Jer 17:7-8 – “Good will come to the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose hope is in the Lord. He will be like a tree planted by the water, that sends out its roots by the river. It will not be afraid when the heat comes but its leaves will be green. It will not be troubled in a dry year, or stop giving fruit.”
Greetings dear brothers and sisters! We hope God is keeping you green and fruitful during this pandemic. 2020 has been a year of changes, both negative and positive for all of us. Due to the quarantine, we were not able to continue community development work in the villages. However, the Lord opened a way to do discipleship trainings with the churches.
When we suggested discipleship trainings and community development over ten years ago, churches rejected the idea. But, now when we meet with pastors, they see the need for people to be more involved and trained to serve in their communities. Here are a few testimonies from participants in our discipleship trainings and community development programs.
“I have only a school education and used to think that I am not educated enough to share the Gospel. Before coming to Jesus, I was working in the market selling homemade alcohol. One day, a man I had never met came and told me, ‘God loves you! God cares for you!’ I did not understand what he was saying, and I thought that he fell in love with me and wanted to marry me. So, I started visiting church. Every time I went, I wore a beautiful dress, styled my hair, and waited for the pastor to marry me, but as the days passed, he didn’t say anything about it. I waited until one day God came and spoke to me: ‘I love you!’ It took me five months to hear and understand that I am His beloved daughter.”
“God brought me to this training and is preparing me, and I will do my best, my Lord, to worship Your name! For many years I was asking God to use me to reach people’s hearts. God is always answering! Three years ago, three outsiders visited our village and started the trainings. Now we get to continue them. I have been asking God to prepare the locals to serve our communities. I am happy and thank the Lord for that He is answering my prayers.”
We had a blessed time visiting the local churches in the villages. Finding out the needs and resources of the churches encouraged us to work for the things that make peace and help each other to show His light and love in our communities. One pastor shared an answer to their prayers.
“God blessed me to be a pastor for a home church in our region. For a long time, I have been looking for a home to buy in a nearby village. Unfortunately, I could not find the right home. We found a place that seemed suitable, but when we went to register the purchase deal, there was a problem with the documentation. So we did not buy. I asked God where He wanted me and my family to live.
Later, someone shared that there was a house for sale in a nearby village, located on the lake shore. We went to see the house and we all loved it and purchased it. Now my home is always full of people (relatives, believers from other places and neighbors), who enjoy coming to the lake. We’ve had opportunities to share God’s love with our guests and some of them have come to know Jesus. Everybody knows that this home is the Lord’s home.”
“It has been a dream from my childhood to be a part of development in my village. I was born in the village, married my classmate, raised four children and lived all my years in the same village. It was a struggle at times meeting my family’s needs and dealing with health problems. My hobby is making national blankets (used to sit on the floor and as a cover at night). After many years, the Lord blessed me and I am using my hobby to earn money, to teach others, and to help solve community problems.”
This is a testimony of one of our community development leaders. She used her knowledge to make an agreement with the local government and organized the sewing center in the local administration building. The first goal of this sewing center is to use the income gained to solve at least one community problem each year. It is a big positive change in the minds of the villagers.
The leaders are also working to build parnerships, and next year will share this project with leaders of a neighboring village so they can be trained to do community development. It is even more exciting that these leadership initiatives are mainly led by women and supported by men (this is important in our context).
Pastors said that this year’s women’s conference turned out very good. The women met other sisters of the regions, experienced healings, shared their experiences, and gained motivation to grow in ministry. Sisters of the regions are asking when the next conference will be. They said this conference helped them build good relationships and share about their experience in ministry. Pastors would like to continue to support this ministry.
We have a few suggestions for future conferences. It would be good if we could organize a special seminar for couples. Another suggestion was that sisters would bring new believers to the conference to disciple them and help them grow in faith. It will be good motivation for mentors. We like these ideas as we plan future conferences.
- For wisdom and health for the team, that the Lord will guide and lead all planned activities over the next three months
- For His provision for a Family conference (during church visits, pastors shared the need for a conference for husband and wife)
- For the trainees; may the Lord use them to serve their communities
- For a 28-year-old lady who is in a deep depression– our team is working directly with her
- For a TB infected guy who is 25 and in a deep depression- local church is helping him