Four years ago in Perth I was humbled to be elected International President of Girls’ Brigade 2014-2018. It has been a privilege and joy to serve the faithful leaders and committed members of GB during this time. Thank you all for your support, your love and your prayers! Key words like open doors, inter-generational leadership, transformation, hope, empowerment, courage, expectation and ‘joining God in His mission’ have helped us to maintain our fruitful and overflowing ministry during this period.
It was a joy to meet with GB personnel from all around the world in Zambia, at ICGB 2018. Together we dealt with the business issues, soaked up the challenge of the key note speakers, shared the expertise of the workshop leaders and were inspired by the exciting stories that were shared. New words, fresh challenges and different ways of being lie ahead, but one thing was clear – GB has a future in God’s vineyard
Now, as I hand over the baton to Priscilla Penny, our new President, my prayer is that she and her team (Renelle, Poh Imm, Claire, Aruk, Quindell and Betty) may know that the great God who has led us in the past and watches over the present will continue to be the true leader of GB. He said ‘Behold I am doing a new thing’ May He do a new thing in GB under their leadership.
What a great experience it was, to once again enjoy the different cultures, from the African ladies to the ladies in the Pacific, from the Caribbean to Europe and of course our sisters in Asia, with their dancing and singing, to the worshipping of the different cultures, which was so amazing.
This is my 6th ICGB and each one has been different, teaching us many ways of communicating, worshipping, the different cultural diversities of our Girls’ Brigade World. The colours of our cultural dress, our singing and our different ways we portray how we worship. This is all brought together when we sing the same song or say the Lord’s Prayer in our own language. What an amazing feeling we all get, showing that we are all joined with the one purpose in our life, is to be one in God.
I always go away from these Conferences uplifted in Christ, praying for our sisters from around the world, and realising that they also have the same issue that we have with our girls in our areas. We are truly blessed in the work of transforming lives, enriching God’s world.
Rev. Dennis Pethers has served as chaplain for Girls’ Brigade England and Wales for many years and a regular speaker at their conferences. He urged the over 300 delegates to keep abiding in the vine if we want to maintain being fruitful. He also spoke of the historic nature of the event, celebrating 125 years of our mission. He challenged us to think about what we need God to do in us to be fruit bearers. He urged us to tell the world about the good work we are doing and challenge us to expand our reach.
While Mrs Janet Mwafulilwa Kalale an active and practicing preacher of the word, emphasised on the importance of knowing the soil we work with. She spoke about the world of Generation Z, their passions, their world, their compassion, their spirituality and their values. She challenged us to meet their needs and embrace their culture.
Mrs Brenda Sichilembe is serving as Zambia’s High commissioner to Nairobi and permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Nairobi. Emphasised on pruning she urged us to empty ourselves and have the image of GB in us by recreating it and giving it colour because God loves colours. She urged us to believe in whom God says we are. She challenged us to be, Anointed, Equipped, Talented, Redeemed and Blessed.
The speakers were wonderful and made each session very inspiring. We thank God for a Fruitful and Overflowing periods we shared together.
Ideas Worth Sharing and Voices Worth Hearing were two new additions to ICGB this year and enabled members to challenge and inspire the global GB family with new ideas and initiatives. Mirrored on the popular TED talks, each speaker had 10 mins to communicate an idea that could make GB more fruitful and overflowing.
As a result of feedback from The Gathering 2017 in Ghana, The Voices Worth Hearing slot focussed on amplifying the voices and ideas of 18-35s leaders. Speakers included Hui Ting Lee (24) and Ching Yee Tay (29) from GB Singapore who challenged us about how to use digital media more effectively in Girls’ Brigade and Safiya Da Silva (29) from GB Trinidad & Tobago who shared about an innovative Caribbean-Americas community outreach project.
Reminding us that 1 in 4 people experience poor mental well-being, Jessie Emms (21) from GB England & Wales shared her passion about how Girls’ Brigade can help turn up the volume of hope for girls in this area and challenged us not to perceive it as a taboo subject.
Ayana Graham from GB Jamaica and Nicola Watson (24) from GB Northern Ireland facilitated a joint talk on strategies to empower younger leaders. Both are involved in leading youth empowerment initiatives in their own GB countries. Ayana, who is 25 years old, is the Vice-President of Jamaica.
Miriam Waapera from GB Nigeria, who delivered an excellent talk on the importance of girls’ education, shared how the experience impacted her: ‘I never imagined that I would have the opportunity to deliver a presentation at ICGB; this meant a great deal to me.’
IPC was committed to ensuring our younger leaders’ voices were amplified at ICGB; we have heard and listened to them. Now the challenge is to respond.
Calvary Greetings. ICGB has been and gone. I am humbled by being elected at IP for 2018 to 2022. 125 years on and we are still there… We must be doing something right.
At ICGB 2018, we heard and we learnt. We were challenged to keep the main thing, the main thing, to be Intentional in moving GB forward. Our eyes were opened to Generation Z, we need to remain relevant. We heard God speak to us in so many ways.
As we begin on this journey together for the next four years, I wonder what plans God has for us. I can only believe that it will be an exciting and fulfilling journey. What will be our objectives?
That GB will take its place as the Oldest and Strongest Christian Organisation focusing on Girl Child Issues.
That GB members will be good stewards and take care of God’s creation – The Earth.
That GB will make a Loud Noise that cannot be missed as it turns up the volume of Hope for Girls around the world. May the Girls Brigade be the FIRST TO PRAY, THE FIRST TO SPEAK AND THE FIRST TO ACT for safety and justice for the Girl child. As it say in Proverbs 31:8-9, “Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and the needy.”
GB will empower and nurture our young women to drive the Mission and Vision of GB.
The Theme for 2019 is “Fruitful and Overflowing… Live Joyfully”. I tried to understand the term “Overflowing”. Producing Fruit is a process from preparing the soil, to harvest and then sharing the fruit. How do we get there? How do we get to a point where we move beyond private and personal breakthrough to being so full of the Holy Spirit that we become carriers of His Glory and have His presence overflow out of our inner spirit into every area of our soul, body and around us, bringing healing and freedom to those we come into contact with, to our girls especially as we seek to Transform Lives.
We maybe separated by land, water, different cultures, but we are one family with one Mission … to Transform the lives of the girls. ONE GB … ONE MISSION!!!
It was a brilliant to experience the different styles of worship as different fellowships led us each morning. The creative ways in which the Fruit of the Spirit theme and the exhortations were shared was amazing. It was wonderful having a sense of how each Fellowship had their own special flavour in praising our great God. So many languages, yet in harmony, worshipping one God.
In the evening Rev Dr Kuzipa Nalwamba was an inspiring speaker. She was very clear in her teaching on John 15, having the passage read every night. We received new insights daily without Christ we can do nothing, we need to be constantly abiding in the vine. When we are available to serve Him in humility, we will produce fruit which will last. We must not fear the pruning as this helps us to bear more fruit. Fruitfulness is the outward proof of being connected. We cannot allow division to come into our midst. When we are divided we cannot be fruitful. Each one is called for His work but we must allow God to lead us all.
The voices and singing of the African choir (some with babies on their back!) who enhanced our worship throughout the week, was beautiful. God was very present in our midst. I loved the spontaneity of dancing and the singing. Very African! It’s always amazing to be in the midst of GB Officers from all around the world but all worshiping the same Lord with one voice & one heart.
During the 2018 Conference in Zambia, we went the Livingstone Central Hospital to not only visit the patients but also to plant trees. This was an opportunity to give back to the community and was indeed apt to have the Community Service of the four-square program so clearly demonstrated at ICGB 2018. This fit perfectly with the theme for ICGB 2018: Fruitful and Overflowing.
The mahogany trees planted, are not only resilient and grow very large thus providing shade, but will also enhance Livingstone’s nature beauty. What a blessing it was to give back to the community that welcomed us with open arms for this Conference while learning the W‘s to consider when planting a tree:
What kind of tree are you planting?
Why do you want to plant it?
Where are you planting it?
After a few words by the Immediate Past International President who explained the Girls’ Brigade values of being able to serve others we started to be fruitful with the tree planting activity.
We were overflowing with joy from the visit with the patients at the Livingstone Hospital. The experience reinforced for us to be grateful for life, health and strength. It opened our eyes to the reality that anyone, regardless of age, can be sick and ailing. At the same time, it was rewarding and great pleasure to see the proud faces of and the smiles of gratitude from the nurses, doctors and patients at the hospital. The appreciation was very evident. Girls’ Brigade is really impacting lives all around the world whether it is in something small or something big.
We went to the Maternity Unit where we interacted with both post and antenatal mothers and mingled with the nurses. We placed balloons in the corridor and lobby areas and this certainly made both sections welcoming and jolly. Before leaving the Maternity Unit, we left the nurses full of material blessings for the patients with toys, clothing and cosmetics.
The group then split into two with one set visiting the Women’s Ward to distribute pillows and blankets and the other going to Paediatric Ward where clothing and toys were distributed to the children.
The Paediatric Ward was the most solemn. There we met children who were unable to do anything for themselves as well as those in the Intensive Care Unit. Upon seeing their situation, we moved to pray with them, having received approval from the nurses and parents. Of course, we interacted with the children who were able-bodied and the distributed toys certainly turned their frowns into smiles. That was the highlight of the day.
It is always great to bring joy into the hearts of people. The patients in all the units showed a sense of appreciation for our visit which proved that we were fruitful and overflowing.
I believe that this experience was a desire of those of us who visited the Hospital as we got to meet one to one, expressing God’s love through the service of the Girls’ Brigade.
Is an among you afflicted? Let Him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms. James 5:13
My name is Aruk O Omori (Mrs), a Nigerian from Calabar in Cross River State. I’m married with 3 children. My key skills are strong work ethics, team building and supervision, effective use of social media for communication and work advancement. I’m a team player, dedicated, loyal and committed to working with existing facilities and personnel towards the attainment of organisational goals.
I’m currently the Principal of Government Secondary School, Akpabuyo Local Government Area in Cross River State, Nigeria; the Vice-Chairman of All Confederation of Principals of Secondary Schools (ANCOPSS) in Cross River State and Chairman of the same professional body in Akpabuyo Local Government Area in Cross River State, Nigeria; and a member of the Nigerian Union of Teachers.
I’m an Alumnus of the University of Calabar and I hold a Bachelor’s Degree (B.Ed) in Adult Education/Religion and a Master’s Degree (M.Ed) in Community Development.
I’m a committed Christian woman with a passion to improve, preserve and strengthen the vision and integrity of the Girls’ Brigade on behalf of the Girls’ Brigade International Council. I’ve been involved in the education of children, youth and women for over a decade; a member of the Christian Women’s Guild (CWG) of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria; and a mother/mentor of Christian Girls In Training (CGIT).
I’ve held the position of Company Captain (GBN, 13th Calabar Company), State Secretary (GBN, Cross River State Council), Assistant National Secretary (GBN, National Council), and Zonal Ex-Officio (GBN, Zone 5).
I’ve been involved in the planning and execution of Annual General Meetings (AGM) and also at girls and officers’ retraining camps etc.
In my new role as African Fellowship President, I hope to, among other commitments, set key strategic direction for the growth and development of the ministry of The Girls’ Brigade in Africa. I hope to stimulate National Councils within Africa to engage with key issues facing the Church and Christian ministry in their environment. Finally, I hope to accomplish the continuous unification of the Girls’ Brigade family in Africa and beyond.
I first joined the St. Johns Kirk Girls’ Guildry Company in Garden section when I was 8 years old and remember learning the laws and motto, Wise Unto That Which is Good. We did Bible study, drilling, playing games, and learning about the Girls’ Guildry. I went up the rank to Greenwood on to Guildry Girl. I can remember on 10 June 1968 attending the service to mark the merger of the three groups that made up Girls’ Brigade at the inaugural service held at Torrington Dis. Of Christ Church. My first Guardian was Mrs Thomas who kindled my enthusiasm for the work and that enthusiasm has continued even to this day.
In 1981 I started the 6th Kingston Company at the St. Andrew’s Scots Kirk United Church of which I served as the Captain for 36 years.
Girls’ Guildry teaching gave me a firm foundation for, and an opportunity to, share my faith and to be trained in leadership. I’ve learned so many things during training sessions, but above all I thank God for His faithfulness, giving me health, strength, ability, and enthusiasm to share His love with young people for so many years and that so many have committed their lives to serve our Lord.
In 1984 I served as adjutant for many years for my District and then as commandant for 4 years during this time I became deeply involved in new officer training at District level – a challenge I enjoyed. When I was elected to the position of divisional commissioner in 2004 it brought a whole new dimension to my Girls’ Brigade work – attending more meetings and visiting the company meetings, the girls and their officers. I’ve also held several national GB roles.
In addition to Girls’ Brigade work I’m Co-Founder and Artistic director to the Jamaica Youth Theatre, a group of young thespians who have entertained and delighted audiences of all ages, at home and abroad, for the better part of 10 years; I’m also Chairperson of Secondary School’s Drama Festival and the Caribbean Secondary School’s Drama Festival.
I also run a local theatre costume design and rental shop. I’m one of Jamaica’s leading collectors of period costumes and theatre props. I’ve served as costume designer for several of Jamaica’s national events, film and theatre productions such as Marcus Garvey, Don’t Look For Me In The World Wind, and The Ity and Fancy Cat show to name a few.
I’m an active member in my church where I serve as Technical Consultant, Chairperson Fundraising and member of the Property Committee.
I was awarded 2nd place for Kingston for Nation Building through Voluntary Service, For Council of Voluntary Social Services (CVSS), and, in 2017, The Government of Jamaica Badges of Honour for meritorious service BH(M) for Voluntary and numerous contributions to Girls’ Brigade in Jamaica.
I’m really looking forward to this new post. Your prayers and support would be appreciated during this time so that God will help me to carry out my duties.
As to the future of Girls’ Brigade – I believe it’s as strong now as ever and will survive for a long time as long as we have offices for the vine year, for me I can think of no better way to serve the master and I pray that I will enjoy with good health to continue for a few more years.
Finally, I must close with some verses from the scriptures;
1 Chronicles 28:20
Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it. Fear not, be not dismayed; for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished (RSVCE).
On 10 June 1968 the Girls’ Brigade as we know it today was born. Of course, its roots go way back to 1883 when Margaret Lyttle first had her vision that led to the foundation of The Girls’ Brigade of Ireland. As we hold our International Day of Prayer this year, we celebrate 125 years of FRUITFUL & OVERFLOWING ministry, and we ask you to focus your prayers on three things:
Remember the past: Give thanks for Margaret Lyttle and other faithful pioneers who started GB in different parts of the world
Celebrate the present: Pray that all the girls and young women who are part of our GB family today will be blessed through their contact with us
Commend the future into God’s hands: Ask that we may continue to hold fast to our values and foundations whilst adapting our methods and mission as we continue, with God’s help, to bring hope to future generations of young women
10 June falls on a Sunday this year so as well as bringing your own prayers, why not ask your churches to support us with their prayers in this our 125th celebratory year!
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