The feeling of turning a tap and water coming out is such a marvel! There is a direct cause and effect. Living in Africa for most of my time, I’m used to such cause and effect not working. This is the reason that many people believe Africa to be a basket case.
Today I received the news that 11 new Life! Groups had begun in Luapula Province, in Northern Zambia. That’s 11 groups of people learning to Love God and Love Their Neighbour.
What may not be immediately obvious however, is how the work of Dignity has got to that place. How did those 14 groups begin? Was it simply by chance or was there more involved?
The two areas in question are Mwense and Luonge. Both of these areas were represented by two individuals called Catherine and Alex at our regular School of Rural Evangelism. We held one last July in Samfya, on the shores of Lake Bangweulu. It’s a very nice spot!
At the school the delegates learn that the only realistic hope for the church to truly impact Rural African society is for a united community based approach, using the talents of everyone. After the school they go back to their area and we ask them to gather some people together sharing the vision with them. These people must be from different church and community backgrounds to give the widest possible cross section of people possible.
These areas are then followed up either by myself (Jon) or by one of our Impact Teams that exist within Zambia. The aim is to get to a point where we have a number of village representatives who can attend a Life! Group training conference. That is the springboard, where we share the vision widely within a community. All of the time we are sowing the seeds of unity, love and hope into the lives of local people. Often they meet to pray for their village area.
Through the training that happens, the relationships that develop and the resources like Rooted in Jesus or Love Your Village, that we use, we are simply nurturing and guiding at every opportunity. This way the God given potential of villagers is encouraged and springs forth, rather than being pressed down by our own agendas and needs.
Catherine and Alex are fantastic examples of local Christians who have taken the bull by the horns and acted out of the box, exciting their community to start something. We know that over time, they will add serving the community to their impressive repertoire.
Those 11 groups didn’t happen by chance. They are a direct effect of the work that Dignity does and we are very proud of it.
Africa isn’t a basket case. Hope and Better Times lie in the wings. We are simply helping that to happen.