Girls’ Brigade’s aim and values are the same the world over! Girls and young women meet together to learn about God, to develop their self-esteem, to learn new skills and to have fun with their friends. Members all wear the same badge as they ‘Seek , Serve and Follow Christ’ and through GB’s work ‘Girls’ lives are transformed and God’s world is enriched.’ But though GB is in many ways the same the world over, there are some things we all do differently.
We are preparing to launch a series of fact sheets which will put the SPOTLIGHT on GB in different countries. Discover what happens in GB in parts of Africa, The Pacific, Europe, Asia and The Caribbean and Americas. Find out what GB members wear, what programmes they follow, what awards they earn and what life is like in their country.
It started with, Kaylene Trembath (from GB NSW) and myself arriving at 11.30pm on Wednesday 25th January and we were met by our hosts, Jill, National Secretary and Shirley, the National Commissioner of Vanuatu. The next day the adventure commenced.
The training started with about 18 – 20 ladies for the next three days. And what three days it was. There was laughter, tears, blessings and very eager ladies who wanted to learn so much. They came from islands to the south of the main island, Efate, and islands to the north. What dedication these ladies had, some didn’t know anything of Brigade so we were starting from scratch. One of the ladies thought that Girls’ Brigade was all Marching and Flag Raising, she was in for big shock.
Some ladies stayed at the Church Hall and others travelled in each day. They learnt the History of Brigade, how to run a company, Officers training, programming, different craft ideas and how to include them in the badgework, games, different ways of doing devotions, Brigade Knowledge, the different awards and lots of other Brigade things, and of course drill.
On the Saturday afternoon, we had a special presentation of Certificates of Participation, which they all received, and the younger girls (3 girls aged 13) also received some special things. There were lots of hugs and big smile on their faces. All the ladies were excited to go home to their Churches to start Brigade.
On Sunday, we attended a Church Parade service, in which we were asked to take part, at the conclusion of the service we stood at the door to shake everyone’s hands and even received hugs from some of the ladies. The singing before the service was so magical, they have a wonderful youth group who sang in perfect English. Even when the words were in Vanuatuan it was still magical.
Jill and her husband, Adous, took us for a drive to showed us their lovely island, white sands, coral beaches and blue seas. We learnt a lot about Vanuatu. We also visited some of the ladies in their homes, the ones who live on the main island of Efate.
Monday, we had a day out to unwind and prepare for the next day of visiting the Presbyterian Christian Education Department and also more Churches and ladies.
The stories of some of these women is truly amazing. One lady, Helen, came along because she wanted to start GB in her Church. She had not been involved in Brigade and was so passionate to learn. We visited her on the Tuesday and she told us that God has been so good to her, she is a very simple lady and her granddaughter was so inspired by her grandmother that she went out and arranged to purchase a lap top for her, so she could move with the time, and she was going to teach her how to use it. I asked Helen how she was doing to get the girls to come to Brigade, and her answer was “on the way to the Church I would just gather them as I pass through the villages on route”. I was so touched by Helen I just wanted to hug her. This is just one of the stories that we have to tell.
Three ladies left for their homes on the Monday morning, by boat, these islands were north of Efate. Jill received a message on the Tuesday morning, to say that they had arrived ok. It took them nearly 20 hours to get home to their island. What amazing dedication these women have.
Our visit to the Children’s Education department, was another wonderful experience. We met with Johnny Albert, the overseer of the Department, and he was so supportive of Brigades. They would also like to get BB up and running as well, and I sure that this will happen. Jill, Kaylene and myself came away from the meeting feeling overwhelmed with the outcome.
The whole time that we were in Port Villa we felt God with us, it was such an awesome feeling of peace and we were very blessing to have been able to share our knowledge of Girls’ Brigade and these ladies.
A big thanks to Jill and Shirley for the hospitality that we received during our time with them.
Kaylene and I returned to Sydney on the Wednesday evening full of wonderful memories of these lovely ladies and our training in Vanuatu.
Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am thankful for 2 years of GB ministry in Hatfield, Harare. My name is Captain Isabel Macaullay I grew up in GB from the ages of 6 to 13 years when our company closed down and that was it! Only when I turned 37 years I realised that something was missing in the lives of my daughter and two beloved nieces. Upon much reflection and thought I discovered that the missing link was GB. I recalled how much I learnt from GB, the fun we had and the fellowship that we shared.
I searched for GB on the internet and was led to Mrs. P. Penny IVP Africa and Mrs. B. Laurence Zimbabwe National President. I began attending leaders training and meetings. I struggled to begin the work but a year later I re-opened the Company I attended during my early years at the Presbyterian Church.
We held our first lesson on 6 February 2015 with 2 girls. We thank the Lord for growth, within two years we have had 18 girls and 1 officer added to our number. Our girls enjoy the lessons, the journey has been truly amazing. Parents have been very supportive and are pleased with the positive impact the GB programme has had on their daughters.
Our girls were so excited as we went through the Be Courageous International Focus 2016 resource. They became aware that they are part of an International organisation and something much bigger than they ever imagined! Our explorers loved to hear Margret Lyttle’s story. Our Juniors discovered that while we are different there are so many things that unite us such as our GB crest and our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We celebrated this occasion on 10 February.
From the day we are born into this world, we all begin running a race. The race of life is not a sprint but a marathon. Running a marathon requires endurance. We must train well and develop physical strength as well as strength of character, so that we will be fit to endure the challenges for the long journey. For life’s race, we need to equip ourselves with the best so that we will be able to complete the RACE.
Relationships – We need to choose our friends wisely. It is helpful to have friends who call out the best from us and encourage us when we are down. Cultivating strong friendships will help us keep our confidence and self-esteem as we grow to understand ourselves and our giftings. Humility helps us to keep a realistic balance and view of ourselves. Glean the best from those around you who are experienced and wise. Accept their counsel and advice.
Attitude – We must be constantly searching for knowledge, growing and developing ourselves to be life – long learners. We need to set our goals as they help us chart the milestones in our Life. As we recognise our giftings, use and share them in our areas of influence, we will find the journey purposeful. We need to be accepting of others and allow them to grow and develop too. We will gain more strength and resilience along life’s journey so we will need to constantly review and be aware of the changing landscape around us. A good, positive attitude in life will keep us from unnecessary worry and fear. We need to be aware of our challenges and find ways of overcoming them. Be open to receiving help from others.
Commitment and Courage to Complete – In the marathon of life, it is comforting to know that God has given each one of us a different race. We do not need to compete and strive with anyone else. Engaging in unhealthy competitions cause much stress and unhappiness. God wants each one of us to align to His plan and purposes for us and complete the race set before us with commitment. There are others who will journey with us but our goal should be to complete our race and not compete. There are different seasons in life where we will move at a different pace. Be accepting of these times and circumstances. We must continue to move on courageously, confidently and purposefully amidst trials and complete the race set before us.
Excellence – In all our endeavours, we must be excellent in everything good and put away things that cause us to stumble and fall. Keep focus and keep faith.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, … let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” (Hebrews 12:1)
May God enable each one of us to complete our RACE as we trust Him to guide us.
As we approach Easter 2017, I challenge you to re-read the story of Calvary, or to sit and look at a simple cross, whilst reflecting on what it means to you. I ask you to do this because the cross is, after all, the recognised symbol of the Christian Church of which we are all a part.
Interestingly, if you were to ask children what a cross meant to them, you may discover that for many, their first response would have nothing to do with the CROSS OF CALVARY. A cross, they might well say, means you’ve got it wrong. A cross is a sign that a mistake has been made! But is that not true, too, of the CROSS OF CALVARY? It is a sign that we’ve got things wrong, made mistakes, or to use theological language we’ve sinned. If we hadn’t made those mistakes there would be no need of the cross.
Others will tell you that a cross is what you put after your name when you write a letter or send a card – it’s a ‘kiss’ – a symbol of love. Again the parallel is there. The CROSS OF CALVARY is exactly that a symbol of the LOVE of God almighty who gave His Son that we might live.
In some parts of the world the cross is also linked to the whole experience of making choices. It is the way votes are expressed in an election. A cross next to a name means you’ve made a choice for that person. It’s a sign of our allegiance to someone’s beliefs, ideologies and policies.
The CROSS OF CALVARY also requires us to make daily choices as to the path we will take in life, whose teachings we will adhere to or whose lead we will follow.
In this year, when our GBI theme is BE EMPOWERED, we need more than ever, the power of the cross if we are to be effective witnesses and servants of Christ. We need to know our MISTAKES have been cancelled out by the LOVE of God who wants us to reaffirm our ALLEGIANCE to Him.
May you BE EMPOWERED as you pray this prayer: ‘I want to know Christ and experience the mighty the power that raised Him from the dead.’
AN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION open to all GBI members
In 2018 we will be celebrating 125 years of fruitful mission. Our theme for the year, based on Jesus’ words in John 15v.16-17, will be ‘FRUITFUL & OVERFLOWING’. We will, of course, be celebrating all that God has done through GB over the last 125 years, but we will also reflect on the ongoing work that He still has in store for us amongst girls and young women around the world.
Are you creative? Do you like to make music? Can you use words effectively to express your thoughts? This is your opportunity. As part of our celebration we invite you to write a song to help celebrate God’s goodness and the impact of His empowering Spirit through GB. You can do this on your own, in collaboration with a friend or as a team effort with others in your company.
Instructions and entry forms are available to download below:
Being a member of the Girls’ Brigade has given me the opportunity to harbor exciting moments into my daily life as I learn more about God. I am excited to know more about God through Bible lessons taught at meetings. I was amazed to discover how powerful God is and can be, and how I can depend on Him for everything I need within my life.
Hundreds of faithful leaders help to give girls HOPE as they work with them in GB groups around the world each week. Additionally, from time to time, GBI is asked to give hope in response to specific needs made known to them. This is resourced by our GiveaGirlaHope Fund. In the last year we have:
seed funded a project to create a school tuck shop and vegetable garden in Zimbabwe
supported a number of individuals, enabling them to attend youth gatherings and events which will help them grow in faith and leadership.
enabled GBI to raise its profile by having representation at a United Nations Education Conference and the Lausanne Conference
funded elements of The Gathering 2017
In previous years we have part-funded Mission Trips from Europe, established a family support project in the Caribbean, supported the setting up of a project for young single mums in Asia and been involved with the resourcing a sewing and handcraft centre in Africa. (Application are open to all and forms are available via Fellowship IVPs)
Grants are only limited by the amount of money we have available, but the money originally donated for this purpose, is fast running out. At IPC 2016, the Presidents’ Committee reflected on our need and the story of Nehemiah. When Nehemiah saw a need, he didn’t hesitate, he asked those around him – specifically the King whom he served – if he would provide resources for the task that needed doing. Read the story and you’ll see how generously he responded! So that’s what we are doing – ASKING you if YOU can help.
Over the last six months we have produced a number of great free resources – The #IAMGB video, the ‘Be Empowered’ International Resource, The 2017 ‘Be Empowered’Prayer Calendar. Have you used or do you plan to use these? Would you consider a thank offering or donation as a response? We would be grateful and you would be giving a girl HOPE.
Giving is simple: Go to this website, click on MAKE A DONATION and you can give easily. If you are not in a position to give finances we would ask for your prayers that God will allow us to bring HOPE to all those who need it.
‘But those who wait upon God get fresh strength. They spread their wings and soar like eagles, They run and don’t get tired, they walk and don’t lag behind.’
“I love these words and the image they create. They teach me that PRAYER has such an important place to play in our daily lives.” Says Vivienne our International President.
Read the verse again. Isn’t it all about being EMPOWERED?
To get you fuelled up for the task ahead, GBI are pleased to launch their 2017 Prayer Focus. Each month we will provide you with a prayer calendar so that we can pray together for the needs of our GB family and the mission to which God has called us. Wait on God, Spread your wings and soar!!
As we approach the beginning of another year, GBI are pleased to confirm that the theme selected for 2017 is:
Scripture is full of stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things through the power of God’s Holy Spirit. To help you get the best out of this theme we want to encourage you to “BE EMPOWERED” in many different ways and for many different reasons. We are launching a new resource which includes questions for you to discuss, Bible passages to reflect on, prayer points for you to share and creative ideas to engage your young people. May God bless you as you are EMPOWERED by Him and for Him!