“Leave the 99 and go out for the lost one,” Rev. Titus Luther quoted the story of Jesus in the New Testament Bible when he spoke in a parable to draw a lesson about the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son.
Rev. Luther, from Enga Province, in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea (PNG), spent more than 10 years in the country, as a missionary for his Christian faith, known as the Foursquare Gospel Church, located in Lunga, east Honiara.
He was proud to be a missionary, spreading the gospel to the people, but more importantly, to convert the lives of the rejected youth to become leaders in society.
Luther was pleased to meet up with the Sunday Star to share his story about the new vocational training center he introduces at the church compound in Lunga.
He says the purpose of the vocational training centre is to provide necessary basic skills the society needs to enhance development in our communities.
Luther says their goal is to provide rehabilitation - wholesome capacity building - for youth, whose lives were ruined by drug abuse, alcohol, domestic violence, poverty and stigmatisation to become important persons in the society again.
He says the Foursquare church was established way back in year 2006 and the City Mission Rehabilitation centre started in year 2009.
He explained that the newly introduced vocational centre is a complement of the existing rehabilitation centre, thus their criteria to take in students to undertake training does not require academic documents or experience, in order to be selected to do studies.
However, he says the Vocational Training Centre is for the rejected youths in the country, who were denied by the system, neglected by their families and communities.
He added those who never attend class one or those who left primary education with no ability to read and write, the training centre is for such people.
Rev. Luther went on to say many youth members today were abused by illicit drugs and the community totally rejected them and left no space for them to recover from their mental sense of being inferior and worthless.
He says that youth are the productive population age group of the country that can contribute positively to the economic development of any country including Solomon Islands.
He elaborates that the continuous negligence to rehabilitate youths who experience abuse will not help our community to breed a better place for our people rather will increase the number of jobless youths that will become liabilities to the society.
The PNG man argued that when continuous form of discrimination and negative perception of young people persist then nothing will succeed to reduce the growing population of youths in Solomon Islands, who fell into drug abuse or those left homeless and hopeless due to parent separation or parent deceased.
He said many vocational schools have already been established to address the skill training needs of those who drop out from schools, but City Mission Vocational Centre is targeting the youth group that are like social misfits and appear to be rejected by communities.
He also said they believe in shaping students in their vocational centre through skill training in their areas of studies as well as provide bible teachings, which will balance their physical lives and their spiritual lives.
The 50-year-old pastor says their mission is to “search for the lost sheep” that is out there in the wilderness, seeking the help of the church to bring them back into the happy family of God.
“So the centre is different in the sense that it targets the neglected youths to recover them from any form of abuse and provide them skills and good disciplinary teachings that will shape their lives to become good citizens in our community and Solomon Islands,” he remarked.
He concluded that the training centre will open its doors for those interested as it strives to fulfill its objectives to rehabilitate and instill the Godly teachings and values that will enable our young people to live an ethical life with principles.
City Mission Training Center is located at Foursquare Church compound in Lunga East Honiara and is currently manned by Rev. Luther, who had been spending more than 10 years now in the country.
And recently the school was registered by Ministry of Education, which Luther applauded and gave credit to the Solomon Government for their recognition of the school.
By AATAI JOHN