For years the church members of Tu Pi village had waited for someone to come help them. They were extremely poor—at least three months a year they had to scavenge for food. The village was a three-hour walk from the nearest road, meaning that they had little contact with anyone outside their community. The village had no school, no medical facilities, no market, no electricity, no toilets or wells. Gathering water required a two-kilometer walk. With little discipleship, the church members lived much the same way as the rest of the community— growing tobacco and rice to make rice wine. It made life bearable at least.
Then they heard a rumor that there was a program for churches that was causing communities to move out of poverty. They sent representatives to try to find someone to come and teach them the program. However, when they found the trainer, he refused to come—he was doubtful that if he left his motorbike on the side of the road for three days while he did the training that it would still be there when he got back. However, God convicted the trainer, so he agreed to go to Tu Pi and teach Module 1 of the TCT program.
The church was surprised to learn that God cared about and had a plan for every aspect of their lives—from their health to their crops to their road. They learned that God wanted them to use whatever they had to show others His love. And that even though they were poor, God had given them resources, like time and energy, that He wanted them to use for His glory.
Just over a year later the community sent word to the trainer, “Come back, we have a road now and are ready to learn Module 2.” He returned and was stunned by what he found. The whole community had ripped up the tobacco crops and were now growing rice, beans and corn. They had put in a road and were able to trade. They had wells, toilets and a school. The government had installed electricity and provided a school teacher. Most of the people had stable homes.
When the trainer asked what had happened, they seemed a little confused. “We did what you taught us,” they explained. The church, believing that they could and should change their community, had organized themselves, developed work teams and started to put into place all the changes that they could dream of.
This is not an isolated story (although it certainly happened quicker than most). These sorts of changes are happening in hundreds of communities. As churches begin to see what they have, rather than what they lack, as they stop believing the lies that they can’t make a difference or it isn’t their responsibility then, with God’s help, they are able to bring great change to their communities.
This month we are praying for the church around the world. Praying that God would open their eyes to understand truth that will set them free.
- That they will no longer believe the lie that they don’t have enough time, money or other resources.
- That they will see what they have, not just what they lack. And that they would start to use what God has given them to make a difference.
- That they will no longer feel like someone else should solve their community’s problems, but understand their calling to make a difference.
- That they would be willing to love their neighbors, even while facing persecution.
- That they would have a faith that is pure and faultless, that cares for the widows and orphans.
- That God would multiply the efforts of churches as they seek to obey Him.
- That God would continue to use His bride to build His kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven.