We have had a busy few months, with Rooted in Jesus Junior conferences being held in April in the Diocese of Eastern Zambia and May in the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist in South Africa (click to read the reports) – both of which have been using Rooted in Jesus for some time, but now wish to extend the programme to their Sunday Schools.
RinJ Junior is proving very effective; the parish of Mkuti in Tanzania which has been using it for a couple of years wrote recently to report on their 100-150 strong Sunday School group:
“We are proud for the following achievement:
- Children are able to pray
- Children are familiar with important biblical verses
- Children pay visits to disabled and orphans as a sign of love
- A sense of love and belonging has grown up among children
- Children take part in church services, they sing and dramatize
- They managed to become number one in offering and got prize twice
- They visited Lindi parish where they exchanged and shared experiences with their fellows”
Working with new networks in Kenya
Also in May, a team led by Brian Keel introduced RinJ to two Pentecostal network of churches in Kenya, Glad Tidings and Vine International. Groups have already started, and early feedback is promising. Pastor Daniel Makecho, who is overseeing a number of the new groups, reports:
- “We are doing fine here, yes I was in my group and we have started on a wonderful note. This program is so wonderful, very inviting as you go through and very encouraging. In one of the groups in Lwandanyi church, people are so excited that time has now become an issue, very contributing and setting so many examples [from] their own lives… People are being healed from situations that seemed so private to them and they always thought there was no clear answer to them. We prayed with one lady who has been suffering from rejection to a point where she thought God also had rejected her. She only came to church because neighbours are coming. She discovered that day that God loves her the way she is and has forgiven her all her mistakes and even died for her. She also discovered that actually her family also love her through the examples people were giving to show that people in their family love them. We received some insights from people I have never heard speak before. One person gave her life to Christ.”
Groups are also growing in Tanzania, not least in the Diocese of Mount Kilimanjaro where Charles Unjiro reports that 12 new groups have been started in Moshi by those who have completed the first book of RinJ together. RinJ is being used for confirmation classes throughout the diocese, where 60 new churches were planted in 2013. Charles comments: “I thank God for this course of Rooted in Jesus because it brings real change to my own life; the roots have added to me day by day, when I read and teach lessons from the book, and I have many things to share with others. One of my group members said, ‘even if we are many, this book is like speaking to us individually’; another said, ‘this book is a revelation from God’ – and I agree with her.”
News from Zambia is good too; Jon Witt of Dignity Worldwide has contributed an article entitled ‘Lives transformed in Africa’ for ReSource magazine on the Life Groups he oversees in Zambia which use RinJ – you can read it here. There are currently some 139 groups meeting in various parts of Zambia, with a new local leadership team taking increasing responsibility for them. Jon reports:
“The overall trends are that groups are progressing through the books (Rooted in Jesus & Love Your Village) at a slow, steady pace and that many people are being encouraged and becoming Christians. Many groups have continued to be useful in their community. Some are making small changes in their communities that no doubt make large changes to individuals, whilst other groups are making changes that affect the community as a whole. All show a change in togetherness and focus within communities.
- In Chipapa (North-East Zambia) the Life! Group has mended the roof of a lonely elderly lady. We have heard similar stories many times and we hope to hear many more.
- The Life! Group in Musonda are currently collecting ground nuts with a view to growing a crop next year. We have seen other groups run similar schemes and, in due course, either donate the food to those in need or sell the food to raise funds for school books and uniforms.
- In Kamalamba, 3 Life! Groups have been meeting for some time now and going from strength to strength. Here Kasongo and Rebeck, local group leaders, have been encouraging the 4 groups towork together and to make a change in their wider community which meant they were ready to face a big challenge that came to them this rainy season. Two of the villages are divided by a stream with a small bridge connecting them. The bridge also helps the further away village gain access to the shorter route to the main road. The extremely heavy rains this season washed this bridge away, cutting a vital route for both villages. The Life! Groups in the area came together and managed to unite their communities. As a result, they were able to reconstruct the broken bridge and open up the route for the good of many people. We hope to continue hearing many more testimonies that are an outward sign of an inward change.”
To find out more visit dignityonline.org.uk.