Monthly Archives: May 2014

Recent conferences & news

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.

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a RinJ Junior workshop in Eastern Zambia

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.”

New group leaders from Vine International, Bungoma, Kenya

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.

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  • 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.

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Following Jesus in troubled times

As you know, we support Anglican dioceses in many of the poorest and most troubled parts of Africa. Last year we visited the Diocese of Toliara in Madagascar just after a devastating cyclone. News from the diocese is good, morale has grown, and Bishop Todd reports that Rooted in Jesus is now running in every parish in the diocese. A team returned from the Diocese of Katanga in DR Congo in March, and coordinator Stéphane Makata reports that groups have started, and that he has planned a programme of parish visits to support and encourage the new leaders. We are hoping that we will be able to return soon to the Diocese of Nord Kivu, and a team is also planned for the Diocese of Boga later in the year, both also in the DR Congo.

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The place which is struggling the most at the moment, though, is South Sudan. We have worked in four dioceses in Sudan and South Sudan, and have invitations to two more. I want to share with you some reflections from two of the bishops, Bishop Andudu Elnail of Kadugli and Bishop Moses Deng Bol of Wau. You will find a full report on our website, but here are some things to think and pray about:

Reflecting on the week leading up to the death of Jesus, Bishop Andudu writes:

“I know that we in the Nuba Mountains and other places in Sudan and South Sudan, are in that bad week similar to the one that the disciples and followers of Jesus had, of frustration, fear and hopelessness.  In our region a meal for a child or elderly person is a challenge, we live in fear, we don’t know what we are going to eat or give our children in the following day. We don’t know that we are going to be alive in the next day, who is going to die next and how? by a bullet or Air bombardment, or Malaria. Who is going to save me on the next day, where will I sleep tonight after my house is burned or destroyed? How will I  protect myself from scorpions, snakes or mosquitoes in the dark of the Cave in the mountains where most of Nuba currently live? Those are the frustrations and hopelessness of the bad week, this bad situation is real but Jesus also is real. Brothers and sisters in the Nuba Mountains and elsewhere, may the good news of resurrection bring you hope, encouragement and healing. May the resurrected Lord be real to you, may He be present to each and every one of you.”

Rooted in Jesus conference, Diocese of Wau

Rooted in Jesus conference, Diocese of Wau

Bishop Moses Deng Bol offers a challenge to us here in our affluent society:

“South Sudanese people are good at celebratin; given half a chance people will sing and dance and it does not take long for more people to join in. I take a lot of joy in this, I think it is  beautiful and precious. At times of national celebration you can really feel a sense of joy, it is  for me this sense of joy that reminds me what life is really about. It is true, we cannot be  happy all day every day but if you lose this sense of joy then really something is missing  from your life and you are not whole. When I have been to other places which are more developed countries you often hear people say that they are too busy. They think only of work that must be done and ignore  things that should bring them joy. As an African I must ask how can you be too busy to be  happy? It makes no sense. Jesus was a person who always took joy in others and spent much time healing people so that they could once again be happy also.

In Mathew 8 we can see a  prediction from Isaiah that says “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.” This was a very personal thing that Jesus did. He was not doing what was normal, or just acceptable according to the law of Moses, but he was doing what was right and what  needed to be done. (…) When we look around our new country of South Sudan it is obvious that there is a thing  which needs to be done. Since just before Christmas we have been a fearful and divided nation. We did not celebrate Christmas as we should. There has been a lot of bloodshed and  violence, much destruction and pain. As a country we are not well, we are not happy and we  are not whole. It is obvious that we need healing. People all over the world know this.  Just like the poor suffering people in the Gospel stories it seems that a miracle will be  needed to heal us. But I am a man of faith and I believe in miracles and I believe that God  can bring South Sudan the healing which really it needs.”

To download the full report please click here; to read our other recent news click here. If you would like to support our work in South Sudan and the DR Congo you can do so by clicking here. If you would like to join our prayer network please contact Frances Hazell at office@rootedinjesus.net.

Posted 13th May 2014 by Revd Dr Alison Morgan

Discipleship training in South Africa

The God Who is There starts in South Africa

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The God Who is There is a discipleship programme published by ReSource and adapted from Rooted in Jesus for use in more urban and western contextsand we have now licensed Growing the Church to print it in South Africa. The first training took place earlier this year in Saldanha Bay, led by Revd Trevor Pearce, and initial responses were very positive. Nigel and Gwen Burns wrote: “This course is for those who are seeking, for new Christians and mature seasoned Christians. It slowly adds layers with simple questions that build up deeper and deeper with meaning. It is a course where everyone is of equal importance and where everyone’s opinion counts. The course is stimulating and uplifting and openly encourages the people attending to let the Holy Spirit mentor and guide them. That is why there is no need for a leader, only a facilitator and guide. Bonds and a feeling of love and open sharing are fruits that grow very quickly. All you need is a willing heart and a willing spirit to leave your preconceptions at the door – for truly God is in control.” To read the GtC report click here. To find out more about The God Who is There visit the Mathetes Trust website.

Alison Morgan is looking forward to speaking on discipleship and the Word of God at the Anglicans Ablaze Conference in Johannesburg from 2nd to 5th July, and will be spending a day at St Luke’s church, Orchards on Saturday 28th June to offer training on The God who is There.

Posted 12th May 2014 by Revd Dr Alison Morgan