Through our partners, Tearfund have led churches across the world to take hold of this truth. We use a process called Umoja. The word means togetherness in Swahili. Umoja started out as a small project in a couple of countries in East Africa, now it is a global movement. It has many names: Participatory Evaluation Process, Church and Community Mobilisation, Chet Tai Muay... but it always means the same thing, getting everyone in the community to lead and control their own development.
We have seen incredible change in Mozambique thanks to this work. Churches understand for the first time that they can bring change to communities through their work and their faith.
beginning with the Bible
The process begins with Bible studies. Trained facilitators do Bible Studies with the church members. They show them how much God loves each one us, no matter our circumstances. They also see, through passages like the Feeding of the Five Thousand, that God doesn’t leave us on our own. Instead he takes the little we offer him, and multiplies it beyond our understanding.
Kubatsirana, one of Tearfund’s partners, organised a meeting about Umoja with Pastor Sibanda's church. Through the studies, he says he understood God’s love for his people for the first time.
The studies focused on identifying and using their own resources. Pastor Sibanda used them to bring the message of Umoja to his church. Many of the believers took the word to their hearts and ran with it!
Because each church and community has different needs, Umoja has different results each time.
Making plans for the future
In Mavende, Pastor Sibanda’s church pooled their money and bought 10 bags of cement. They are going to use it to rebuild their church, so they can move from a mud hut to a brick building.
Other churches have started breeding chickens and sharing the profits. Still more have repaired broken boreholes in their villages. Every church has a different story of how Umoja has brought life to their community.
But Umoja doesn’t just change the material lives of communities, it changes their spiritual lives. Like Pastor Sibanda, people learn that God has a vision for their life.
We used to be powerless, insignificant and despised by others because of where we were. Now even churches in the provincial capital are using us as an example.
We are no longer powerless, we have a vision and we are empowered to achieve it.