MOHI recently launched a new program for transformation and revival among our upper primary (middle school) students. The "Ignite” conference is held monthly for students in grades 6 through 8. Our goal is to allow them to go deeper into God’s Word while also connecting them to each other and MOHI staff during a time of transition in their lives.
"Our students are eager for deeper discussions of Scripture and the issues that affect them daily,” said Rahab Omollo, MOHI’s Acting Head of Spiritual Development and Counseling. "We want to set a good foundation for them before entering high school.”
The theme for this year’s program is "Anchored in Christ.” The half-day conference features a keynote speaker from MOHI staff and other invited guests; small group discussions about age-appropriate topics (gossip, identity in Christ, and connecting with a local church); corporate praise and worship; and fellowship time during breakfast and lunch.
Additionally, students are invited to dedicate their lives to Christ. The conference includes a special session for further discussion of what it means to follow Christ for those who made a first-time decision or renewed their faith. After the conference, our Discipleship Officers at each center follow-up with these students for additional mentoring and discipleship.
The monthly conference currently takes place at four different locations throughout Mathare slums. It’s open to all MOHI students and their friends outside MOHI in grades 6-8. In July, approximately 1,649 students attended the conference, and 303 dedicated their lives to Christ.
We plan to hold two more "Ignite” conferences in Mathare this year before the academic term ends in November. We are also planning a similar conference to be held at our rural centers outside Nairobi.
The idea for a monthly program started with a similar weekend-long conference held earlier this year by Crossroads Christian Church (California), with support from Nairobi Chapel, Outreach Hope Churches, and Mathare Pastor’s Fellowship. Positive feedback from the students after the conference demonstrated that they want more frequent sessions like this.
"We were surprised to find that the kids weren’t just talking about the food and entertainment after the first event,” said Rahab. "Rather, all of them said they loved the small group discussions. At this age, kids are struggling with so many things around them— performance, relationships, negative influences like drugs, etc. This program gives them an opportunity to interact with our staff and open up to us and each other.”
We plan to develop a similar program called "Nawiri” ("Thrive") for our high school students to attend during their school breaks. We would also like to create more opportunities for mentorship and personal development in both of these programs by involving college students who recently graduated from MOHI.