Archives

Written by

Walking Marathon…Walked!

Dignity Walking Marathon…Suitable for legs of all ages – 24th June 2017

A huge well done to all 28 walkers who took part in the first ever Dignity Marathon!

What a great day we had for our inaugural marathon. By the end of the day there were lots of tired feet and big smiles…along with lots of stories! It was great to support our team of walkers with cookies, flapjacks, balloons, medals and general cheering on….

Route & distances

Starting out from Buxton train station the route took in the edge of the peak district, dropped down to Errwood Reservoir and then followed the Peak Forest Canal, Goyt River and Mersey River back to Didsbury. The total distance was just over marathon length at 27 miles.

Sponsorship

This event was raising funds for our work in remote communities, predominantly in Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania. The money raised will help support Impact Team members like Dorothy. You can read her story on below.

Current Total Raised: £5140 (incl estimated Gift Aid)

Every penny has the potential to make a difference to many lives. Huge thanks to all our walkers and everyone who sponsored them. Thank you!

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.

Dorothy

Meet Dorothy

Dorothy is in many ways a typical Zambia matriarch. She lives in the far north west of Zambia with her husband and their extended family. Currently there are 18 people living at Dorothy’s home. Dorothy oversees work on the family farm and also does tailoring work. Despite facing a number of challenges, Dorothy volunteers as a Dignity Impact Team member.

As an Impact Team member Dorothy travels to villages and communities around her province helping others begin Life Groups. Life Groups equip people to transform their community and tackle poverty through the love of Jesus. Life groups are doing amazing things. They are caring for the elderly or orphaned. They are helping people break free from addiction. They are serving communities, building bridges or applying for boreholes. They are sharing and showing the good news of Jesus!

We support Dorothy with regular training and with a monthly allowance that helps her travel. £100 would support Dorothy or a team member like her for a just over a month! Each team member supports an average of 22 Life Groups, meaning an estimated 440 people receive regular discipleship.

Meet more of the team…

Walking for and with Dignity. ~ an account of the day by Philip Robinson ~
Edge of the peaks, surrounded by fresh air and sheep.
Up the hill and down to the lake;
through the forest, toilet break,
crossed the road that would take us to the canals.
The ripples told stories of life beneath the murky waters,
As ducks, geese and a lone-hunting heron negotiated their place,
Fleeing, flying but always watching as boats delivered wine-sippers to the nests of their dreams.
The moor-hens busied themselves hiding and finding reeds;
Their bright red beaks gave them away.
“Civilisation!” Cried a walker, now starting to feel the pain of pursuit;
We paused in wonder of age old engineering, opening and delivering boats from heights to depths, refusing to let the hills stop their flow.
“Bike!” We moved to the right.
“Red truck!” We ticked our list, as the fire-engine rumbled along the gravelled road.
“Have you seen a man, who has had enough of this life and threatens to throw himself in?” The fireman asked, as though this was just another day of duty along this path.
“No.” We replied, but further on they knelt by his side bidding him to breathe and fill his lungs and mind with hope.
Now pass the aqueduct and down to the road,
“It’s all flat from here.” I’ve heard that before.
“Horse!” We reached a farm but missed the bridge; a chance to meet the locals.
“Where’re you from then?” A farmer asked a walker, whose appearance placed him elsewhere.
“Born and bred in this city.” He responded, unable to hide his fury, obviously asked that times before.
“Italy?” The farmer grinned and queried, accepting that as closer to the truth than we were from home. By now the American, Iranian, Irishman, Bajan and actual Englishman realised we had missed our turn.
Flapjacks awaited. We didn’t hug the marshal but devoured the contents of the ziplock bag, which up to then were the subject of rumour and incentive.
We made it to the city and endured the stares, as by then we looked like men who had lost their way.
“Not far now!” Funny how 7 miles seems a stroll against the 20 covered before.
Familiarity fuelled our feet, though joints and soles faced defeat;
we hugged the river and made jokes to hide the pain, suggesting that we would do this again.
But the last 3 miles felt like all was in vain and each step was met with the groans of trying.
Each step and each try led us to the sight of home, where balloons and well-wishers beckoned us on.
Medals presented, hugs and pats on the back, met with the smell of fine grilling and the sound of claps.
We were welcomed like champions, ate burgers, drank tea, then hobbled and limped our separate ways, bonded by Dignity.

Here’s some of our favourite photos from the day…

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

IMG_3510

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

mail chimp title image

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

2015-04-margaret-and-gervas

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.

Pressing on in Tanzania

Back in 2014 we went invited to Tanzania by a pastor we had met. He had expressed an interest in the work of Dignity and invited us to share our ideas and methods with local leaders there. He gathered a group of local leaders and we made the journey. We ran our School of Rural Evangelism which gives an introduction to why we do what we do and explains how each person can take the idea and plant it in their community.

We normally follow up these training events within a few months. We struggled to do this with the group in Tanzania because they were geographically far away and we were reliant on a handful of people who could translate between English and Swahili. We heard very little from the people who had attended the training and we were unable to follow up our work there.

This did not sit well us though. We felt that we must try again to reach out to those we had met. So, in 2015 we visited again. The trip wasn’t easy – we had to do a bit of detective work to reconnect with people and find people who would help us with the language differences.

The first 3 days were spent in a town that felt like a very hard place. Despite us trying to reconnect with people, we had been sent to an entirely new group of people who had only been called at the very last minute and could only stay for short periods as they had other things planned. Jo says, “I clearly remember thinking at the time, ‘Why have we come here?’

Tanzania Group

However, on our way back to the city we stopped for a day in Simambwe. We met with Frank who lived there. Frank had been at the original training and explained that he had started a few Life Groups but as he hadn’t heard any more from us and wasn’t sure how to grow the groups they had fizzled out. We apologised for our lack of follow up and Frank graciously accepted. He invited us to share the idea with the group of people he had gathered from local churches (pictured). Jo remembers feeling like a weight had been lifted, as if God was saying, ‘This is why you came.’ ”

Skip forward a year to 2016 and we invited Frank to come to Zambia to join an EQUIP training camp. We were unsure what progress Frank would have made. He remains geographically far away from any other Life Groups or Impact Teams so has limited support. We had also only been able to get messages to him through a friend of his who spoke English and lived some distance away from Frank.

2016-11-equip-ndubaluba-frank-bernard-little

Frank (pictured on the left) made the 900km journey and joined us at EQUIP. He brought with him Little (pictured on the right). Little has been helping plant and encourage Life Groups and also speaks English so came to help Frank with translation. Together they’ve planted 15 Life Groups and are starting a movement in their village. We were so encouraged to hear what they have been doing and continue to do. They were encouraged to meet others at EQUIP who are doing what they are doing! Now they are connected to Impact Team leaders who have a wealth of experience in planting Life Groups and overcoming the challenges often faced. The Impact Team leaders will keep in touch with Frank and Little and we look forward to hearing the next chapter in their story.

Looking for experience?

Are you looking to gain experience of working in the charity sector or international missions? If so, read on…

internship-photo

An introduction to Dignity

Dignity exists to equip people to transform their community and tackle poverty through the love of Jesus, particularly those who are on the outskirts of society and existing support. Our field of work is predominantly sub-Saharan Africa (Zambia, Namibia and Tanzania). We have also begun working with refugees in Manchester. Find out more by reading about what we do. You can also get to know who we are.

The opportunity

Volunteering one day a week in our Manchester, UK office you will be able to put to use your natural skills, honing and improving them through practice. You will work closely with our UK Operations Director and Administrator gaining valuable experience of the following areas of work within the charity sector:

• Communications & Publicity
• Fundraising
• Events management
• Supporter care and engagement
• Web design and management
• Administration & Accounting
• Intercessory support
• The opportunity to join a short term overseas mission trip (self-funded)

As a small team we can offer a unique opportunity for you to be involved in lots of different aspects of our work, shaping the tasks you focus on to suit your abilities and desired experience.

Length of internship

We can offer internships of between 2 and 12 months. Internships are voluntary positions.

What we are looking for in an intern

Interns should be quick to learn, creative and keen to share their ideas. You will work as part of a team but will be required to self-lead on certain aspects of work. You will need to be responsible and thorough in your approach to tasks. We believe in being brave enough to ask the stupid question, they show an inquisitive mind, and we do not fear making mistakes, they are part of the learning process. Interns should enter fully into Dignity team life, including morning prayers, and evening prayer meetings. We ask all team members to act as ambassadors for Dignity in their churches, workplaces and other relationships.

Genuine Occupational Requirement

A Genuine Occupational Requirement (GOR) will apply under the Equality Act 2010. As an intern at Dignity you will be required to meet the spiritual needs of Charity members, service users or visitors.

To Apply

Contact Jo Kimball on 1016 434 8841 / jo@dignityonline.org.uk with you CV and a 250 word statement explaining why you wish to take on an internship.

Download this information