Determined to Succeed was a two-day Christian students’ empowerment conference in the UK. Commencing on Saturday 2nd March 2013, with an address by Rev. Isaac Adigun the West Europe District Superintendent centered on Malachi 3:15-18, students were challenged to network with at least ten people in a short space of time! Facilitated by John Olaleye, a youth worker, students reported to have gained more information about PhDs, careers and even stations leaders were able to lobby for more international students to come to their locality!
Adebanji Alade, youth worker, empowered students on to think on plans for success. He began with a sketch of a guy who walked past the road to success. Students were asked to think about what success mean to them. Some responses included, following God’s purpose to you, destiny, realising and actualising your potential, fulfilment, determination, accomplishment, and a purpose driven life.
Olos Irenoa, youth leader, inspired the students to write a two and five year plan. Students shared ideas of where they wanted to be, ranging from getting married, to getting to the top of their careers. Olos admonised us that we can have all our plans but we need God to bring it to pass by giving our plans back to God. Daniel is a character that achieved his purpose despite the struggles. He had the God factor. Students need the God factor too! God knows our ultimate end; he put certain things in our path because he knows the ultimate destiny. He opens one thing at a time so we should excel in whatever he gives us to do; he knows where we will use it. Wherever God takes us we should ask what impact we are making on others.
Rev. Adebayo Adeniran, the District Superintendent of West, Eastern and Central Africa, gave his experience of being someone who loved planning the future. However, God had a better plan for him. His consulting skill had been effectively utilized in the church and not in a firm. He reassured the students that whatever the plan, God has the final destiny.
Esther Itang, a youth worker, spoke on being well educated and how students should make an impact on other people with the education God has given us. We should be able to impact our community with or without an education. “Catch the fire and people will walk miles to watch you.” – John Wesley. Education is information until you understand and will apply it. “You study economics and not able to manage a home – we should ask how we are applying the information we have learnt. Whatever we have learnt we should think practically, we should be able to apply it to everything we do in life” – Rev. Adebayo Adeniran.
She concluded that those who apply knowledge move the world. She ended with the quote by Dalai Lama “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
As the students progressed into the afternoon, Seun Ogunleye, assistant youth leader, facilitated a session on university challenges and improvements over the past year. Teju Akojege, a youth worker, learnt about time management and planning time. She improved on her time management and ensured she was effective in planning her day. Other responses included, building a relationship between students and lecturers, better financial management, better Christian studentship in university where they can share prayers and support, improved networking skills, better understanding on international opportunities, group working to stay motivated, and surrounding yourself with people who will help you improve in school.
Ruvimbo Gumbo, a student from Nottingham, commented on better study of the bible to get a distinction-study to show herself approved. She is now able to defend her faith, has a better personal relationship with God so that she can face the challenges ahead.
Brother Osmond Adiele, Niger-delta Development Commission, spoke about scholarships opportunities. He works for an agency which sponsors 500-600 potential students. He confirmed that whatever opportunity God gives to us, we should maximize it. You need to make the effort, have the desire and determination to progress academically. He gave other organizations that can give financial support. Shell was an example of a company that offers scholarships to students. Also NNPC give scholarships. They have an allocation not just to oil producing areas, but also to all other states. Other companies also include Total, Chevron, NBBC, PTFS, and Nigeria Communications Commission. You need to have a vision and work hard to achieve your vision. He encouraged us that the sky should be our limit.
A bible study session followed after on making choices titled “Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!” Ola Balogun, Associate Pastor, advised us that God knows the outcome of every decision we make. In conclusion the study looked at ‘who, what, where, when and why’ of decision making. During the review of the study some powerful contributions were given – a way to determine if you’re making the right decision is the peace that God gives you, the importance of choosing friends that pull you up not down, asking what value certain friends add to our life and we shouldn’t allow material things to rule our lives. Your survival is the function of your strategy and capacity. God has given us minds to use and we should use bible as a practical book and not a way of escape. Timing is important, what we are going to do we should have it defined, we should have it structured. 1 John 2:12-14
As young people, it is hard to make the right decision, but we need Gods grace to help us make the right decisions.
Babatope Makun, youth minister from Nigeria, led a prayer session which rounded the day. Falling on the altar, students rededicated their lives and plans to God.
Students spent Sunday getting spiritual nourishment and time of fellowship. We left there empowered to encapsulate our lives and plans into God’s will. Leaving there determined to succeed, following God and wit the support of other like-minded students, we pray for a successful year ahead, God willing.
“Personally, I have gained a lot. Gained about impact, about application of what I am studying in my course. The environment and sermon has helped me a lot, and will take a long way.” Student from Manchester.
“I learnt that I must apply effective application of my study” – Female Student
“Spiritually, I learnt to be the best I can be. Career wise, learning to balance everything and look at plans for the future. I also learnt to structure my day. ” Student from Nottingham.
“Success comes with handwork, prayer and depending on God.” – Student from North England