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Dear partners and friends

It’s often said that children and youth are the Church of the future. This is true in the sense that they will be its leaders and decision-makers in the coming years, but I’ve been challenged by the fact that our children and youth are also the Church of today.

On our continent, youth aged 15 to 24 account for 20% of sub-Saharan Africa’s total population. That’s nearly 200 million individuals. They’re the largest generation the region has raised and make up the majority of the Church in the region.

It’s always encouraging to hear of a child or young person who makes wise choices, lives courageously and stands up against the tide like Ruth, Traore and Munah (see pages 2-4).

Thinking of that you may wonder:

How is that possible amid persecution? How do parents, families, educators, and mentors give hope to the next generation and help them withstand persecution?

As salt and light in the community, the local Church often facilitates equipping and building up young Christians to be resilient in the face of persecution.

Young people need to know that they are created in God’s image and have value today and in the future. This must be communicated at an early age, as Barna Group research shows that one’s worldview is formed by age 13. Helping the local Church to see children and youth as essential to the current Church and incorporate them in its growth is vital.

Thank you for partnering with Open Doors to make this happen.

Peace

Lynette Leibach

Executive Director
Open Doors Southern Africa

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