A monthly column on purpose, passion and power in Jesus.
This week I witnessed a dream being born.
The young woman standing in front of this audience is Meghan Els.
She’s my sister, my co-worker in the ministry, my protégé and hands down one of my closest friends.
Perhaps some of the most special moments are when she says to me, “I was praying for you”.
Having her is like having a fellow sister-soldier marching, fighting and building right alongside me.
This is just a brief description of what we are to each other.
A friendship is born
I met Meghan four years ago at the fellowship we both attended.
The first time we met, she was fifteen.
I was amazed at how mature she was. And told her so.
“I’ve had to be,” she answered.
She went on to share a little of her story with me — I then understood why she’d had to grow up so fast.
She candidly told me, “I used to be SUCH a horrible person!”
When I asked her what’d changed, she said she’d come to know Jesus.
She went on to tell me that the ministry she’d been receiving at our fellowship did much to transform her from the “terrible” person she’d been into the remarkable young woman who now sat in front of me.
I knew then, that we would have a very special friendship.
At the time, she was a kid in high school — I was a grown mom of two — however I knew in my heart that this was no chance meeting. God had brought the two of us together for a reason.
Even though she was only fifteen then, I admired her. And quietly hoped that my own daughter would grow up to be that strong, that resolute and that utterly surrendered to God.
Purpose in the bond
Our friendship steadily grew and in Meghan’s matric year I began to see the purpose of our friendship take greater form — it transcended to a whole new level.
Meghan shared with me her passion and heart for young women of her generation.
So vibrant was her desire to partner with God in this that we recorded some of what she’d felt Him place on her heart for my TV Show Dream BIG.
For years I’d wanted to start something that would minister to young women Meghan’s age, but I hadn’t known how or where to start.
I also knew I wasn’t the right person to spear-head the project.
It had to be a young woman who understood the world of her peers, loved God and believed in His blueprint for their lives.
Even though I wasn’t sure how this outreach program would work, I named it anyway: Gorgeous Nation.
Wherever I looked I saw young women in desperate need of finding their identity in Christ. Not in peer pressure, glossy magazines or MTV — but in Jesus.
I soon discovered that was precisely Meghan’s heart too.
This year, I finally had the guts to ask her if she’d take on Gorgeous Nation as her baby. She didn’t hesitate to accept.
However, she told me that she felt God calling her not only to minister to young women but to all young people.
Watch the interview with Meghan Els on Dream BIG below:
Taking Gorgeous Nation to schools
Meghan wanted to go into schools and share God’s love, her personal experiences, challenges and some very harsh realities she’d fought through.
There are plenty layers to Meghan’s story.
Among them how she was bullied terribly in school, and eventually retaliated by becoming a bully herself.
Meghan says, at first she bullied others to protect herself, but then it turned into something that frightened her because she begun to enjoy the sense of power bullying brought her.
But then she let Jesus in and as He ministered to her she found real strength and protection in Him.
“When I realised how destructive my bullying had been,” Meghan says, “I took the time to call everyone I could reach who I’d hurt. And apologised for what I’d done.”
I’ve long believed that the answers we seek, even for the seemingly impossible situations in our schools, lie in Jesus. Meghan shares this conviction.
As a mom with kids at school going-age, I know first-hand how rampant bullying is.
I’ve seen friends pull their kids out of schools because of incessant bullying — to see a young person with the courage to share her own journey through this, and shed light on both sides of the bully story is profound.
For a while Meghan had been contacting schools, offering to speak there to inspire and motivate learners.
She finally got her breakthrough last week at Horizon View Primary in Roodepoort.
I was with her when she met the school’s Principal.
Together, we shared our vision for Gorgeous Nation.
As soon as Meghan opened her mouth to speak, the Principal told us she was so excited she felt like calling assembly right then so Meghan could address the school!
This week, on Monday morning, hundreds of learners from Horizon View Primary sat to listen to Meghan.
As the learners were preparing for exam time, the Principal had asked Meghan to speak around the importance of learning and striving for greater results.
As Meghan stood in front of those wonderful young minds, I marvelled; aware that none of her audience fully understood what she’d had to fight and work through to finally be standing in front of them.
As I’m watching Meghan chase her dreams, wholeheartedly; it inspires me to continue reaching for my own.
Catch them young
Meghan has always believed that if children are strongly rooted in God’s Word and have a true experience with Jesus, they wouldn’t battle (as many do) when they reach those critical adolescent years.
Even before she launched out to reach out to her own peers, Meghan had been madly in love with Children’s Ministry.
She’s currently working on a Bible Book for kids called Victors of the Bible.
Meghan believes that if children identify, admire and look up to victors in the Bible — more than they do worldly superheroes — they will mould their identity in Jesus and not on ungodly pressures.
It’s in this gifting for Children’s Ministry that Meghan has had the most profound impact on our family.
Even though she’s so young she’s taught me SO much about ministering to my children. Praying with them, drawing them into worship with me…
Meghan’s influence on my kids has been profound.
As a mom, I often wonder: Outside of our efforts as parents, who will fight for our kids?
Wherever we turn there seems to be a raging war for our children.
But then, I come across rare treasures like Meghan and I’m reminded that God is not silent in this war. He’s raised spiritual warriors, like Meghan Els, who’ve committed themselves to fighting the good fight of faith.
So there she is, my Megghie as I call her, spreading her wings, soaring for Jesus — and inspiring other young people to fly with her.
You can find ‘Gorgeous Nation’ on Facebook.