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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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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

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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,
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* 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)