Sawubona (sow-boh-nah) – “Hello” SPC Family
Our first visitation today was to the Tentele Make Savings group. We were greeted with the traditional opening of prayer and joyful praise singing. There are 17 women who raise poultry for sale commercially. This group was formed as a small community association through World Vision in 2016. This began with World Vision providing education resources to teach about the operation of the business and the formation of a community savings program as a result of the money made by the business. Their common effort is to raise chickens that are sold to restaurants and eggs are also sold. As a result of their financial success, they have been able to fund their own community savings association. Individually, it has provided for them personal income, taught them to have a personal savings account and to have a community financial reserve for small loans and to help others in their savings group when they have financial hardship as well as emergency situations such as a fire or family health crisis. These women with great joy and pride shared their individual stories of now being able to purchase a new kitchen stovetop, paying for electricity and their water sources, new table and chair for their children to sit at to do their homework, a new roof, a new car, and now having the necessary means for buying clothes and shoes for their families. These remarkable women lovingly prepared a delicious lunch for us of chicken, sweet potatoes, spinach and even popcorn. We gathered outside and loved singing more glorious songs with them praising our God.
Next we visited the children's savings group. Once again we opened in prayer and praise singing. The children gathered here were between 3 and 17 years old. They meet for one hour every Saturday and begin their meeting with prayer, singing and Bible reading. They learn about saving and each have their own account. Individual children came forward to tell us what they were now able to purchase…….new shoes, colorful skirts, dresses, and trousers. Our closing time with them was spent shaking their hands and giving them high 5’s with BIG smiles on their faces. Some of our USA children could definitely learn from them.
For our final World Vision visitation, we returned to the AP Office to meet with the 13 local pastors…faith leaders. We each introduced ourselves. The pastors remarked that World Vision brought them together to form a council of churches. Through these trainings, they now have an open mind and go beyond preaching. The pastors help advocate for children to be protected from child abuse, provide for the needy, and help pregnant mothers and young children. After every Sunday service, they give a meal to the children and clothes to wear. They purchase vegetables to help feed young children and the pastors have seen an increase in the number of children coming into their churches. Pastors do include women and a lovely pastor woman shared her story, Pastor Jeff asked the pastors what is their biggest challenge? Their common response was……Poverty.
We concluded with a joyful reflection of the wonderful time and engagement with World Vision staff who met our every need and provided a complete 4 day agenda. They presented to each of us colorful serape and beaded necklace. Our group of 12 and the World Vision hosts depart with wonderful shared love of each other and love of Christ.
Phil and Lynn Ross