Posted in Outreach

Playing “Small”

For some years, I suffered a lot of self-doubt. The interesting thing is I had no idea this was happening. I thought I was being humble, not wanting to show-off and stuff like that. I had no idea that I was slowly slipping into a state of mind that would affect me adversely in all ramifications, including my relationships.

There are several examples of this happening which I didn’t realise, including my refusal to voice my opinions on topics in meetings or elsewhere because of my presumption that most of my views on such topics were foolish or mundane. Then, a colleague would stand up and say something less intelligent with so much confidence to the applause of others. At that point, I would cringe and tell myself: ‘Hey, you have more intelligent points!’ Even then, my mouth would remain sealed because of what I thought was being humble.

Or is it the numerous times I’d be called to speak publicly and I’ll stylishly decline just because I wasn’t sure I was good enough to talk on any matter at all? The times I managed to honour such invitations, the next couple of days after the talk would have me wondering if I imparted any wisdom to my audience, doubting myself and finally concluding that I wasn’t that good enough. And if I or anyone pointed out a mistake I made, I’ll beat myself up so bad and just go back to my shell.

The root of the issue, I guess, is that I’m sort of a perfectionist. So, until I feel something is perfect, I’m never confident/proud enough of it to put it out there. This is also a problem because I rarely feel anything is perfect so… One of my friends had (still does have) such confidence that just amazes me. It’s one thing I admire about her. All she needs to do is have an idea on how to do something and the next thing she does is add it to her portfolio! I’ve watched her over the years grow excellently in things she learnt from the scratch. I’ve also seen through her life how confidence gets one to places that skill overshadowed by timidity wouldn’t get one to.

The key thing is: be confident in yourself and your abilities. Don’t downplay yourself for anything or anyone and never look down on yourself. Own who you are, especially when you are on the right path of positivity and greatness, own it with your chest. Be proud of who you are and what you’ve achieved so far. In today’s world, people who showcase themselves and their talents actually excel, make great progress and often, have the best connections. Whatever your profession – an artist, scientist, scribbler, designer, decorator… own your craft, even if you are at the start of your journey. Have you been graced with intelligence? be proud of it. You don’t have to shrink yourself to feel accepted. If God has made you stand out in whatever way, be proud of it and loud it, or at the very least accept it when it’s been louded. Please, don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a call to be arrogant or boastful, understand the difference and know where and when to draw the line.

So, this is me – Faeren – an author, medical doctor, stunner, teens’ advocate, writer and a lady crazy about God. I’m an administrator sometimes. Oh, and I also love a good chit-chat.

Who are you? Feel free to write it in the comments.

“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

Matthew 5:14-16

Posted in Outreach

Put In The Work

One cool evening, my niece (yes, that one that refers to me as an unreal aunty) calls to tell me about a spelling bee that she’d love to participate in. She goes on to tell me about the juicy monetary prize for the winner including a scholarship. I have my doubts about it though, but we have to be supportive, right? So, I let my niece engage me and we start the application process. 

“Spell pronunciation,” I suddenly say, five minutes into the application.

“Aunty Fafa, wait I need to write it down first. I don’t know how to spell without writing it first,” she retorts.

Ahhhh and she wants to do spelling bee? Okay. I give her time, still being ever supportive. She spells it as Pronounciation. I educate her on the “pronounce” and “pronunciation” spelling difference (hehe, did I educate you too?). Moving on, I tell her to spell encyclopaedia and she goes, “O boy eeee, that one pass my power o.” I can’t even hold it in anymore, I burst into laughter, all the support system in me has finished. Anyways, she tells me to spell it for her and a couple other words which I do while educating her on American and British spelling differences – proud aunty moments. 

After five more words, I know I have to get honest with my niece. Honesty is also a way of being supportive, right? I tell her, “You don’t prepare for an exam on the day of the exam and expect that you’ll perform excellently.” (Oh please, don’t even go rambling about those people who do such, their success story is short-lived, trust me). No one prepares for battle on the battlefield…

A lot of us like my niece think like this often. You see someone who has bagged a record and you go “God when?” (It’s not bad o, I mean I do too, but I’m going somewhere, stick with me). If you’re close to said person, you even go on to ask for secrets to success. Often, we feel like there’s magic to it. I dare say most times when we ask, we aren’t really interested in walking the walk or working the work – we’re expecting a one-off remedy not knowing it’s a life-long walk of commitment. You ask the secret to someone’s success, they tell you cliches like hard work, diligence, prayer, consistency, failing and standing etc, but you forget to ask, “for how long should this last,” “how many times a day, a week, a month, a year or your entire life?” You get vexed when it doesn’t work for you. Reminds me of the lady who was prescribed an inhaler by Dr. House and was upset that it didn’t relieve her of her attacks when all the while she was using it as a neck spray. #Idigress

Like I told my niece that day, “Those that are going to win this spelling bee started preparing long before this advert came out. There’s gonna be another spelling bee next year, so if you want to win, start preparing now. Practice words now, learn to spell without needing to write it out first. Put in the work!” Enough of lusting over the prize and thinking the Heavens are against you when you haven’t put in the required work. Spend good time in your preparatory phase and you won’t need to be “God whening”  or asking secrets to success because you know what it is – a life long commitment – Yes, I said it finally, that’s the secret – intentional preparation for as long as you breathe!!!

“Seest thou a man diligent in his work? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” – Proverbs 22:29

Posted in Outreach

Becoming a Bookaholic… Again!

It’s been a year and more since I first posted about my journey on adopting reading as a hobby (view previous posts). I must say with pride and a little bit of ignominy that the journey saw me through the first half of 2019 alone and no more #face covered# Even when I had passed set deadlines, I kept on telling myself, “I can do this.” By December, I was still telling myself, “I can finish six books in one month” (remember, the target was one book a month) – who was I even kidding?

The year ended with me having read only six books and a quarter (considering Michelle Obama’s Becoming which I started but haven’t finished reading till this day). Honestly, I felt like a failure: I had failed you (my accountability partner) and myself. This was supposed to be a step-by-step guide to successfully becoming a bookaholic, and now I couldn’t even eat off the content I had been preaching?

The first three months in 2020 rolled by with me still wondering how exactly to bounce back. I thought to put up a post a couple of times, but what will I even say? “Alright guys, I couldn’t stick to my rules, reading isn’t for everyone”? Naaa! I couldn’t even bring myself to post on anything else because I knew I had unfinished business lurking. At the end of March though, I saw an ad by a group I follow “Missions Today” calling on people to join a reading challenge. The challenge was to read a book a week and discuss it on a scheduled date. It sounded unachievable since I couldn’t even succeed at reading a book in a month last year. However, I thought to give it a go and try this reading thing again. The idea was to see if things would be any different and yes, they sure are!

For the month of April, I did successfully read four books, and here’s what I’ve learned so far:20200516_145822_0000

  • “If at first you don’t succeed, dust yourself off, and try again”: This line from Aaliyah’s song, ‘Try again’ says it all. A Chinese proverb captures it too: Failure is not falling down but refusing to get up. So, the key thing is to learn from one’s mistakes, re-strategise, then launch. One of the mistakes I made last year with regards to my reading project was feeling I was ready to take on bulky books just because they were trending, and I wanted to feel scholarly – now I know better!
  • By all means possible, have a reading partner or belong to a reading club: Thank you “Missions Today” for the opportunity. If you are like me who does not like to disappoint people I am properly accountable to, you’ll find yourself eager to beat targets and have yourself ready by the deadline/the discussion date.
  • Go for books that you can read in a day or two (no more): Now, this does not mean you should not read other books. It’s just that this can, and should be your foundation. It is a confidence booster as it can make you feel like you’re making so much progress (which you actually are). It doesn’t give you the opportunity to feel bored sticking to one thing and gives you the feel-good sensation of an achiever.
  • TAKE ON BOOKS YOUR SIZE ooo: This is somewhat related to the point above. Baby steps are still steps my dear. The most important thing is that you are moving, you aren’t stagnant, you are learning; be it from a ten paged book (yes, I’ve seen a book that size) or a 1000 paged dictionary. However, stay true to yourself, know when you can handle more pages, and go for it.
  • Record your journey: Have a journal/jotter to write things down. It could be quotes or just things that stood out to you. In any case, this helps your recap session, especially if you have to present the book to someone or a group. Also, you can pick your journal in future and recollect what the book was about.

It is never an easy journey to complete all one sets out to do but if you set your heart to it, you can do it. Especially if you follow rules that can make the road less tiresome. Have you had any challenges with reading or any other life issue that you think you want to share? Drop a comment and please hit me up. Plus, if you would like to be accountable to someone on a reading journey, also let me know.

AT4G 5

With ❤️ – A Teen for God!

 

Posted in Outreach

MY EFFORTS IN MAKING MY LIFE, FAMILY AND SOCIETY BETTER IN SPITE OF LIFE’S CHALLENGES

An entry by Teghtegh Mlumun Gladys – Winner Project ACTS 2019.

I always give thanks to God anytime I reflect over the story of my life. As the last child of my family, one would expect that things would be easy for me, but that has not been my experience at all. My father retired before I was born and my mother took up her teaching appointment when I was three years old. With four children all of school age, the family income was stretched thin to cater for our needs. We have made it through every day by the absolute grace of God. We all attended schools within our family income; we didn’t get the luxury of selecting our choice of schools.

To support my mothers’ income, we bake and sell snacks, locally called buns. We sell soya bean milk which we prepare ourselves as well. In my own little way, I contribute by helping in the preparation process: I package and arrange the snacks which my mother sells at her work place on week days. I also take these goods to building and construction sites on weekends for sale, in this manner I contribute to my personal and family development.

Furthermore, I participate actively in my church and also play leading roles in our student fellowship in school. God is the key source of my preservation and motivation. Growing up in an era of different social media platforms and social awareness is not easy, but He always provides guidance. I do my best to be a devoted and dedicated student at school. Hard work and perseverance have rewarded me good scores in tests and examinations, to the glory of God. I am usually found among the top three students of my class. I also try by my actions to be a role model to other young children and teenagers around me, to live by the example of Christ and to be a blessing to my family and society.

In addition to these, I visit orphanage homes when I can, especially ‘Mama Abayol’s Orphanage Home’ as it is close to my house. This is spare-headed by a society I joined in my church. I feel happy visiting these children because, unlike me they don’t have a family to love them, send them to school, and care for them. During my visits, I don’t come along with food stuffs, cloths or books (as I am not buoyant enough to afford them), but, I help fetch water, wash clothes, sweep, play with the children and assist with other chores if they are available. Apart from visiting orphans, I also visit sick patients in the hospital, I preach to them, encouraging them to never give up and be steadfast in their faith. Minute as they may seem, the orphanage and hospital visitations are my greatest achievements, they give me great joy. I am able to use the energy God has given me to put smiles on the faces of others, to give out of nothing.

In conclusion, I may not have millions of dollars, I may not be able to assist the needy financially or materially but I will not stop contributing spiritually, helping with my strength and words in orphanage homes and hospitals. So help me God.

Teghtegh Mlumun Gladys is a 17 year old student of Government Girls College, Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. She is currently in grade 12 and wishes to become a doctor in future. Mlumun hopes to visit other orphanages apart from the aforementioned and have a chance to help them materially also.


Project ACTS (Assist Children To School) was borne out of a need to meet the academic aspect of A-T-4-G Initiative by lending a helping hand to those in need.

Posted in Uncategorized

Chronicles of a Bookaholic Wannabe (Part 2)

At the beginning of the second quarter of the year, I had planned to read, Michelle Obama’s “Becoming,” T.D Jakes’ “The Lady, Her Lover and Her Lord,” and Trevor Noah’s “Born a crime.” They ended up as wishes and goals which I hope to still achieve as time goes by. As you can as well guess, I read none. Started with “Becoming,” the first month passed by, hadn’t finished reading it but I was determined to get this book ticked off my list so I let it spill into the second month, still not finished – not even half-way. Determined to get it done with and somehow hopeful that I could crash read two other books (remember how much of a slow reader I am), I let it spill into the third month. Good news is, I’m still not done with the book, a little past mid-way.

There’s something about setting deadlines and making yourself accountable. It gives you a sense of responsibility and discipline. With exams lurking, 3-books-a-month resolution ticking, involvements in A-T-4-G project ACTS (see last post to catch-up), I knew it was time to do the needful – push those wishes aside and go for my reality:

1.) I changed my initial books of choice, so as to beat the deadline. From the aforementioned books to Karen Kingsbury’s “Once upon a campus,” Myles Munroe’s “The Power of Praise and Worship,” Karen Kingsbury’s “Divine” and Adzege Faeren’s “A Teen for God” (don’t even give me that look).

2.) I didn’t let the size of the newly found books make me feel like I had under-achieved. From a 186 paged book to a 20 paged book, the most important thing was that I was keeping to my resolutions.

3.) Rest if you must but don’t quit. The key is to keep moving. Remember, baby steps. A snail may be slow but not stagnant.

I must reiterate:

4.) Have an accountability partner. The thought that I had to give a report at the end of the quarter made me all the more dedicated.

5.) Take on books your size. Need I say more?

P.S:

I am all the more determined to finish reading “Becoming” this month, with the hope of reading other books in August and September. Have I made a list of the other books I’ll like to read? No, no need – let the months unfold.

For those who haven’t read the blog post on “Chronicles of a Bookaholic – Part 1”, you may wish to refer to the second post before this to catch-up. Well, I can only hope that when I put up part 3, a lot would have been achieved. Do wish me luck and while you are at it, make every second count!

Posted in Outreach

Project ACTS!

A Teen for God (A-T-4-G) presents Project “ACTS” 2019 (“Assist a Child To School” – a scheme aimed at lending a helping hand to those in need).

All interested candidates are to write and submit an essay on the topic, “MY EFFORTS IN MAKING MY LIFE, FAMILY AND SOCIETY BETTER IN SPITE OF LIFE’S CHALLENGES.”

Submission Deadline – 11th July, 2019

Early submission – 4th July, 2019

Late submission – 11th July, 2019

(additional points for early submissions)

Shortlist to be announced – 18th July, 2019

Winner to be announced – 25th July, 2019

Winner’s prize: One-year scholarship for 2019/2020 academic session

 

PARTICIPATION ELIGIBILITY

-Must be between the ages of 11 and 18

-Must be attending a state government or community secondary school in Benue state or the FCT, Nigeria

-Can be any student from JS1 to SS2

 

HOW TO SUBMIT

Hard copy – to representatives of A-T-4-G in your region.

Soft copy – send an email to ateenforgod@gmail.com with a Microsoft Word format of the essay.

 

SPECIFIC GUIDELINES

  • Entrants should submit only ONE essay (maximum limit – 2000 words).
  • The essay MUST be about real-life situations i.e. not false or plagiarised.
  • When writing the essay:
  • The heading should read, “Project ACTS 2019”
  • Personal details MUST be included before starting the essay: FULL NAME, YEAR OF BIRTH, MOTHER’S OCCUPATION, FATHER’S OCCUPATION, POSITION IN THE FAMILY (e.g. 2nd of 5), RESIDENT CITY, CONTACT ADDRESS, CONTACT PHONE NUMBER, E-MAIL ADDRESS (if any), NAME & LOCATION OF SCHOOL, arranged in this order.
  • The title of your work should read, “My efforts in making my life, family and society better in spite of life’s challenges.”
  • The body of the text should be well paragraphed.
  • Marking scheme – content, grammar, spelling & punctuation, adherence to rules and early submission (50 marks).
  • Shortlisted candidates WILLbe required to present proof of eligibility.
  • JUDGES’ DECISIONS ARE FINAL AND NOT OPEN TO DEBATE.

For questions/more details, contact us via:

Telephone – +2348059583093 +2347068479354, +79064655239

E-mail – ateenforgod@gmail.com

ENTRY FEE: FREE!

A Teen for God is an organization interested in reaching out to teenagers spiritually, emotionally, academically (career wise), mentally and socially. Project ACTS seeks to realise an aspect of this. Calling on everyone who needs this opportunity (and meets the criteria) to take part. Feel free to share with loved ones who need the opportunity as well.

With a little more love, care, support and encouragement, our world will sure be a better place – because, investing in today’s teens (youths) will make a beautiful and purpose-filled generation.

flyer4flyer online

Posted in Uncategorized

Chronicles of a Bookaholic Wannabe! (Part 1)

Reading books was never really my hobby. I despised them and, on some days, I still do. Why? I get bored real quick. I prefer chit-chats and just anything more active and noisier.

With time, I began to see that my participation in the chit-chats was quite basic, no exposure, no weight – like I was in 1917 and my counterparts were already in 3017. There was this yearn to be exposed too, to sound sophisticated, to use words like ‘rondavel’, ‘librocubicularist’, ‘haiku’, ‘comeuppance’ and more, in my speech and also have people marvel (call me vain but you know this feeling too). I knew that there were things my colleagues were doing (to be this exposed) that I wasn’t doing. One thing I knew, they watched movies and READ BOOKS! Sadly, I did none of these – so I had little or nothing intelligent to contribute to discussions on ‘Animal Farm’, ‘Things Fall Apart’, ‘Harry Porter’, world wars (history) and lots more.

Prior to this time, I had heard a lot about the benefits of reading, how life’s greatest secrets were hidden in books, yada yada yada. Then, at some point, I found the urge to be far more, to know more, to learn more – outside the scope of medicine. I kept working towards it and by the end of 2018, decided to take the urge from a feeling to reality. So, I came up with a plan to work on my non-existent reading life:

I defined my genre of books. This happened unconsciously, to be honest. I realised I am more inclined (but not limited) to biographies, memoirs and Christian books – non-fiction basically. I discovered that I would read these books and not get bored. Thus, I found out that reading and books were not the culprit for boredom but the choice of books I chose to read.

I set very realistic goals (one book a month – start date January 2019). To ensure I do not do the ‘New Year resolution and drop’ thing, I have been active on achieving this. I’ve read three books so far: Mark Lukach’s ‘My Lovely Wife In the Psych Ward’, Myles Munroe’s ‘Waiting and Dating’ and Karen Kingsbury’s ‘When We Were Young’. #proud smile#

I gave myself a deadline for each page, section, chapter – this gave me a sense of responsibility, discipline and hunger to bit the deadline. This also helped me not to get bored when I felt the chapter was too long. I would read one section of the chapter per sitting, take a break, refresh and resume (snail steps but better a snail to no snail at all, right?)

I took on books my size – and cheated a bit to meet my deadline! I planned to read Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ in February, gave myself a plan – one chapter per day for 24 days. Mid-February and I still had not started reading the over 900 paged book. Eventually started reading the book 10 days to February’s end – couldn’t get past the first chapter – I began to feel overwhelmed, like I was being defeated. Well, I closed the book, took Myles Munroe’s 160 paged ‘Waiting and Dating’ so I could successfully tick off my second book for the year. I finished the book in five days. #another proud smile#

I got myself an accountability partner: by writing this post, sharing it and letting the whole world read it, that is. This automatically means I should be back with an update on the three books I’ve read at the end of the next quarter of 2019 – hmmm.

P.S:
This isn’t a gold standard for anyone (at least not yet), but it has worked for me so far.

Reading Michelle Obama’s Becoming has been scheduled for later this year.

I read two books in 2018 (Max Lucado’s “A love worth giving” and Paul Kalanithi’s “When breath becomes air”), the goal for 2019 is to read AT LEAST 12 books.

I hope this encourages someone to embrace reading!

Love,
A-T-4-G!

Posted in Uncategorized

You’ll Do Just Fine!

Two months into 2019 and it may seem like you jump-started the year, like you need a restart or something more pacifying. We try to be hopeful that the next month will be better – I mean, January and February were a recovery phase from Christmas, new year, even Valentine’s day and all celebrations. If you’re like me, you’ll most likely be having a panic attack by now – you probably haven’t saved as you planned, haven’t been able to keep to resolutions or work on your character as you hoped, your year/future is still not mapped out and all your thoughts keep bugging you.

I’ve had this friend who would always tell me, “you’ll do just fine. I believe you’ll do just fine.” I used to be very, very, upset at this statement. I mean, after what seemed to me as days (ok I exagerate, but you get the point) of me complaining, sulking, being devastated, pouring my whole heart out, all you have to tell me is the now cliché, “you’ll do just fine”? Thanks for nothing friend. It would have been better to talk to a wall sef… Sigh!

After the phase I complain about seems to have passed, I analyze and realise that I actually did just fine. It’s like the Heavens aligned in my favour (but I just wasn’t aware). Everything passes and I survive it with smiles, accomplishments, fulfilment. The statement begins to make more sense to me, it’s now more soothing than a pain.

Unapologetically, having found a deeper, meaning to the statement, I’ve come to be that annoying friend today who’ll go cliché on you. You may not see the full picture yet, you may not have saved as much as you hoped, or worked on your resolutions/character as you would have loved to. You may not have your year/future mapped out as precisely as you want, or even none of all these, but, “You’ll be fine. I believe you’ll do just fine.”

“It’s okay to be confused, it’s okay to not have it all together at once, it’s okay. This is life, not a math problem with straight forward answers.”

So, enjoy the rest of the year knowing that “YOU WILL DO JUST FINE!”

With love,

#A-T-4-G#

Posted in Uncategorized

Carrying over Crosses.

New Year’s eve had me feeling all sorts of ways: underachieved as a result of twisted relationships, a whole lot of failed friendships I could swear my goodluck charm had been stolen, even being alone in a foreign land while my family celebrated in unison, happiness and good food, just made me feel… EMPTY.

As usual, there were a lot of “2019 this, 2019 that” stories flying around. For some reason, the last days of 2018 had almost everyone on my social media talking about cutting off (toxic) people or not entering the New Year with garbage, but I could not just relate. Felt like I was entering the New Year with so much garbage, unsettled issues, hence, my feelings of underachievement. Sigh!

I culled my inspiration from a friend who said, “you must not necessarily see them as garbage that you are crossing over with. Maybe it’s a process and you are taking conscious efforts and gradual decisions”

Her words were so soothing, I began to see the garbage differently – as lessons instead. It felt better, I felt better, relieved and at peace.

All the time, we get so fanatical with the whole “New Year, New Page” charade that we become depressed if/when it doesn’t feel like we’re starting a “Fresh Life” in a “Fresh Year”. I mean, what you’re going through could be a process that isn’t meant to finish on the last day of the old year, you probably may not have finished learning all there is to learn from that ‘garbage’.

So, please, before you kill yourself with the feeling that it’s a New Year with Old Year garbage, remember that your life is a process, not like your clock that just turned 31st December to 1st January in a split second. Most importantly, learn through the process and when it’s time for a fresh start (new phase), you’ll know.

A Happy New Year to you.

May 2019 be amazing.

With love, A-T-4-G!

Posted in Uncategorized

A TeeTan For God!

I wake up to mum’s beckon

Son, will you get down here quickly?

My life flashes with careless reckon

Even as I walk down briskly.

I forget to say a prayer,

My day starts anyway.

Errands to run, chores to fulfill

Assignments knocking on my door

A demanding world and all her ill

My life can’t be more sore.

I forget to say thank you,

To God who made life this way.

Ten years down the line or more

Catches me overwhelmed with life

Responsiblities pile, deadlines roar

Was I really born for all this strife?

I still forget to just be grateful,

I’m alive – that should be okay.

A Teetan for God is who I am, I dare say,

I’m not perfect, heck I don’t even pray everyday,

But in His eyes, I’m still worth dying for to save.

I may be stubborn, vile, sometimes gross

Stray a little while trying to carry my cross

But God loves me all the same and that’s what matters most!

A TeeTan For God (A-T-4-G) ministry is all about reaching out to teens and titans (youths) to make us bask in the joys that come with knowing God, serving Him and living in His purpose, using our gifts and talents to reach out to everyone. A little love, support, encouragement and our world will sure be a better place – because investing in today’s teens/youths will make a beautiful and purpose filled generation.