by Samson Opiyo
edited by John Seale
You may be familiar with the term clinic from a medical perspective. It’s a place that offers diagnostic and therapeutic services. At Ndoto, our Teen’s Clinic is coined from that definition. Ndoto’s core mission is holistic development, which includes physical, intellectual, emotional, social, and spiritual transformation. The Teen’s Clinic offers diagnostic and therapeutic soul care for students in a bid to produce holistically healthy children, people of God who are rooted, established, and built up in Christ.
We host Teen’s Clinics regularly when students are on school break. During the short August break, over 100 students attended the first Clinic. Pastor Michael led the main session, thoroughly exploring the theme that when you answer the question of who you are, you begin to live a life driven by purpose.
After a praise and worship session led by the students, a student asked, “What is our identity?”. This reminded me of the scenario found in Mark 12:13-17. These people came to Jesus and asked, “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar?” Many times I have wished that Jesus had said no, given our current economic hard times here in Kenya. But Jesus only asked, “Whose image is on this coin?” When the people said Caesar, He replied, “Then give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and give to God what belongs to God.” Suppose this conversation continued. “What belongs to God, then?” I believe Jesus would say, “Whose image is on you?” You belong to God, and from God you draw your identity and purpose. No one should allow circumstances to dictate who you are.
This was a call for the students to rise above their fears, their weaknesses, negative self-perceptions, and low self-worth to embrace who they are in Christ. Regardless of how many mistakes you’ve made in the past, God has a purpose and a destiny for you. A creation can only be defined by the one who created it. It’s astounding how students who come from challenging backgrounds are so hungry for the truth that has been denied them. Some have been forced to grow up more rapidly than their age would suggest, and this denies them the basic rights of a child. By the time they are teenagers they have been exposed to depravities without limit.
|Pastor Michael teaching on addiction, which goes far deeper than just drugs or alcohol.|
Most Ndoto students have heard of the idea of Christ, yet many have never understood what He says about identity. Thus they have yielded to the world’s concept of identity. From the Scripture read in the Teen’s Clinic, we were introduced to the transformation in us. “Now, if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone and behold the new has come.” (2 Cor 5:17) To be in Christ refers to being of the same kind. Jesus Christ is the prototype of believers. Whatever we see in Him, we will see in us. In the incarnation, He identified with us by becoming a man like us, who died our death and was buried. Because He rose from the dead in the resurrection, we can now identify with Him. As He is, so are we. Everything about our identity changed as a result of the cross.
When someone talks about an identity crisis, it is a problem of the mind. But Scripture renews the mind. If a person doesn’t know who they are, the Gospel will reveal it to them. When we see Jesus, we see ourselves and the crisis ends. For students who have been subjected to great suffering, transformation requires someone going out of their way to enlighten them. They have to unlearn and then relearn how to deal with some of the trickiest life questions. In another Clinic we grappled with issues of dating and sex We allowed them to write their questions anonymously on paper. In the first Clinic of the long holiday in November and December we discussed addictions of all kinds, and the second was all about discontentment. Dealing with these subjects can shape a young person’s destiny.
|Elizabeth, Haddah, and Susan from our team offering insights|
We must be aware of what our teenagers are asking, and be willing to address their questions with truth in a loving manner. It is natural for teens to ask questions about anything and everything. The more questions they ask, the better they learn. Therefore, at Ndoto we take student questions seriously and answer them to the best of our ability. It is an honor that they choose to come to us. If we fail to listen or fail to answer, they will take their questions elsewhere.