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It’s all about connections

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A massive thank you to everyone who came to our Celebration Evening on Friday 15th May. It was amazing to hear you all sharing how you understand Dignity. We were blown away as all the comments you were sharing wove together into one big picture, quite literally, and also figuratively.

Throughout the evening a strong theme of connectivity emerged. Take a moment to explore the drawing above that was created as we talked. As we move forward we want to keep on exploring what it means to be connected. We are part of God’s kingdom. Physical distance does not matter. The prayers we offered on Friday evening, the actions we committed to take and the gifts that we made are directly connected to the work that people like Bernard and Cornelius are helping happen in their communities.

Special thanks go to Stu and Ian of ICE Creates who gave their time and skills to help make the evening happen.

And finally…a big yummy thank you to Big Top Parties for providing such a delicious meal for us all.

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Come and celebrate!

Every year we host a Celebration Evening. We celebrate what God has done in the last year and look forward to what is to come.

This year we are delighted that our friends at ICE Creates will be joining us to facilitate the evening. They will be drawing the stories as they are shared and helping us co-create the future. We are excited to see the stories of those in Zambia and those joining us on the evening intertwining in God’s amazing plans to reach those forgotten by many others.

We would love you to join us from 7.00pm – 10.30pm at Ivy Church, Didsbury (Manchester, UK) on 15th May 2015. It will also be a great opportunity to introduce a friend to our work so please do invite someone along!

Please reserve your tickets by 1st May on Eventbrite by using this link:

Dignity Celebration Evening – Reserve Tickets

Tickets are free but if you would like to cover the cost of your meal we suggest a donation of £7. Donations can be made on the evening or online now via Give.net.

If you are unable to join us for any reason but would like to connect with our work, we would love to bring our “Be The Difference” coffee series to you. We will be on the road throughout 2015 and will be more than happy to visit you!

Contact us for details of “Be The Difference”


Celebration Evening Invite
15-21 February: A Week of Prayer

15-21 February: A Week of Prayer

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5 v 16-18 (NIV)

2015 02 week of prayer

A Week of Prayer
Our normal work takes a break at this time of year. It’s the rainy season and people need to tend their fields. So, we roll with it. We allow a natural break, a bit of down time.

We use this time to reflect on where we have been and what has happened. We look at where we are going and we lay plans for the coming year.

As part of this, we are having a week of prayer. We believe prayer works. We would love you to join us in praying for our work. If you feel God is speaking into our work, please do contact us and share it with us.

Together, in prayer, we are stronger.

Download a printable version here.

 

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Praise & Thanks!
2014 was an amazing year for Dignity. We saw God doing great things and we want to give Him the glory. We saw 2 brothers reunited after 25 years of division. We witnessed a reformed alcoholic returning to rebuild his marriage. People learnt and passed on new skills in conservation farming, helping families and Life! Groups support themselves and their communities better. All these are real and physical signs of growing spiritual freedom and transformation taking place. Praise God!

 

16 Monday
Life! Groups
64 new Life! Groups began in 2014 bringing the total to 180. That means 3,600 people growing in faith and working to bring Jesus’s hope and love to their villages. Pray for the group leaders to have courage and wisdom and for group members to bring God’s transformation to their villages in very real ways, challenging poverty on all levels; spiritual, emotional and physical.

 

Bernard in a village teaching

 

17 Tuesday
Impact Teams
Supporting existing Life! Groups and helping start new groups are 14 Impact Team members. These men and women travel across their provinces working as missionaries to their own people. They are at the front line of Dignity’s work. Pray for discernment as they meet many people and encouragement as they face different challenges.

 

18 Wednesday
People
Dignity is a movement of people. Wherever we are from, we are all committed to sharing the good news of Jesus and helping to alleviate poverty in all its forms. The movement is growing. More and more people are standing together under the umbrella of Dignity. Please pray for God to raise up his people as Life! Group leaders, Impact Team members, co-ordinators, administrators and volunteers. Together, we can make a difference.

 

19 Thursday
Protection
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)

As we push forward we face the very real resistance of spiritual forces of evil. Please pray for protection at every level. For the faith of each and every person. For the marriages and relationships of all involved. For those travelling long distances.

 

mother and child

 

20 Friday
Plans
This is the time of year we set plans. Impact Teams will arrange to visit existing Life! Groups and begin to make plans for training new areas. The Zambian and UK leadership teams will look at the overall picture and set strategies. The UK support team will arrange short term trips. On all levels we need to trust God and dream big! Pray for courage alongside wisdom. Pray against distractions. Pray for God’s inspiration to run deeply in all we do.

 

21 Saturday

The Holy Spirit to move in power
Ultimately, without God, our work would fail. Our hope for long term transformation and life changing freedom rest firmly with God. Please pray that throughout 2015 we will see the Holy Spirit at work in people’s lives bringing wholeness and healing. Pray that whole communities will see the glory of God and turn to Him. There is an openness to spirituality in those we work amongst. Pray that people will find that Jesus is the answer, not any other powers that are at work.

The story of Siavonga

The story of Siavonga

The story of our involvement with Siavonga in the Southern Province of Zambia is a little different to many of the areas we work in. We have been working with a small, faithful group of people there for over 2 years. It has proved hard for them to plant Life! Groups in the area, perhaps due to the fact that drought often affects the land meaning people move vast distances to find good land leading to a transient population and lower than average levels of education.

Since we first began working in Siavonga a handful of Life! Groups have begun but have struggled to become well established, eventually coming to an end. However, one group has really taken route and has been running for 2 years with a good number of members. On recent visits, the Impact Team have come across, and challenged, 2 aspects of life for those living in and around Siavonga.

Firstly, the place of women in the community. The Impact Team noticed that women were treated very lowly in the community and that the work of the Life! Group was being held only by the men. The Impact Team spent time explaining that God desired women to be involved in His work as well as men. Through discussions and exploration, the villagers seemed to accept this. We are encouraged to see that some women have now committed themselves to making sure the work of the Life! Group is strong in their area. We hope that this will begin to change the way women are viewed in the wider community.

Secondly, the power of witchcraft. Many people in this area live in great fear of witchcraft. For example, a man recently had a car crash while driving drunk, killing himself and his passenger. The event itself was tragic but the knock on effects have been devastating. Many people believed the man died there because the area was cursed and therefore they simply left the area as quickly as possible. They took with them what they could but left their homes and many possessions behind in fear of staying longer. The ripple effect of this will be huge as families try to rebuild their lives from scratch in new areas.

Fear of witchcraft is a very real phenomenon in this area and our Impact Team worked with the Life! Group to try and help them stand in opposition to this fear. There is not a Life! Group in the village where the tragic accident happened, but we pray that in time, God will raise up His people in the villages across Siavonga to break the stronghold of witchcraft and bring lasting hope and freedom in Him in it’s place.


Do you want to play a part in this story and others like it? It costs us about £150 a month to support each Impact Team member including expenses, training and pastoral care. There are now 14 Impact Team members working across Zambia helping villagers like those in Siavonga bring the hope of Jesus to their communities. If you want to be a part of this story and others like it you can make a one-off or regular donation through our stewardship page by clicking here.

Big Thank You’s All Round

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For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Ephesians 2 v 8-10 (NIV)

Wow! What a year!
As we approach the end of 2014 it’s natural to look back and see where we have come this year. We are delighted that this year has seen 63 new Life! Groups have start, with the number continuing to rise. From January 2 new Impact Team members will officially join us, bringing the total to 14. Some of of the guys and girls who make up the Impact Teams are pictured above.

These numbers are the headlines that show the growth of a movement emerging across rural Zambia and reaching into neighbouring countries.

Panono Panono – A Return to Mpika
Earlier this week Jon & Jude Witt returned to Mpika where we ran our introductory “Get Your Hands Dirty” course in July this year. Jon writes:

“The rain hammered the tin roof of the church in Mpika. The noise was deafening. The first rains of the season had come with a vengeance. Unable to speak over the noise of the rain, we sat there for 45 minutes, looking at the 15 people that had travelled to meet with us. Some of them had cycled for 3 hours, others grabbed a lift with us. They came from some 150km away.

Mpika GYHD 07 2014 (3) reduced

“We’d come to follow up a visit in July when we had travelled with a couple of visitors to introduce the work of Dignity and Life! Groups to the area. We’d explained how the best hope for the village was the villagers themselves working with God. We’d used some of our usual stories, role plays and dramas to hammer home the point. Then we had left it. A crucial part of our work is to leave room for villagers to take the work up for themselves. If they don’t it is never truly theirs.

“After 4 months, 8 Life! Groups have started in widespread and varied locations around Mpika. It’s very early days, but it is so encouraging that so many have taken up the challenge of God’s work for their village. We know that as Life! Groups grow in faith, many people will be helped and assisted by their fellow villagers. Children will be cared for, the elderly given dignity and life will be just that little bit better.

“There’s a saying in Bemba and many other African languages, “panono panono” or “slowly slowly”. It means that even though we progress step by step we will get there in the end. That’s the way Africa works and we “get it!” We don’t swoop in trying to fix all ills that frankly cannot be fixed overnight. We work “panono panono” with the culture and those that live here over months and even years. Like the ocean tide slowly rising, so God will transform the villages here. Dignity currently has nearly 200 groups meeting all over Zambia and surrounding countries. We have teams supporting those groups. The cumulative effect of this work is a slowly rising tide of goodness, love and change.

“Set in that church in Mpika it would be easy to become impatient but Africa has its ways and times that we need to flex with. We spent an afternoon helping those groups understand some of the materials we use. We taught them how to gather people and how to run village groups effectively. We asked them to consider the vulnerable and the needy. The next time we visit, we hope they will be a few steps further forward.

“Whether it be Mpika, Southern Province, into northern Namibia or any of the 5 other regions where our teams work, we will continue to patiently work, teach and encourage. “Slowly slowly” Africa will be changed in the power and love of Jesus name.”

It’s a team effort
We are very aware that the growth we are seeing in Mpika and other areas like it is down to the inspiration and provision of our amazing God and a huge team effort from many people. We would like to take this opportunity to say some really big thank you’s!

First and foremost, a huge thank you to God who has continued to call us alongside people, lay work before us to do and equip us to do it.

Secondly, we would like to thank each and every one of you who has contributed to this movement in some way. Whatever your contribution, it is a valued part of the overall picture.

Thank you a

We invite you to get more involved….
Dignity is a movement of people. Wherever we are from and whatever role we play, we are all committed to sharing the good news of Jesus and to helping alleviate poverty in all its forms.

We would like to invite you to get more involved, or join us for the first time, as we look forward to 2015. Here are some ways you can join the movement no matter where you are in the world!


Warrior button

Prayer is the backbone of all we do. If you would like to start praying for our work you can sign up for our monthly prayer points here.






Seed Sower Button

Our growing work means growing costs. God has been faithful and we have seen his provision throughout 2014. If you would like to make a one off or regular financial gift towards our work for 2015 you can do so at our Give.net page*.

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(*We use Give.net from Stewardship to enable secure on-line giving. A small fee is charged by Stewardship for the service they provide through Give.net. Please note that their fees are less than those charged by comparable services, maximising what we receive of your gift. You can find out more here.)


Superstar button

So many “Superstars” have done something to support us this year. Most recently 38 people, including our Impact Team leaders, have taken up the 50:50 Challenge. We have been blown away by the response to this and have seen God bless everyone’s efforts leading to an incredible £17,000 being raised and balancing the books.

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By the end of this year we would love to find 12 more volunteers to take up the challenge, rounding the challenge off to 50 volunteers taking on their 50! Will you be one of them? It’s so easy… think of a 50 challenge you could do and sign up on our 50:50 page. Check out the list of 50’s that others have been done if you need some inspiration!


Pioneer button a

If you want a truly hands-on experience of our work, we are looking for volunteers to join our short term mission trip from 11th – 25th March (including travel). Trips will also take place late July/early August and November.

You will be working alongside our Impact Team members and helping reach out to new areas like Mpika. Check out the details here and do get in touch with us if you would like to explore the possibility.

Our hope is that everyone who takes part in our short term mission trips comes home equipped to be more effective in mission both overseas and at home.

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Lots to be thankful for!

As the year draws to a close, it’s natural to look back and see what has been achieved. We are so grateful to God for lots that has happened this year. Our prayer points this month are a mixture of things we are thankful for and things we are praying into as we look forward into next year.

You can download a copy here: December 2014 Prayer Points

December 2014 Prayer Points

EQUIP is happening now…

EQUIP is happening now…

Three times a year we run an EQUIP training session for all our Impact Team members. One is happening right now at Ndubaluba Outdoor Centre. But why are we doing it and what is an EQUIP training session?

Learning through games

Learning through games

Why EQUIP?

At the heart of our work are Impact Teams. These are teams of men and women working hard behind the scenes, supporting and planting Life! Groups. They are made up of 3 or more people working among their own people in a region of rural Africa.

On average, each Impact Team supports 45 Life! Groups made up of about 20 members per group. That means that when we invest our time and effort into an Impact Team of 3 members they are better able to support the leaders of 45 groups. These men and women in turn support an estimated 900 people who attend their Life! Groups.

This year there have been 3 Impact Teams up and running. One of the teams has grown throughout the year and has effectively been working as 2 teams for the last few months. Between the current teams, 179 Life! Groups with an estimated membership of 3,500 people are being supported. In the first few months of 2015 we hope to have 5 teams working across rural Zambia and crossing into Namibia. 5 teams would have the potential to support 225 Life! Groups and 4,500 people!

You can easily imagine the benefits of working closely with the Impact Teams. They will be able to utilise, share and teach what they have learnt with others who will in turn pass on what they learn to many more.

...and having fun while we learn!

…and having fun while we learn!

What is EQUIP?

We really value each of our Impact Team members. We want to do all we can to equip them to carry out God’s calling on their lives to the best of their abilities. We support them with skills, training, friendship, prayer and both emotional and financial support. The 3 annual EQUIP training sessions are a key building block in our support of the Impact Teams.

Many of the people we work with have not been given the opportunity to access secondary or further education. Few have had the chance to receive Christian discipleship or Bible teaching. Many are making the most of what little they have but struggle to overcome some of the challenges they face because they lack the skills that would help them to forge forward.

Our EQUIP training sessions respond to this reality. From 2015 we will we run 3 EQUIP training sessions every year, each with a different focus: teaching skills, theology or planning and pastoral care. These respond to the challenges we see Impact Team members facing regularly and we hope that we will see the Impact Teams becoming well equipped to overcome the challenges they face and being able to stand firm, rooted deeply in Jesus.

Each EQUIP session last for 3 or 4 days and comprises a mix of teaching through talks, games, Bible study, teamwork exercises, shared experiences and prayer. It is always fantastic to see Impact Team members greeting each other as everyone arrives at EQUIP. Teams are spread across Zambia and the EQUIP sessions provide a forum for them to encourage one another, learn from different experiences and share what is on their hearts for their countrymen and women.

Like what you read?

If you are excited by the work we are doing we invite you to get involved!

You could be a part of helping to deliver an EQUIP training session next year. In March, July/August or November 2015 you could be spending a week with the Impact Team leaders and sharing skills with them as well as learning loads yourself! Details of our short term mission can be found here. We would love to have you with us!

If getting on a plane isn’t your thing, you can help make the EQUIP sessions a reality by supporting them financially. It costs us about £4,650 to run each EQUIP course. You can help cover these costs by making a one-off or regular donation through Give.net or by using our downloadable Support Form.

Thank you!

We made it!

We made it!

On Sunday 19th October 2014, officially kick-starting our 50:50 Challenge, an amazing team of 9 cyclists took on a 50 mile bike ride and stopped for selfies outside 50 churches on route. They did an amazing job and actually cycled 53.89 miles and stopped at 59 churches. They made it to the end still smiling! Check at the photos at the bottom of this post…

If you’re wondering why they did it, then take 2 minutes to watch this short video.

Big thanks…

Thank you to all the churches that agreed to us stopping by for a selfie! Extra special thanks to all the churches that made us welcome in their services – it was great to pause and spend some time worshipping with you all on route. We had a great day and met some really lovely people.

Thanks also go out to those who supported us on route; Ann & Mandy for making an amazing breakfast, Kate & Frank for driving the support cars, Tim for meeting us at Lymm and leading the way to Didsbury and Gill & Marilyn for meeting us with tea and coffee at the end.

The biggest of big thank yous to the cyclists themselves; Prad, Stu, Noel, Keith, Paul, Fran, Sylvia, Luke and Jo.

And of course, massive thanks to all the friends and families who have sponsored the team members. We are delighted that between them the team has raised an absolutely outstanding £8,698.10 with money still coming in. We can’t thank you enough for helping this to happen.

Feeling inspired?

We’re looking for 50 volunteers to take on their own version of the 50:50 challenge. There were 9 cyclists and 12 others have signed up for their own version of the 50:50 Challenge… That means we’re looking for 29 more volunteers to do something amazing by the end of the year. Are you one of them?

If our team of cyclists have inspired you, then head over to the 50:50 Challenge page and sign up!

We hope you enjoy some of the photos from the day…
St Wilfrid's, Grappenhall
St Saviour's, Bidston
Maitland Evangelical Church
Christ Church Higher Bebington
Christ Church, West Didsbury
About to set off...
St Nicholas Church, Burnage
CCM Withington
Bethesda, Bebington
St Margaret's, Burnage
St Wilfrid, Northenden
Heaton Mersey Methodist
Timperley Methodist Church
St Mary's, Hale
St Martin's, Heaton Norris
St Stephen & St Alban, Prenton
St Paul's, Heaton Moor
Didsbury Community Church
Withington Methodist Church
St Thomas', Stockton Heath
St Werburgh & St Laurence, Birkenhead
Ivy Church Didsbury
The last stop...we were so tired we forgot a team shot and only just remembered while there were still a couple of us left!
Trinity with Palm Grove United
Jireh Church, Bebington
Didsbury Baptist Church
United Reformed Church, Higher Bebington
Emmanuel, Didsbury
Wirral Christian Centre
Didsbury United Reformed Church
Christ Church South Manchester
Holy Name of Jesus, Oxton
St Winifred's, Heaton Mersey
St Paul's, Withington
St Margaret's, Dunham Massey
Manchester Korean Church
St Mark's Dunham Massey
St John the Baptist, Heaton Mersey
Gartson Park Church
South Manchester Quaker Meeting House
St Peter's, Oughtrington
Grange United Reformed Church
Tranmere Methodist Church
Heaton Moor United Church
Life Church, Bebington
Lymm United Reformed Church
Heaton Moor Evangelical
Christ Church, Birkenhead
St Catherine C of E, Tranmere
The Link Christian Fellowship
St James, Didsbury
St Aidan's, Northern Moor
St Bernard's RC Church, Burnage
Bethesda Evangelical Church, Stockton Heath
St Mary's, Widnes
United Reformed Church, Prenton
St Mary's, Grassendale

Prayer updates…

Once again, massive thank you to those of you who pray for our work. We know that prayer makes a difference and we value your prayers.

Here are some current things you can be praying into and around…

You can download a copy of the prayer points here October Prayer Points

October Prayer Points

Time to go?

africa mapBased on previous experience, we have shaped an exciting programme of short term missions opportunities for 2015. We invite you to find out more by joining us for our Short Term Mission Evening.

Friday 7th November, 8 – 9.30pm
Ivy Church Centre, 97 Barlow Moor Road, Didsbury, M20 2GP
Trip details can be found here
Light refreshments will be served. All welcome.

Please note that volunteers on short term trips must be 18 or over unless travelling with their legal guardian.

For those who chose to come on mission with us, to maximise the impact of your time, you will spend 1 week working closely with Impact Teams. They will in turn work with village leaders across rural Zambia and Namibia, passing on what they have learnt. There will also be the opportunity to spend 1 week helping to pioneer our work in a new area and gain hands-on experience and insight into mission in rural areas. Find out more here

We hope that all who take part in our short term mission trips come home equipped to be more effective in mission both overseas and at home.