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June Update

Are you a facts and figures person? Do you want a bit more detail about our plans? Check out our June update below.

June 2017 Update

Read here…
Jon and Jude Witt returned to Zambia late June and are settling back in there. Priorities and plans have been set for the rest of the year and a busy couple of months with amazing volunteers taking on challenges to support the Dignity movement.


2017 07 Tobbias Walter Mombasa

See previous updates and get a picture of how our work has grown over the years on our new Facts & Figures page.

The headmen of Kundamfumu

So often we greet something new with suspicion. We’ve all done it; we are wary of what we do not know.

This is often the way for Impact Teams and Life Groups. When a team travels to a new area people are wary. They wonder who these outsiders are. When a Life Groups begins in a community, people question their motives and wonder if they will upset the status quo. People’s trust has to be won. This takes time.

In Zambian villages and communities the Chief and Headmen play a really important role. They hold the responsibility for decision making and steering the community forward. For obvious reasons it is important for Impact Teams to engage with the Chief and Headmen in any new areas they reach out to. We have seen this work easily and we have seen it be a real struggle.

We were delighted that a recent training event held in Kundamfumu had been attended by 3 village headmen. Not only had they come to hear what the Central East Impact Team had to say, they were excited by what they heard!

As a result the Headmen has pledged to encourage the village committees to be a part of the movement that is beginning in their area. This will greatly ease the way forward and open doors for the Impact Team and any Life Groups that begin. The headmen have also pledged to ask the Chief to call a meeting for all the Headmen in his Chiefdom so they can share what they have heard.

Please join us in thanking God for this amazing open door and for asking for his protection over this new beginning.

Fester’s Story

When you meet Festers you can’t help but be touched by his big smile and the twinkle in his eyes! A quiet, gentle man, he always greets you with that smile.

We first met him in July 2014 when he joined one of our schools of evangelism in Mpika, the “local” town…which, if my memory serves me well, is roughly 160km away from the village in which he lives. A friend had told him about the training event we were running and he decided it was worth making the journey. We’re glad he did!

Today he is an Impact Team leader, teaching others how to plant Life Groups and bring hope to their communities. This is his story.

We are so thankful to God for Festers and all he is doing. What a superstar!

Stand with Festers

If you are inspired by Festers’ story, why not stand with him and others like him in prayer?

We would love you, your small group or church to join us by signing up to pray for with us for a week. Simply book your week using the calendar and we will contact you soon.* Please start your week of prayer on a Monday.

(*By giving us your details you are agreeing to be added to our database and to receiving our updates. Please email us if you do not wish to be added to our database. A copy of our Data Protection Policy is available upon request.)


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C2C…Done!

Wow! What a weekend we had!

Thanks to our 6 cyclists, Keith, Rob, Paul, Stuart, Ste and Michael who gave it their all to cycle 140 miles from Whitehaven to Tynemouth. They took in the mighty climbs of Whinlatter, Hartside and Parkhead as well as finding their way through Penrith, Keswick, Gateshead and Tynemouth! Legends.

Thanks as well to everyone of you who sponsored them. Your generosity made their hard work worthwhile.

All that’s left now is to for us to put the money you have generously given to work bringing hope and transformation to many communities.

Here’s a little thank you video and some of our favourite photos!

Intelligence Manchester

You are invited to join us for Intelligence Manchester.

Book your place here or by emailing admin@dignityonline.org.uk. Places are free, however we would like those that can to consider making a £10 donation to the work of Dignity. This can be paid on entry.

Tea and Coffee will be provided. We are not able to provide lunch so please feel free to bring along a packed lunch or pop to the local shops during the lunch break.

Join the facebook event here.

Intelligence flyer June 2017 Manchester small-page-001

Summer Classics

For the fourth year running Robin Steven’s is kindly hosting his Summer Classic concert in support of Dignity. Join us for another lively and creative evening of music from some spectacular musicians and support Robin and Dignity!

Summer Classics Flyer A3 yellow

What we learnt in Katima Mulilo

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Last week we ran our Intelligence School of Rural Evangelism in Katima Mulilo, Namibia.

About 20 of us gathered together and at the end of the week we asked people what they had learnt. Here are some of the answers.

“I have learnt how to do God’s work without being political.”

“I have learnt a way of reaching out to the people around us without big expenses but by using what is locally available.”

“I was wondering how I could approach the alcoholics in my community. This session has helped me see that I can go and sit with them and try to understand them. We can help each other with the resources we have around us.”

“I used to think that a missionary was someone who travels a long distance but I have come to learn that I can be a missionary in my own town.”

“Until we kill the denominational mindset we will not be able to preach the gospel effectively. We need to learn to work with each other and cut off the boundaries that have been stopping us.”

“I have learnt that in some ways I am holding others back. I need to go home and put right a conversation with my sister-in-law and pray for her as she asked me to.”

“I have learnt to go where people do not know God. We are fighting because we only go where others have already shared the good news.”

“I have seen that what is killing us in our communities are ‘religious issues’. We must put these aside and be based only on Jesus Christ.”

“When I get home I am going to take action!”

Please pray for all those who joined us last week as they go home and try to start something new in their community.

Make no little plans

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Daniel Burnham was a Chicago based architect at the turn of the 20th Century. As an architect myself I was immediately interested when I heard him quoted on Monday. When I heard exactly the same quote from an unconnected source on Tuesday, I took note.

Daniel Burnham famously said, ‘Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work…’*

You may well be asking, “What has this got to do with Life Groups in Zambia?”

Good question!

I have a habit of introducing Dignity as a ‘small’ charity. Lately God has challenged me on this and I believe he is calling us to make, ‘big plans, aiming high in hope and work.’

Group Growth Diagram 2011 2016

Where we are

The first count of 2017 shows:

– There are now 450 Life Groups with an estimated membership of 9,000 people.
– The Zambian leadership has 20 team members and 21 ‘apprentices’ learning the role.
– We estimate that 16,708 volunteer hours were given in Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania and 460 volunteer hours were given in the UK.
– Our total spend in 2016 was £90,846^.

We are many things, but one thing I can no longer say is that we are ‘small’!

 
 
 

Where we hope to be

Group Growth Diagram 2018
By the end of 2018, we plan to be equipping 1,000 Life Groups across a number of nations. This will mean an estimated membership of 20,000 people sharing the Gospel with their communities, friends and families and working for the good of their community.

It will mean alcoholics set free from addiction, families reconciled, water supplies brought to villages, roads mended, the hungry being fed, orphans being cared for and supported through school and many brought into a living relationship with Jesus.

Writing that here is both daunting and exciting. We wouldn’t say it if we didn’t believe it was possible or that God was calling us to do it.

Our plans include:

– The Deeper campaign, encouraging each existing Life Group to reproduce itself
– Pioneering, planting the idea of Life Groups in new areas
– Writing materials, share our knowledge in culturally appropriate ways
– Translating these into the relevant languages, making them accessible to as many people as possible
– Digital publication, improving access to our materials so they can travel further than we can

Not everything can or will happen all at once but it is our intention is to push forward and equip as many people as we can to ‘shine…like stars in the sky as [they] hold firmly to the word of life.’ (Philippians 2:15-16)

For this to happen, we need you to stand with us.

2016 11 Team from Mombassa Kenya

KEEP PRAYING. We believe your prayer is integral to God opening doors, preparing hearts and showing us the way. Pray with us using our 2017 Year of Prayer.

GET INVOLVED. There are lots of ways you can give your time ranging from volunteering in the UK office to joining us in Zambia. Whether you’re a digital publisher, evangelist, website builder, communicator, intercessor, strategist, speaker, encourager or proof reader we can use your skills. Tell us what you are passionate about and we will find the best way to use your skills in the bigger picture of equipping others to share the good news of Jesus! Call us on 0161 434 8841.

GIVE. We have the vision and we’re praying for provision. We think we need an additional £12,000 in addition to what we expect to come in throughout the year. Can you set up a regular gift? Can you match fund our summer challenge events? No matter the size of your gift, it is valuable to us and will help us achieve the big plans we are aiming for. Different ways to give.

Thank you!

God bless,
jo signature 2

* Burnham (1907) quoted in: Charles Moore (1921) Daniel H. Burnham, Architect, Planner of Cities. Volume 2. Chapter XXV “Closing in 1911-1912;” p. 147
^ figures awaiting independent examination.

2017: Year of Prayer

January always feels a bit different here. Our Impact Teams tend to take the month off, Jon and Jude Witt tend to be settling back into life in the UK for a while and as a team we tend to take the opportunity to step back and do some big thinking to make sure our direction for the upcoming year is right.

Reminded to pray

This year as all these things have been happening we’ve been reminded time and again that we must pray, pray and pray. After that, we should pray some more! Reminders to pray have been coming at us thick and fast.

In response to this call to prayer we have written some simple prayers for 2017. As we wrote these prayers we were reminded that prayer is co-operation with God. Our prayers are spokes in the wheels or an extra push on the pedals as we travel with God.

Join us

We would love you to join us in these prayers throughout the year. Download your favourite design by clicking on the image, then save it on your phone or tablet or print it out and stick it on your fridge, next to your mirror or on your church notice board… Then pray, pray and pray some more!

year of prayer pedal

year of prayer moving

Keep in touch

We would love to hear from you as you pray. It’s always a huge encouragement when someone lets us know they are praying for us! In addition, if there are any words, verses or pictures that God lays on your heart, please do let us know.

(If you’d like a hard copy of either design sending to you, please email us on admin@dignityonline.org.uk

As we are reminded in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 we rejoice and give thanks for all God has done and will do. We thank God for each one of you who faithfully supports the work we do in prayer. You are valued. Thank you!

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (The Bible – NIV)

Unexpected events in Kamchanga

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Margaret and Gervas, husband and wife and members of the Central Impact Team, paid an initial visit to Kamchanga. The people they met there told them that it is a very, very difficult area to live with many people being alcoholics and with witchcraft being practised widely. Margaret and Gervas offered to come and run a Dignity School of Rural Evangelism explaining that they had would share ideas that could help their community. The people accepted the offer and a date was set for the School of Rural Evangelism.

Crying in the night

The time for the training came and the team returned to Kamchanga and set up their tents which would be home for the next few days. During the night they heard people crying and wailing in the village. Early in the morning someone came to inform them that a young man had died in the community and the funeral would start today.

Many people were involved in the funeral preparations so would not be able to attend the training event but a few people began to gather as planned. Margaret was concerned by the fact someone had died and wanted to know what they could do to help as they were in some way part of the community now at this sad time. Together, they decided that they should wait and see how the day took shape rather than rushing to start the training. They decided to all pay a visit to the family of the young man who had died to support them in any way they could.

Margaret says, “When we went there, people were a bit confused and disorganised. They didn’t know what was going on. The young man had been attacked in the night and was killed. Two of the suspects were already apprehended. We spent some time with the family members and they seemed and appeared so confused. They didn’t know what they were going to do about that funeral. We felt that we should comfort and encourage the mourners together with those who had come for the training so we started singing some songs. We prayed with them and then we left.”

After that, the team decided to postpone the training to allow everyone to be free to join the funeral. The told those who had come for the training to contact them once they were ready to set another date.

An open door to return

Over the coming weeks, the team was surprised. People they had not met before starting calling them and reminding them about the training in Kamchanga, asking us to come back soon. Dates were set and the team returned as promised. Margaret explains, “When we went back for the training the next time, we were so surprised. Compared with the environment we were told it used to be and the response we found there, we were shocked! It didn’t match. People were so happy, so encouraged. Afterwards we just continued to receive phone calls inviting us to return to continue with more training. I think what really touched them was that we had shared with them in that funeral situation they were going through. Later on we went and shared the gospel and that made us in good contact with them and then they really learned that we are not meant to be cruel with each other, but rather to love one another and move together as a community. The example the team gave and did, and talking about what God did, it helped people to see and to change.”

Gervas adds that, “One other thing that really encouraged the people was that we we discussed with them that even those that were involved in committing the murder are people who are from within our homes, in fact some of them are our own children. If we can show them a way of love and teach them the ways of God, the Lord at his own time will be able to meet them and even change them. Pray for them. And then love will begin to emerge in our communities and people will be able to appreciate one another. So in a way, it may seem that what we are doing might seem nothing or nonsense to some, but I mean it is so important. It is building our communities, its bringing a change in our communities, simple as it may appear. We are showing people a different way by being different ourselves. We are encouraging people to go a different way.”

Two other encouragements

Two other encouraging things happened. Firstly, the person who coordinated the team’s visits to Kamchanga was a young man who had met Margaret and Gervas when they came to his village. He wanted to love and care for the community of Kamchanga where he knew a number of people so he asked Margaret and Gervas if they would run a training event there if volunteered to make the practical arrangements. Secondly, the teams normally buy the food needed for training events and take it with them. This is no small job as they are often feeding up to 30 people. Having prayed about it they had decided that they would not buy the food to carry with them as normal, rather they would buy the food from within the community. Although this is always more complicated they felt it was the right thing to do this time and, in the long run, it meant no money, time or food was wasted.