Leadership Stories from Africa: Rebecca James | 4 Africa Skip to Content

Leadership Stories from Africa: Rebecca James

“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. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:15-16 (NIV)

All across the globe, back to school preparations look a little different this year. Some will learn virtually while others don masks in the classroom. Since schools in Uganda and South Sudan must remain closed for the time being, our students are doing some “experiential learning” as they put their leadership skills to the test at home.

Through our leadership program, which begins at the Leadership Academy of South Sudan (LASS) and continues through our student’s university years, we aim to foster a lifelong love for learning, leading and serving, in Jesus’ name. As agents of change, our students often return to their communities with a strong desire to make a positive, lasting impact.

Rebecca, who’s been in our leadership program for nearly 7 years now, is doing just that as she waits to return to school.

Seizing Opportunities to Glorify God

Rebecca did not expect her last year of university to go quite like this, but she has optimistically made the most of it. She is close to earning her degree in information and communication technology, but COVID-19 has set her back a few months.

Except that it hasn’t at all. When we reconnected with her, a huge smile spread across her face. Without blinking an eye, she repeated a quote she adopted from her time at LASS:

“When opportunity meets preparation, success is inevitable.”

She explained that even now as a university student, she is applying what she learned at the Academy:

“The COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown have caused a huge shift in all aspects of life – education, private sectors, and public sectors altogether. But I am applying what I learned from the discipleship classes I attended at LASS. They encouraged a balanced mental, social, and spiritual life for holistic growth.”

Many students so close to graduation might feel discouraged and let down. But not Rebecca. We asked her how she adapted so quickly with such a positive attitude. She told us that she simply looks for opportunities within her community to lead, engage, and help. If you really look, they’re not hard to find!

When Rebecca looked, she found an opportunity to positively influence young women through a radio talk show hosted on Sunday evenings. She’s passionate about helping young women, so she uses her leadership and communication skills to speak on relevant topics like early marriage, teen pregnancy, and sexual purity. She and her co-hosts provide a safe place for young women to speak out and ask questions. Rebecca explained,

“Participating in the youth radio talk show has helped me find purpose and meaning in life. I strive to see the life of these young women improve through exposure, connection, and open sharing.”
But her work doesn’t end there. Rebecca also creatively introduces the gospel to her community through worship music under the Archdeaconry of Koboko Community. Music has a way of bringing people together and inspiring them to learn more about Jesus. It’s a unifying and engaging approach to discipleship.

Public Speaker. Gospel Singer. And Entrepreneur!

Rebecca does it all. In an effort to feed her family and provide income, she and her sisters have begun a fun community pancake business! As you might imagine, the delicious smells drifting from their home each morning entice quite a crowd. Serving pancakes brings her family closer together while filling a need in their community. Plus, the breakfast business provides opportunities for her to share the love of Christ with others. A win-win, for sure!

Rebecca wears many hats, but she’s also one of the sweetest and most humble people we know:

“All that I am, I confidently attribute it to the values I acquired from LASS. In fact, had it not been for LASS, my future would be bleak as my mom struggles to make ends meet. As the expression goes, ‘education is what remains after school.’ That outstanding lesson holds true for me and keeps me going. When I was a care group mother for the Martha Care Group at LASS, I learned the impact of parental responsibility and leading an exemplary life.”

She concluded by stating her objective in life,

“My aspiration in life is to mentor young women to stand up, speak up, and to take action while above all loving Jesus Christ.” 
Way to go, Rebecca. We are so proud of you!! Thanks for sharing your leadership story.

Tired of negative news? Follow our blog for inspiring stories like Rebecca’s. Let’s follow her example and look for opportunities to shine the light of Christ.

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