Abigail Okunlola is founder and director of United 4 Change, a Christian youth organisation which seeks to support orphans in developing countries, and encourage Christians to be part of the fight against poverty. United 4 Change currently runs a feeding programme for 150 children in Kigali slums in Kenya, and is planning to conduct a mission trip next year to increase their feeding programme to cater for 350 children. They also want to buy land and launch a scholarship programme. Abigail was nominated for a Wise Women Missions Award earlier this year.
What are the greatest struggles you experience as a young person, and how does your faith help you overcome them?
Feelings of inadequacy. Sometimes I’ll do something and think that was amazing, and then other times I’ll focus on everything that went wrong, and feelings of not being good enough creep in. What helps me to overcome is my faith. I constantly meditate on the fact that it’s not my qualifications or anything that I’ve done that qualifies me, it’s God! He would nevergive you something He didn’t trust you with, and that’s a big comfort. Also, the opposite of faith is fear, and I’ve ‘decided’ not to allow fear to be a dream killer in my life.
How does your faith inspire you to fulfil your ambitions?
My faith inspires me to fulfil my ambition because I literally want to see God’s love transform lives. Jesus was Someone that didn’t just ‘talk’ about helping the poor; He ‘moved’ with compassion. That’s literally how I want myself and other young people to be. There are people in really dark situations, and I want to be a light, because when light shows up, darkness ‘has’ to flee! A quote that inspires me is ‘Compassion without action is just emotion’. I want to be a woman of faith who acts rather than talks, because it’s actions that change lives.
In what ways do you think the Church can inspire young people to fulfil God’s purpose in their lives?
By really investing in the leadership development of young people. When a young person knows who they are, that’s powerful, and it enables them to use their gifts to bring about transformation. They can also connect with organisations like U4C, who run mission programmes. Missions is one the most transformational experiences anyone can go through. It transforms people on a personal level, and gives them a passion for justice, compassion and to ‘love is a verb’ on your neighbours, who are in desperate situations like never before.