October 24, 2018 | Kelsey Carr

Tribes, Tongues and Nations

Like many of the trips I take, this one included gathering stories about God’s provision in kids’ lives, singing and dancing and worshiping, and always lots of laughter.

But this trip was overall so unique. Africans, Middle Easterners, and Americans all gathered in Tanzania, Africa for RIKA training. RIKA is a Swahili word describing a group of people who are moving from one stage of life to another. In Young Life Africa, RIKA refers to intensive training for standout emerging leaders.

Over 24 countries were represented; bringing their cultures, languages and stories. However, among all this diversity we had one thing in common – the mission for all teenagers to know about Jesus. I emphasize the diversity of this group because I never want to take for granted how unique this opportunity was. It was similar to what I imagine Heaven to be like; where all tribes, tongues and nations unite.

My role within Young Life Africa/Middle East is two part: 1) field reporting by gathering stories from leaders and interviewing staff for the Young Life podcast 2) training the RIKA participants in communications related material – storytelling, social media, donor relations and photography.  My goal is to bridge the communications gap between these two continents as we partner with one another for the sake of teenagers. I loved training these staff members, but what I loved most was bringing up Diana, an Area Director in Malawi, to share her experience and thoughts on communications from an African perspective.

Diana has not only been a coworker to me, but also we have developed a friendship over the last year. However, it wasn’t until this trip that we were able to connect in person finally. I got to see Diana in a new light and was able to hear about her passion for media and theology. Diana is a woman of many talents and dreams. She and her Malawi team have been excelling in communications by producing lively camp videos and creating newsletters to share all God is doing in their country.

I called Diana to the front to share with the group hoping she would offer an African’s perspective on the importance of communications. It was so beneficial to have her share about the innovative ways her and her team are doing communications in their own context. It was beautiful to see the convergence of all these cultures, learning from one another with the same mission. Every tribe, tongue and nation learning together how to glorify God and tell His story.

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