Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Leadership training

This year Zambia hosted its first Willow Creek Leadership Summit in Lusaka. We supported 5 pastors to travel down from Serenje and attend the conference, and they've sent us some feedback about how they found it:

'Was a time of personal renewal and reflection. Learnt fresh insights for my ministry.'

'The Conference was Awesome! It was so inspiring.'

'Thank you for blessing us as pastors. We have been challenged to do more – to love the Lord more – put the Lord’s and others interests first.'

"The summit was an inspiration, eye opener, encouraging and a reminder of things I used to do but relaxed. The insights were that, a leader to lead at a new level must lead from Holy discontent. When a leader leads from Holy discontent, he enters a different state of mind and becomes a risk taker. Must be able to create good environment for his followers. Having learnt these new principles I will move my congregation into a vibrant church to fight against injustice"

Leah took the pastors to the conference and says this:

'This was awesome! I felt so inspired and at the same time asked myself "Am I on track, Lord?" It was so exciting to have the Serenje Pastors in the conference as evidence of your obedience to the Lord to act on His command. I recalled the first trip you came and the steps which were taken by your church November 2007 to come to Zambia and compare to where we are at now November 2009 and the impact beginning to show on church leaders and churches and community, men, women and youth and families. May God continue to give the growth!! It is the small steps taken in faith that become part of a big story. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step!'

Leah and these pastors are amazing leaders, with a huge heart for God and the people in their communities. They face many challenges daily and really need our prayers. Please remember them in your prayers as we head into 2010.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Sowing seeds

One of our goals for 2010 is to provide seeds for 700 families. The seeds for the next year have to be planted before December, so we sent some money prior to the Gift Days, to ensure the seed could be distributed in time for planting season. Just before Christmas we received an email from Serenje and Leah, who heads up what we're doing in Serenje, says this:

'Please allow me to express our sincere thanks and appreciation from EFZ, Serenje Pastors and the community leaders of Kashitu, Kankoso, Mwansankano and Chilisha on the support you at Kerith sent recently. This funding is towards purchase of beans, groundnuts and sweet potato vines for 700 beneficiaries, purchase of goats and training beneficiaries in livestock and improved farming methods for better yields.
Rita and I were in Serenje again for 5 days from the 10th to 15th November 09 to be a part of the distribution of the seed to the families affected by HIV and AIDS. There was a lot of activity - hiring trucks to deliver seed, teams of volunteers and pastors for seed distribution in various communities and being among the community itself. It was encouraging to see the zeal from the people but at the same time reflect on personal responsibility of these households to improve their livehoods.'

Here are some photos showing the team praying over the seed and the distribution itself.

It's exciting to see isn't it? Please pray for good weather and that the seeds that have been sown produce a great harvest.

Thank you for giving so generously and making this possible.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Serenje Gift Days

As many of you know, we recently had our Gift Days for Serenje. The current total, including the money carried over from last year, gifts, promised standing orders and expected gift aid is now £107,323. This amount is likely to increase, with gifts and standing order pledges still coming in, and two more Kerith Relief events to go.

Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this. I am so humbled by your generosity and passion for what we're doing in Serenje. Every penny and pound given will go towards changing the lives of people in Serenje. Orphans will go to school for the first time. Families will have food rather than go hungry. Church and community leaders will challenge stigma, and visit and pray for those living with HIV and AIDS.

We received an email this week from Leah who heads up what is happening in Serenje. She was writing to Simon to thank him for the support they receive and she says this:
'We think of you often - always in our hearts. At a personal level I carry Serenje in my heart and all its key stakeholders - Kerith leadership, Tearfund, Serenje Pastors and their churches, EFZ leadership and the community leaders in our 4 project areas of Serenje district. This is a great network to be a part of and watch God work out great things to glorify Himself.'

To God be the glory.