From the inception of Dignity we have been sure that we are called to work in rural communities. This means we and our team members can normally be found in the small villages, well off the beaten track, working with the people who live in these areas. There is an inbuilt challenge that comes with this calling…simply getting to the places we need to reach. If you drive a car, then it’s tricky. You have to navigate your way along bush roads that are bumpy, dusty and unsigned. However, if you don’t drive a car it’s even harder!
Augustine tells of his recent visit to Mabonga with Cornelius and gives us a real insight into how hard our teams work to reach some of the most remote communities in their country.
We were visiting Mabonga for training for the first time. Mabonga is about 22km from the main road. We arrived in the evening on the bus and were dropped off at the main raid. We didn’t know where we could spend the night. The place that we dropped at is the place where they sell potatoes. [Often at junctions a collection of businesses will grow, including a small guest house or two, but this junction was one with only one or two roadside stalls.]
So whilst discussing where we would spend the night, Father Cornelius spoke to someone there. The person said “Ah, there are no rest houses here, so I don’t know where you are going to spend the night.” We sat down under a tree and had a drink while we considered what to do. Then from nowhere a woman came, a good Samaritan. She came to say, “Actually, I have found a place where you can spend the night.” We asked, “Maam, where?” She said, “Follow me” which we did.
After following her, we were taken to a certain man and he welcomed us. He said the only house that he could offer us was just this hut which they used for cooking. It was just a plain hut and there was a fire in there. We said, “Thank you so much for your hospitality”. After being with us for some time, he left us. Now we began to ask ourselves questions… “Are we safe here?” This was our first time in this place. Cornelius said “God is in control.” So we spread our bedding on the ground and that’s how we spent the night there.
Early in the morning we left for Mabonga. That very person who gave us somewhere to stay was also going to Mabonga for his farming. His transport that day was an ox cart and he was able to give us a lift. After reaching his fields we continued on foot. After walking for a kilometre or so, then our brothers from Mabonga came to get us on their bicycles.
When we finally reached Mabonga it was somehow very, very discouraging because we didn’t find people already gathered there. There was another meeting happening that day which we didn’t know about until we arrived. But we met with Pastor Festus and as we sat and talked people started coming one by one. Although the first day the turnout was not that good, but the second day, people came. That day, people came. Finally our problem was over!
In short I saw the hand of God because it was our first time of being in that area. I especially saw the hand of God in providing the place where we spent the night and what we went through. And when we came back we came back safely.
As we heard Augustine telling this story we recognise the great cost he and others like him are paying to share the good news of Jesus with others. It’s not necessarily a financial cost, but it’s the cost of comfort, shelter, safety and being away from family. We have so much respect for the men and women who volunteer their time and give up these things to carry the hope that Jesus gives to many communities.
You can journey with Augustine
Help us support people like Augustine with bus fares, the cost of a nights accommodation (when a guest house can be found) or a meal on route.
A local bus fare is often between £5 and £10. A meal at a roadside cafe is about £3 and a guesthouse for the night somewhere between £10 and £15. Make a one-off donation now or set up a regular gift to stand with Augustine and others like him in building God’s Kingdom.