I’ve always wondered what it would look like to see the Kingdom of God established firmly here on earth today. We pray for it, but as yet we don't often see it.
I love the description in 1 Kings 4 of life in Israel under Solomon's rule: everyone at peace, with enough to eat, each with their own vine and fig tree. But what would that look like today, and in the poorest places on earth? Having just returned from Uganda, I feel like I have a better idea than ever before…
Seeing is believing in Owii
New Wine and Tearfund have joined forces to work on Change a Nation. Thanks to the churches and individuals supporting Change a Nation, a church-run discipleship programme called the Participatory Evaluation Process (PEP) is bringing spiritual and material change at an incredible rate in Uganda.
Visiting this work gave me a glimpse of the Kingdom of God emerging where before there was only hopelessness. I feel like the Queen of Sheba seeing the wonders of Solomon’s Kingdom…
Owii was just one of the communities I visited on my trip with New Wine church leaders. Ketty, a 64-year-old grandmother of 14, showed us around.
Life before death
The community of Owii started working through the PEP process about eight years ago. Before that time, they were in dire straits.
‘We were doing nothing,’ Ketty told me. ‘We were living in grass houses and had grass-roofed churches. We were not united.’
It was incredible to hear how PEP has changed Ketty’s life and her whole community. ‘It awakened the church,’ is how Ketty describes it.
‘We realised we were meant to be salt and light in the community. For many years the church had concentrated on the spiritual growth of people, but had not thought about life here on earth. So people were not developing in their homes because they were thinking, ‘if only God would take me to heaven!’’
Through PEP, Ketty and others learnt through Bible studies how to use their resources more effectively, as well as the importance of working together to beat poverty.
PEP helped Ketty’s community to identify their biggest problems, and improving access to healthcare emerged as a top priority. With the nearest health centre a 13km walk away, high numbers of women were dying in childbirth. ‘If the baby comes at night, there’s no stopping it, and women couldn’t get help in time,’ Ketty explained.
‘Following PEP, people started beginning projects,’ said Ketty. ‘We started one project, then another and we haven’t stopped!’
A huge amount of work has been done: 58 wells now provide clean water to homes in the village; new schools are educating many children and savings groups have helped families to plan for the future. Birth attendants have been trained and the maternal death rate has fallen drastically.
Alongside that, HIV training and counselling is bringing down the rate of infection and people are growing more crops and raising more animals. This gives families income to pay for food, medical bills, and schooling.
‘We Christians are now seen as people who extend life!’ said Ketty.
This place is bubbling with hope. I've heard a lot about empowered people and communities over the years. My goodness, it is breathtaking when you see it!
Ketty’s community has finished the PEP process, but they have only just started on all they plan to do. There’s no stopping them now. I would love to go back in ten years’ time and see what else they've done.
A sense of shalom pervades the village. The local church has grasped a vision for their call to bring transformation and the results are tangible – the Kingdom of God really is taking root!
Thank you for choosing to be part of Change a Nation. I’ve seen the transformation your support is making possible, and it is incredible.
Praise God for the amazing things taking place in the community of Owii as the church and community work together to solve problems.
- Pray for Ketty and her community as they press forward in confidence and faith to build God’s kingdom in Owii.
- Pray for the team at Tearfund partner Pentecostal Assembles of God (PAG) in Uganda as they support communities like Ketty’s to bring about amazing transformation through PEP.
- Give thanks that the rainy season started on time after a very hot dry season. Pray that the rains will allow those who rely on farming to grow enough food.