Photo of the protests courtesy of the Duke Chronicle
In the Western Cape, the university campuses where we have our campus ministries started very late this year (mid March), except for the University of Stellenbosch. This is some of the aftermath of the Fees Must Fall protests; deferred exams, lack of student housing for the new year and delayed employment for those who were meant to be graduating.
As the dust settles and we look ahead to our future – and the prospect of more unrest – we sense the need to both strengthen leaders and raise up more leaders as we move forward. We are aware as campus ministries that we are always only 1 year away from extinction because of the fast student turn-over. We witnessed last year that God’s presence, and specifically His presence through Christians, makes such a difference during times of deep turmoil. The mediation, the peaceful witnessing, the prayer, and the counseling carried out by many Christians across the body of Christ had such an incredible impact on the situation.
Photo of UCT’s Jammie Plaza courtesy of Stay Centred
This year, we are looking to strengthen our leadership development across all of our campuses. For us this means being more effective in equipping our student leaders both for their own growth, and to improve their ability to disciple other students. It also means more effective equipping of Christian students who are entering student governance, and framing the issues of the day with a Biblical perspective so that they can be salt and light on the campuses. There has also been a greater interest among the Christian university staff to engage and explore their role in campus life.
Through every adversity and difficult situation, we move forward with the knowledge that God has His hand on His people, and that we carry His presence within us.
In previous years, Campus Harvest was held as a single national event or 4 regional events, but for 2013 we had a total of 10 different Campus Harvest events across the country with 1745 people attending in total. The point at issue was ‘Transformation’ and “Transformers” is the name the campers gave themselves at this year’s Campus Harvest ‘Western Cape’ camp. There were about 250 people there from the University of Stellenbosch, University of the Western Cape, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, and University of Cape Town campuses. It was a warm experience for the students and campus ministers, even though the weather was bitterly cold! Friendships were strengthened and new friendships were formed. The weekend was lots of fun and crazy as it always is with young people. I am always amazed at how it is cumulative moments like these that forever change the course of students’ lives. They are opened up to the possibility of a life lived solely for the glory of God, and have the opportunity to answer the call to be world changers. It was a spiritually refreshing time, with great messages on transforming our society by being agents of transformation ourselves.
It was also an emotional time for me as I looked around and was struck by the number of lives that we have the privilege of impacting through campus ministries. A combination of joy and responsibility; joy of being a part of impacting and shaping lives for God’s glory, and the urgency and responsibility to use this opportunity for the greatest possible impact in the short time we have with each group of students!
The highlight for me was watching the students themselves leading and serving, and the younger campus ministers doing a great job with organising Campus Harvest. I look forward to the fruit that will come from this time away as we were all inspired to go and transform society for God’s glory!
Malibongwe, pictured speaking, was part of the 2011-2012 Year of Your Life team. He is a great evangelist and it was wonderful to see him minister.