possibilities of partnership with the Ministry of Culture on summer educational activities to create awareness among youths on issues of character and leadership.
Yaounde (Capital city of Cameroon) is also known as the city of Seven Hills. This is because the city is surrounded by 7 small mountains. One of these mountains is called Mount Eloumden. Last March 12 we climbed to the top of this mountain with 35 students for an excursion. The distance from the foot to the top of the mountain is 1600 km (about 1000 miles), and the slope of the mountain is very stiff. The challenge of climbing Mt Eloumden is very intimidating because of the stiffness of its slopes, and one of the Young Leaders confessed that he considered abandoning the adventure as we came close to the foot of the mountain. But Thank God, all Young Leaders reached the top, after being patient and sustaining physical efforts. At the top of the mountain, Dr Dela Adadevoh (ILF President) told them his life story of endurance. He taught them through this story that enduring hard conditions is the only way for leaders to develop extraordinary capacities that will enable them to stand out and make a difference in life. Young Leaders were asked to make comments about their experiences. Christian, one of them, made the following comment: "Behind every big obstacle hides a big victory".
Pray with us:
- Praise God for open doors and a positive attitude of the Cameroon Government toward our initiative.
- Praise God for 540 students who are being exposed to transformational leadership principles on a weekly basis.
- Pray for Florence and I, as well as the team of volunteers working with us to highly depend on God.
Pray that an official authorization to operate as ILF in Cameroon be issued. We thank God the file was sent through the Ministry of External Relations (Foreign Affairs)