We recently got to sit down and do some reflecting with one our ministry partners, Ronald Abels, founder and director of Future Life. We spoke about Future Talk, one of the organization's six ministry programs, because the program leaders recently hosted a weekend camp for grade 7 students. We'd like to share some of the highlights of our conversation with you!
Future Talk is a year-long Christian discipleship program for Grade 7 students. Can you tell us more?
The early teens (just before high school) seems to be a season in people’s lives when they're particularly swayed and influenced by the world. A few years ago, I asked myself, "What if I can disciple kids for one year during that time?" After grade 7, even if they do meet trouble in their futures, they'll have a strong Christian foundation to work from.
What's the Future Talk camp all about?
The Future Talk camp is definitely a highlight of the year for the kids! Many of the kids have never traveled outside of their small communities, and the weekend away is great opportunity for them to learn about God and have fun with their peers—in an safe environment, not governed by perpetual poverty, struggle, and brokenness.
How are the camps funded?
Thanks to the generosity of fellow believers and churches (like Church of the Holy Spirit in Cape Town), these camps are taking place each year! It’s the heart of Future Talk and our sponsors to provide the best that we can for the students. If we're all God’s children, created in His image, then why should the children of the Cape Flats have to settle for a second-rate camping experience?
What kind of breakthrough are you seeing at the camps?
The camps create a safe space for the Future Talk leaders to build deeper relationships with the students they're discipling throughout the year. God moves powerfully during these few days! He establishes identity and ministers to broken pasts and struggles.
After the most recent camp, the Future Talk students gave feedback and testimonies of their experience. One student said, “I want to become like the Future Talk leaders one day—become a pastor and be a good father to my children.” Here are some more responses:
“I used to feel like a big black question mark. Future Talk has helped me to see who I am.”
“Future Talk has changed my life—even life with my family. I can now talk to my mother again. At first her feelings were hard towards me, but since I’ve applied the things I learned at Future Talk, she now loves me more. I feel like I can talk to her about anything.”
“Future Talk has helped me with my school subjects. I’m struggling less in class now.”
“It helped me with the problems in my life. It helped me to look for a shoulder that I can cry on. It helped me to know who I am. It helped me to know who God is, who He is to me and all the things He does in my life. I want to thank Future Talk for helping me realize who I am."
What Ronald and his team are doing in the Cape Flats is truly mind-blowing! If you'd like to give towards his ministry, please contact Catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email Ronald directly at email@example.com. To find out more about Future Life and its various ministry programs, visit www.fb.com/futurelifesa.
P.S. We couldn't resist sharing a few more photos with you from Westlake's camp weekend!