Congratulations to the third cohort of Central Leadership Program fellows! You have finally crossed the finish line and you have become Beacons of Excellence. Today you are being sent on your way to transform this country and continent.

As the world awakens from the pandemic you have the unique opportunity to use your skills to help the nation recover and increase. The devastation that comes from a forest fire, tornado or hurricane is heart-wrenching, but it is always an opportunity to start afresh and create something better. My blessing for you today comes from Isaiah 61: 4

“They will rebuild the ancient ruins

and restore the places long devastated;

they will renew the ruined cities

that have been devastated for generations.”

You are the ones who will wear a crown of beauty instead of ashes, have the oil of joy instead of mourning, and wear a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair[1].

Many people have lost hope, but you have been prepared to lead the change necessary to turn around this country and continent.

If you believe what you now know then you must have a new perspective, speak a new language, and chart a new course. Your perspective should be confident in what we hope for and assurance about what we have not yet seen[2], your language must be bold, requesting for an opportunity to conquer the mountains[3] and your course must be of great works[4].

Do not second guess yourself and think for a moment that you may be too young. Samuel, Mary, Esther, David, and Daniel began their amazing journeys in their youth. Do not let anyone despise your youth may your mature conduct and excellent work open many doors for you[5]. You have been chosen, trained, and blessed. All that is required is for you to have faith, walk in the way of the Lord and do His bidding.

An unchartered path is difficult, but its rewards are innumerable. Along the way make friends with Elizabeths, Shadrachs, Meshachs, Abednegos, Jonathans and Mordecais who will bear you up in prayer, encourage you, challenge you and protect your interests. In times of uttermost difficulty and self-doubt go back to the hiding place of the Lord and He will refresh you.

As Beacons of Excellence set the world ablaze with your great light!

Shalom, Peace and Life to you.

[1] Isaiah 61:3

[2] Hebrews 11:1

[3] Joshua 14:12

[4] James 2:20

[5] 1Timothy 4: 12, Proverbs 22:29