The first time Festers visited Yoram, a small community is Central Zambia, he found disunity, arguing and an unhealthy competition between the churches there.
We first met Festers back in 2014 when he travelled 160km to attend one our training events. His welcoming smile and gentle spirit made fast work of finding new friends at Dignity and he was soon invited to become an Impact Leader. He has since helped numerous others start Life Groups and been a beacon of wisdom and encouragement to the communities around him.
Festers went to Yoram for an initial visit, meeting a few people to discuss starting up Life Groups in their area. At first the people there seemed closed to the idea, distrustful of ‘church plants’ and generally not very responsive. However, as Festers shared more and more about Dignity, people began to warm to what he was sharing, allowing him and his Impact Team to return and train them.
During the training, he spoke a great deal about how the church is the body of Christ and how should be working together for the same goal. This touched the hearts of the people living there and they became excited by the idea of unity. They were very cooperative with Dignity and also started to become much more cooperative with one another. The churches began to work together to help the community, especially with the organisation of funerals and alleviating some of the pressure from families who had suffered a bereavement.
“(Dignity) is the only program in which we have seen churches and believers brought together. It has created a platform that has allowed us as Christians to work together and we are really grateful for that.”
– Life Group member in Yoram
As the Christians became more unified, they began to reach out to those in need, including those who many others avoided including those who are were seen as ‘bad people’; the drunkards, the prostitutes and the poorest people on the edges of the community.
Non-believers in the community noticed that the churches had stopped fighting and were now working together to help those in need. They began to be naturally drawn towards the churches rather than laughing at them or despising them. Many of these people have now started attending Life Groups and churches in the area.
By working together, Christians in Yoram were able to unify and begin to build on their faith.
Because of the work of Festers and others like him, Dignity has been able to break down barriers between competitive churches and reach out to excluded members of communities. Yoram is blossoming because of its unified community of believers.