Beliefs can be powerful. They impact the way that we live, interact with others and see the future. For the students at the Wholistic Development Center (WDC), one of the most common and oppressive misbeliefs is that they have no value. They see themselves as the lowest people in society and believe that they cannot make a difference. They have plenty of life experience to back up this life-stealing belief. Most come from difficult family situations. Many are orphans. Some have illnesses that have affected their appearance.
For many even after two years of school they still struggle to understand the potential that they have. The lies that they have lived with for most of their lives are hard to break. As part of an ongoing program to see the graduating students become nations changers we recently ran a training for staff and past students. (In reality most of the staff are past students).
None of those attending grew up believing that they can make a difference, impact their communities, or be catalysts for change. When they do go back to their home villages, the needs often seem overwhelming, and the churches are typically somewhere between weak and non existent. There is little hope. When pressed, the WDC students share their highest hopes are simply to survive or maybe find a reasonable job in the city and have a slightly comfortable life.
During the training we challenged the participants to see that they are made in the image of God. We showed them the scriptures that say they have been knit together in their mothers’ wombs, and we taught that they have immense value. They do not need to wait for someone else to come and bring change, someone to turn up with money, they can start with what they have—be obedient in just starting—even if it’s something as tiny as picking up some litter. God can and does use one person to be a catalyst of transformation—even the person who is seen as the lowest in society.
Together we looked at beliefs that hold people in poverty: “I can’t do anything”, “poverty is my destiny”, “We need to wait for someone from the outside to solve our problems”, and “God only cares about spiritual things”. Many of the students openly shared that they felt that the training was written specifically for them—they believed all of those lies. And yet, as they started to understand God’s truth, hope finally registered. The belief that ‘God could use even them’ to make a difference finally rang true.
Please do be praying for our WDC graduates and staff as they start to dream together of how they can be catalysts for change in their communities—both in the city where the school is located and in the communities they come from.