Meet Yvette Ari and Modeste Nagbata, from our companion synod in the Central African Republic, the EEL-RCA. For the second time, our synod participated in the ELCA’s International Youth Companion Program. We sponsored these two young people to attend the Youth Gathering this summer in Detroit. Selected by the youth program of the EEL-RCA, they visited our synod for about ten days prior to the Gathering. In CAR, the youth program runs to age 30, so these two visitors were a bit older than participants compared to our youth programs. This may be because often youth there have gaps between their years in school for financial or other reasons, so they are older when they finish.
Yvette and Modeste both have university aspirations. Yvette previously benefited from the Young Women’s Scholarship Program of the Women for Christ (Lutheran women’s organization in CAR) to attend the technical school at Maigaro and high school in Bangui. While at Maigaro, she made one of the drawings, which was used at our Synod Assembly several years ago to help raise funds for CAR. She was scheduled to take the Baccalaureate exam required for college entrance upon her return to CAR this summer. Modeste Nagbata has already had some university studies and would like to continue in economics. He is president of the youth program at St. Timothy’s Lutheran Church in Bangui, where Yvette is the treasurer.
During their time in our synod, Yvette and Modeste were hosted by Christ the King in Houston, St. Martin’s in Sugar Land, St. Paul’s in Brenham, and St. Paul in Baton Rouge. Besides attending services, they were hosted at lunches and dinners, enjoyed Galveston, went along on meal delivery to shut-ins, visited the State Capital in Louisiana, met with a French club, enjoyed “Hot Nights and Cool Tunes” in downtown Brenham, and many more activities. On their way to the airport to fly to Detroit, when asked what surprised them most during their visit, they replied: the roads, the electricity, and the friendly, welcoming nature of the people they encountered.
In Detroit on synod day, Yvette and Modeste were together with 350 youth from our synod, as well as Bishop Rinehart. Modeste sent an email thanking the ELCA, our synod, and all who participated in making their visit possible. Here is a translation of what he said about the Youth Gathering:
“The Gathering was a great and marvelous experience for us in the United States, a blessing which will change our life. Next we are going to give a report of our trip to the congregation and to all the Lutheran youth in the Central African Republic.”
The synod CAR team thanks all who helped make their visit a success. We ask for continued financial support for the ministries of our companion church. In addition, we would also like to invite some young people to consider joining the CAR team. If interested, please contact the synod office.