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Impact Teams

Together

We love the opportunity to reflect on the last year and look at the year ahead when we write our annual report for you. Highlights this time include reaching an amazing landmark in 2015; 300 Life Groups! Our Impact Teams have increased by 50% at the start of 2016 thanks to the work done last year. We continue to see God’s amazing provision for the work we are doing and we to be encouraged and amazed by some of the things we see happening. Looking ahead to 2016 we need your help. Take 5 minutes to have a read and see what an important part you can play in God’s Kingdom.

We hope you enjoy reading “Together” as much as we enjoyed writing it and find yourself inspired by the people we work alongside.

If you would like a hard copy, or a few to pass on, email Gill on admin@dignityonline.org.uk. You can also download a printable version here.

Happening this month

This months Prayer Points tell you what is going on when and gives you some ideas of how to pray into things. We’d love you to stand with us in prayer…thank you!

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Shikamushile

Cornelius all set to stay a few days

There’s something funny with Cornelius’s email account. Every now and then a batch that he’s sent over a period of time all arrive in one go. This means that I was greeted the other morning by a whole heap of encouragements. We’ve seen the photos on facebook before, but now we get to hear the stories as well! I wanted to share them with you, so watch this space, I’ll be posting them bit by bit. Here’s the first…

“These photos were taken during our first training at the village called Shikamushile in Samfya district. It was well attended and the out pouring of the Spirit of God was experienced by the people who came, it was like never before. One man said that he can never stop coming along for such teaching. That was a suprise to all of us who came. He was very serious and emphatic. He had travelled a long distance, he was from a far village about 20 kilometres away. He was invited by Pilius just after he lost his wife.”

(Click on the pictures to find out more.)

You can support Cornelius and others like him in what they are doing by joining in the Dignity 300 Challenge.

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Talking with a witch

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Chafwilai is on one of our trainee Impact Team members. He’s already got stuck into the role and tells this story of when he travelled to a village 70km away to help with a week of prayer.

There was one lady who was very strong in the things of God, but she was coming from very far in the bush. The reason why she was living so far into the bush was because her husband was a witch and they had been chased out of the village. Even her fellow church members were afraid of him. They explained these things to me. I thought that if there is a man that we are going to visit first while we are here; it is this man we are talking about.

The people around Chafwilai tried to change his mind. They were scared. Chafwilai remained sure that God wanted him to reach out to this man and the next morning, he set out to visit him, taking with him two young men from the local church.

We went to the place where this man lived. It was called Longhead. We found this man together with his wife. When we arrived there, the boys were afraid. They were pulling back behind. They didn’t want to sit close to this man. I went straight to where this man was sitting and I sat down next to him, close enough that we were even rubbing shoulders. I said to him, “I am very happy that I have found you. When your wife comes to church, you don’t come to church. Upon hearing that the church people were coming, you have decided to sit and wait for us. You stayed at home waiting for us and have not gone to do your work. From this, I have come to learn that inside your heart there is something that belongs to God. One thing you should know is that people of your age have died, many of them. One thing you shouldn’t forget is that one day you will also die. If there is a thing that has made God keep you up until this age, it is that God wants you not to accuse him on that day that you never received the Gospel. Your age is more than the age of the father who gave birth to me. For me to come here, I have got words that the Holy Spirit is whispering to me that I should say to you. If you won’t listen to the words I am sharing, you will regret the words I am telling you. What I am telling you is repent and turn to God.”

I spoke to him many words of the same kind. He started crying. After crying, he said to me, “One thing that has saddened me, people here are afraid of me. There are older people who come here to preach, older than you, but there is nobody who has been here and spoken to me up to the point of me crying. The words you have spoken to me have moved me”. This man turned to God.

They prepared food for us with nice dish of relish and they watched us as we ate. After we prayed with them, they escorted us, we greeted each other and I said to him “Daddy, God loves you” and then I went back home.

After a week, the people in that place wrote a letter to me to say the old man had died. I thank God for this matter because he gave me courage to go and preach to this old man.

We are saddened to hear of this man’s death, but we rejoice that God sent Chafwilai to share the Gospel with him. We are encouraged and spurred on by Chafwilai’s obedience to God’s leading and his bravery. Sometimes we all need to be brave and speak out the words we believed God is giving us.

Do you want to support Chafwilai and others like him?

First and foremost, please pray for Chafwilai and all the other Impact Team members. They are at the cutting edge of what we do. They face difficult situations regularly and need to hear God speaking and guiding them. Please pray for them to have ears that hear and hearts that are brave. Visit the Who We Are page to find out more about our team members.

If you would like to practically help with supporting Chafwilai and others like him, you can donate money towards the support of Impact Teams. As a guide, it costs us £127 per month for each Impact Team member we support. We currently have 11 team members and 14 trainee team members like Chafwilai. Amazingly, each team member gives their time. Dignity supports them in a number of ways. Financially, we cover all the costs associated with travelling to different areas (food, transport etc.). We provide regular training and encouragement, again, covering the cost for team members so they are able to partake. We ensure teams meet regularly so they can share their experiences and learn from each other. And last but by no means least, we provide pastoral care and we all pray for one another.

Dignity is like what?

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“To you, Dignity is like what?”

This is the question we asked on Friday at our Celebration Evening. The answers were many and varied. Time and again, themes of connectivity, planting of seeds, working together and being part of a family came up.

In preparation for Friday evening we had asked Bernard and Cornelius, two of our Impact Team members, what they think Dignity is like.

This is what they said:

It’s that time of year!

We are busy getting on with our plans for 2015 already but let’s pause and take a moment to look back at 2014. 2014 was not without it’s challenges of course, but overall, it was a year of growth. We are hugely encouraged and spurred on to do more!

Here is our Annual Report summing up some of the highlights and headlines. The stories included are just a couple of examples of the types of things happening on a much wider basis across rural Zambia and now spreading in Namibia and Tanzania. We hope they are an encouragement to you.

You can download a printable version of the Annual Report here.

In our own language

Collecting local language Bibles

Collecting local language Bibles

As we plant our work in more and more areas of rural Zambia and neighbouring countries, we find ourselves working amongst people who speak many different languages.

In our recent planning and prayer meetings a strong theme has been emerging. We are being reminded that God will use the “voiceless” or the “faceless” to fulfil his purposes. These are the people we can so easily overlook if we are not careful.

What does this mean for Dignity? It’s easy for us to seek out the more educated without even meaning to. Those who have had the opportunity to complete their schooling are often those who speak English the best and are the easiest for us to communicate with. But what if the people God is calling in a village are the least educated? What if they don’t speak English? We cannot disregard them because it is a little harder for us to work with them.

In response to this, providing both the Bible and training materials in local languages is becoming a growing part of our work. After six months hard work, we’ve recently delivered the first Lunda copies of Rooted in Jesus to our Mwinlunga Impact Team. This week we’ve also been able to purchase a large number of local language Bibles for distribution. An amazing couple of weeks!

The delight on people’s faces when they receive materials written in their own language shows that something much deeper than the giving of a book is taking place. They understand that we are putting our trust in them. We are saying, “You are the ones we believe God is going to use.”

Is this something you are passionate about? Don’t miss the opportunity to be involved.

You could volunteer to proof read the English copy of training materials we write.
You could volunteer to help with the translation of materials into Zambian & Namibian languages.
Contact Jo Kimball: +44 (0) 161 434 8841 / jo@dignityonline.org.uk

You can help cover the cost of translating materials into local languages.
On average it costs us £250 to translate each of the training materials we use into a different language.
You can donate towards our work here: www.give.net


Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”

1 Corinthians 1 v 26 – 31

The Mwinilunga Impact Team receive Rooted in Jesus in Lunda

The Mwinilunga Impact Team receive Rooted in Jesus in Lunda

Discovering God’s Greatness

Discovering God’s Greatness

My mouth is filled with God’s praise.
Let everything living bless him,
bless his holy name from now to eternity!
– Psalm 145 v 21 (The Message) –

Just a normal Monday
My day started pretty normally really. A typical Monday morning. I came to work ready to get stuck into my to-do list but when I sat at my desk I suddenly knew I was on the wrong track for the day.

Over the weekend the need to pray has been reinforced to me again and again. As I turned my computer on and thought about where to start with my to-do list, I was also mentally working through all the things that I wanted to bring to God. The worlds of “doing” and “praying” collided. I realised that this morning the best thing I could do was pray.

So I set aside my list of jobs and decided to pray. But in all honesty I just didn’t know where to start. Another list the length of my arm, was waiting for me. Things that are all urgent, all close to my heart and all needing God’s intervention.

Starting with God

To stop myself from reeling off a shopping list to God I decide to start with a psalm, Psalm 145 to be precise.

IMG_0015Psalm 145 speaks of the magnificence of God. The psalmist says he will praise and bless God into eternity and that the generations will stand in awe of God’s works.

God’s character is explored; merciful and gracious, slow to anger and rich in love, good to all and brimming with grace. His faithfulness is celebrated, his care for those who are suffering and the love that courses through all he does, which is always good.

As I dwelt on this passage and what it teaches us of the God we serve, I was encouraged. From that place of remembering who God is I was then able to bring before him some of the needs of those we work amongst, knowing that God is bigger than all those circumstances and is already working in all those situations.

Will you pray with me?

I felt it was right to seek extra pray to cover a number of things going on right now and throughout the week. So, please join me in praying for the following things.

Team Members

CorneliusYou have probably heard about the amazing guys and girls who make up our Impact Teams already. You can get to know them a bit here.

A number of them are facing tough personal challenges at the moment. Augustine has recently suffered a family bereavement, Cornelius (pictured) is in between jobs and unsure when he will be back in work. William, someone who has begun shadowing the team in his local area, has been taken sick and is seriously ill.

In many area, the rains have been poor this year threatening the harvests which affects all our teams and the communities they work amongst. Please join me in praying for healing, protection, provision and encouragement for them all. It’s much needed and prayer makes a difference.

Open Doors

BernardIn some of the more remote areas we work, traditional and tribal religion are very deep rooted. People are often suspicious of anything new or different. I was recently talking to Bernard (pictured) and he explained how he sees things happening very slowly because of this. He is impatient to see his fellow Zambians discover freedom and hope by coming to Jesus.

Please pray that the truth will shine through when Bernard and other team members speak of Jesus and that doors will be opened for them. Pray that God will direct them to the right people to lead the work forward in different communities.

Jon Witt back in Zambia

jonAfter spending a few months in the UK over Christmas, Jon has returned to Zambia for 3 weeks. This is a short trip before the whole family returns in a couple of months.

Jon will be helping the Impact Teams plan for the year ahead and will run a training course for them, the first of our three annual EQUIP courses. The course will focus around the practicalities of teaching, skills that many villagers don’t get a chance to learn elsewhere.

Jon will also be travelling to Chipata in the Eastern Province of Zambia, almost on the border of Malawi. Meeting up with some new contacts there, he will be working to help people see that God has a purpose for them and that they are not forgotten. He will be challenging them to gather together and pray for their communities as a starting point. As ever, we hope that it will mark the start of some Life! Groups and on going discipleship in the area.

Thank you…

We owe you a big thank you! We know lots of you joined us for our week of prayer in February and we are really grateful. We also know many of you will pray for the things we’ve mentioned here.

We believe prayer makes a difference and it is our hope that the week of prayer will have set in place foundations for the rest of the year.

We look forward to being able to share answers to prayer with you throughout the year and praising God together.

“What you have done will be praised from one generation to the next;
they will proclaim your mighty acts.
They will speak of your glory and majesty,
and I will meditate on your wonderful deeds.”
– Psalm 145 v 4-5 (The Good News) –

Thank you for praying with us! It makes a difference to what is happening!

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)

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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.