Week 2 - The Local Church in Africa
In each community, volunteers from the local church create safe places where the children come to play and eat and be educated. Grandmothers, aunties and other primary caregivers of the vulnerable children in the community are invited to come together and support one another in their struggles. Pray these places will be centres of life where joy is experienced and restoration takes place.
I lift up my eyes to the hills - from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth - Psalm 121:1-2 (NRSV)
Peter, a local pastor and the coordinator of Chisamba Community Based Organisation (CBO), was inspired to tell his story after experiencing a Maranatha Workshop. He grew up with an absent father, and his mother sent him to live with his sister when he was 5. When Peter’s mother was pregnant with him, his father threatened to drown her baby if it was born a girl. Peter's mother begged God for a son, vowing to raise him to be a pastor. God gave her Peter. As he grew up, Peter had no desire to fulfil his mother’s vow. But she was adamant, and pressured him into reluctantly become a pastor.
Peter was placed in a local community church, preaching every Sunday. He and his wife started a family, but his heart ached. Peter resented his mother for her expectations, and he was angry at his father for abandoning him. At home, he would abuse his family and shout at his neighbours. Peter preached the Word of God, yet carried a heart full of rage. At night, he would weep alone, not knowing how to cope.
During the Maranatha Workshop, Peter began to learn about inner wounds, God's love, and the gift of salvation. He was able to recognise where the bitterness he carried came from. As he released himself into God's truths, he was filled with joy, love and forgiveness. A renewed sense of resting in God's grace is now flowing into his family and church relationships. With a new understanding of his Heavenly Father, Peter is able to honestly love and accept his own father.
When Peter first started caring for the most vulnerable children in Chisamba, he hoped to build a school and feed children. Today, this is happening. Now Peter envisions his church creating a place of abundant life; a place of healing, love and acceptance. Peter says, “We can help people who are wounded”. He and the Care Workers of Chisamba CBO are committed to serving not only the children they are caring for, but also their primary caregivers. Each day, they are invited to the Care Point. Here, Peter and the Care Workers teach the community about God’s goodness. Peter is beginning to meet weekly with other pastors in the area. As he tells them his own story, others are sharing their struggles, and together they are finding a new sense of strength in supporting one another and their congregations. Peter says, “We need to focus on Christ, to share the gospel, and show them God's love.”