Angie Larson, Alexandria, MN

Warm-up Questions

  • Who do you know that went through a difficult time, but now uses the experience to help people?
  • Have you ever had a moment when your whole life changed? What was that moment like?

The Moment Your Life Changes

Nelly Chiboi grew up in Mogotio, Kenya in an impoverished village. “I know the pain of poverty,” says Cheboi, now 29.  “I never forgot what it was like with my stomach churning because of hunger at night.” Her mom ensured that despite their poverty Nelly received an education. Nelly worked hard in school and received a full scholarship to attend college. She graduated from the ELCA’s Augustana College in 2012.

Before attending school, Nellie hadn’t used computers, but in order to receive a math major she needed to take a required computer science class. In this class she fell in love with computer science and changed her major. Following graduation she began work in the software industry.  She noticed that when companies upgrade, they’d often throw away their old computers, which still have a lot of use in them. This was the moment her life changed. Nelly was shocked and decided to do something about it.

Nelly started refurbishing those computers and bringing them back to her home village. The work expanded and she began TechLit Africa, now supporting 10 schools, but with a goal to support 100. TechLit Africa is bringing computers to rural villages so children can begin to learn technology at an early age. Kids receive training and classes so they can work in the global technology market. Nelly used her education to educate others. 

Discussion Questions

  • What skill do you have that could benefit other people?
  • How do you feel about Nelly’s story?
  • Why is it important to share resources with those who could learn from them?

Third Sunday after Epiphany

Isaiah 9:1-4

1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Matthew 4:12-23

(Text links are to Oremus Bible Browser. Oremus Bible Browser is not affiliated with or supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. You can find the calendar of readings for Year A at Lectionary Readings.)

For lectionary humor and insight, check the weekly comic Agnus Day.

Gospel Reflection

Jesus calls his first disciples, Peter and Andrew. They are two fishermen, minding their own business, when Jesus invites them into something new. Jesus says, “Follow me and I’ll send you out to fish for people.” Peter and Andrew drop their nets and immediately head out. 

Next, Jesus invites James and John to catch his vision:  To make a difference in the world, to witness what God was doing, to go and share the good news of the kingdom, to expand the message of what God is doing through Jesus to others. Four fishermen to hundreds of followers. 

Peter, Andrew, James, and John could not fathom what God would do through them when they left their boats:  How the sick would be healed, the lame would walk, and those struggling with demons would be freed. How the mission would expand. Yet, somehow they felt compelled to follow Jesus. 

That’s what following Jesus does.  It leads us to unexpected places, doing unexpected things. Jesus heals our pain and uses our weaknesses with God’s grace. 

Discussion Questions

  • What metaphorical boats would you need to leave to follow Jesus?
  • When in your life have you had a moment where everything changed?
  • What did you learn from that moment?

Activity Suggestions

In American culture, kids and students are digital natives (persons who were born or brought up after computers and the internet became a part of daily life). Older generations are digital immigrants. Invite some seniors in your context to your group time together and teach them how to do a Tik Tok. Have them share what it’s been like living through a fast-changing technological culture. 

Closing Prayer

Blessed Savior, you take one moment and change our lives! You show up in the messiness of our lives to free us, to love us, to be with us. Thank you for inviting us to follow you. In your name we pray.  Amen.