Making a Difference in a Different World


December 15–17, 2007 was an important time in the lives of COTN teens in Malawi. For the second time in the history of COTN–Malawi, our teens gathered together to attend the COTN Youth Retreat which was organized by our Malawi staff members with the help of national interns.

This year’s theme, “Making a Difference in a Different World” was derived from the book of Esther (based on verse 4:14 – “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?”) The theme for this year’s retreat picked up where last year’s retreat “Living as a Model,” left off. (The 2006 Youth Retreat “Living as a Model” encouraged teenagers to be role models in their homes, schools, and society at large. The theme was derived from Matthew. 5:14–15, “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.”)

Throughout the three-day retreat, our teens participated in morning sessions that covered such topics as: The Power of God’s Word, Abstinence and Purity, Time for Revival, Academic Excellency and Career Guidance, HIV/AIDS Counseling, Making a Difference in a Different World, Living as a Model, Discipleship, and Witnessing.

The retreat provided the opportunity for the youth in COTN Malawi to leave everything aside and concentrate on their lives and what God wants for them when they grow up. Many teens confessed that they did not really know what direction to take after high school. The breakout session on Academic Excellency and Career Guidance provided valuable insight. There were many guest speakers during the retreat including a lawyer, a pastor, and others from different areas. The teens were able to learn something from each person and his or her profession.

One of the teen girls witnessed and said, “My life will not be the same anymore because I know that I can do something and that I can attain everything that I dream. I do not take this retreat for granted and I would like to thank God for giving Dad Chris and Mom Debbie the vision to open COTN in Malawi. Secondly, I would like to thank all the people who took part in preparing for the retreat both financially and logistically. Above all, glory be to the Lord Jesus Christ.” The young woman had tons of smiles on her cheeks because of the materials she has received from the retreat.