One of the reasons for the resent spread of Islam in Eastern Zambia is the strategy of handouts that they are taking. Just like Christianity over a century before, they will provide a school, a clinic and the like. Then the whole village will ‘convert to Islam’.
It is a fact that within Africa, many people will follow whoever is giving out the ‘free gift’. This is dependency. An individual doesn’t have to work for themselves, they can wait for someone else to come and do it for them. This is exactly the mistake that Christianity has made in the last 100 years or so.
People need to be reliant upon each other, not those outside.
In Chibombo area, there is an old man who was neglected. Too weak to even fix his roof and his hut, he lived in what is best described as a hovel. This man is an Anglican, and his church simply stood by whilst he lived in a poor state even for a villager.
The Life! Group in the area led by Margaret Chepa, decided to help this man. As a result, he attended the Life! Group and even started going back to the Anglican Church in the village.
Another lady, wanted to know which organisation was doing this. Upon hearing that there was no organisation, simply a group of villagers helping one another, she was touched to the core. She too started attending and is now going back to her church.
A very important theme in Dignity’s message is to do something for yourself and for God, not for anyone else or because of a potential reward. We are very anti-dependency.
In this same area, there was even a leader who was initially against the work of the Life! Group. As a result of what he has observed, he is now actually leading a group!
Slowly but surely, many people are being helped and reached by those people who surround them every day. This is being dependent upon one another. To Love God and to Love Your Neighbour is really really what Christianity is all about.