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22 July 2022Join Us in the Yorkshire Dales

This year for the first time Grace & Light is organising a fundraising walk in the north of England in the Yorkshire Dales.

Isabelle and Mark Hopkins are organising the walk for Saturday, 3 September based around Wensleydale.

The walk begins in the beautiful village green at Bainbridge and starts with a broad track that climbs arrow-straight up the hillside.

Part way up we meet the Cam High Road; now a track, it was once a Roman road though it is thought to have been a much earlier trade route.

We continue climbing steadily up until we until we reach a shallow valley and cross the watershed where Raydale opens up and we have glorious views down to Semer Water. There are some great places for our picnic here.

After lunch we walk steadily downwards making for the tiny hamlet of Marsett with its traditional cottages clustered round a small green. After Marsett we continue down the valley through pastures.

Eventually the path reaches the roofless ruin of old Stalling Busk church, which dates from the 18th century. After exploring the ruins, we continue down the valley to Semer Water.

At its outlet we find the River Bain which we follow back to the main road and Bainbridge.

For more information and to let Mark know you will be joining the walk email him at marktehopkins@gmail.com

To sponsor Mark visit https://www.sponsorme.co.uk/markhopkins/northern-sponsored-walk.aspx

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • Good weather for the walk, not too hot and not too much rain.
  • A relaxing dry spot for the lunchtime picnic break
  • Generous sponsors for our walkers.

22 July 2022Politics of Righteousness

Volunteer teams now share the politics of righteousness during visits to Sunday services, encouraging Christians to make their votes count.

This is a new strand that has been added to Grace & Light’s mission, giving us four key focuses under social righteousness:

  1. Politics of righteousness
  2. Gender and sexual based violence
  3. Wealth and poverty
  4. Work and corruption.

Volunteers and staff members now cover all four areas when they are sharing in church pulpits, schools, work places, radio shows and political events.

“We are calling on would-be politicians, both Christians and Muslims, to do what is right and serve the people rather than themselves, to make life in Nigeria better for people,” explained international coordinator Tassie Ghata.

“And we are calling on ordinary people not to sell their votes and instead vote for politicians who have a track record of hard work and service.

“Selling votes happens lots in Nigeria. People can be given as little as N1,000 (about £2) for their vote.

“Many people we speak to say they have had enough of politics and are not going to vote in the elections next year. After hearing us speak they realise their vote does matter. They say they will vote and won’t sell their votes.”

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • Grace & Light volunteer teams as they speak in churches, encouraging congregations to vote wisely for the future of Nigeria
  • Would-be politicians as they campaign to be elected, that they would honour God and people in their communities
  • Voters will use their votes wisely to bring change to politics in Nigeria.

22 July 2022Changing behaviours improves mental health

People are committing to showing love and affection, honour and respect to their spouses, with God's help, as they realise they can’t do this on their own.

This realisation inspired hundreds of people in churches in Lafia and Jos during Sexual and Gender-based Violence workshops led by local Grace & Light volunteer teams with support from our Jos staff.

In early June 135 people attended a two day workshop at ERCC Bukan Sidi in Lafia; followed by ministry to the whole church on the Sunday with more than 1,000 people in the congregation hearing the gospel of social righteousness.

Then in mid-June 170 people attended a four day workshop in COCIN Sha’aka, Jos, followed by ministry to 700 people during the Sunday service.

“During both workshops we talked in-depth about sexual and gender-based violence as the cause of stress and mental health issues. People recognised the consequences for themselves and their  family members,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.

“They realised that when they changed these behaviours they would see health issues improve.

“For instance, one man confessed that though he had been married over 20 years he had never taken any woman seriously. He’d never helped at home. Now he sees in The Bible that this attitude is wrong and he is changing his behaviours.”

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • People who attended the workshops will continue to honour their commitments about the way they treat their spouses and other family members
  • Church leaders will continue to encourage their congregations to live lives of social righteousness
  • Other churches in Lafia and Jos will be open to sexual and gender-based violence workshops for their congregations.

22 July 2022Churches work together on social righteousness

Church leaders in Hong, Adamawa State, are working together to address issues of social righteousness in their communities following a Grace & Light workshop.

Sixty-one people from twenty-one churches attended the social righteousness workshop in early May led by the Hong volunteer team with support from our Jos staff team.

Attendees heard presentations explaining Grace & Light’s four areas of focus under social righteousness – gender and sexual-based violence, work and corruption, wealth and poverty, and politics of righteousness.

They then worked in four groups to discuss how these issues impact their communities and identified practical ways of handling the issues within their congregations and in communities.

Each group covered one of the four areas in depth, afterwards reporting back their insights and practical recommendations to the whole group.

“They realised that all their churches face similar issues and that together they have identified ways of resolving that they can work together to implement,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.

“These leaders committed to doing things differently in their churches including how they manage finances, make decisions as a congregation, give women responsibilities, model social righteousness and vote during the coming elections.”

“So many had never attended a workshop before or discussed practical issues with leaders from other churches. The workshop helped build relationships between churches in the area.”

Later in May this workshop was delivered to church leaders in Yola and Gembu. In total 132 people attended these two workshops.

Church leaders in Hong, Gembu and Yola are now more open to inviting the local Grace & Light volunteer teams to minister to their congregations during Sunday services.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • Church leaders in Hong, Gembu and Yola will continue to work together to tackle social righteousness issues in their communities
  • Social righteousness and living according to scripture will continue to be a key focus for the church leaders and their congregations
  • Hong, Gembu and Yola volunteer teams will visit at least one church on a Sunday to minister to the congregations, sharing the gospel message of social righteousness, counselling and testing for HIV/AIDS and establishing Voluntary Savings and Accountability Groups that support people as they apply social righteousness in their lives.

22 July 2022Christians becoming active in politics

Over the past few months people in local churches have been hearing the call to vote wisely for politicians who will lead Nigeria in the best interests of ordinary people.

Volunteers and staff members are delighted that church congregations are taking to heart Grace & Light’s message of righteousness in politics.

“We are calling on Christians, whether they are voters or aspiring politicians, to bring God’s values into politics. For politicians this means being servant leaders who put their communities above their own interests," said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.

“For voters this means using their vote wisely in support of people who will serve our country justly.

“Many people tell us, each time we visit a church, that they have given up on politics and were not going to vote, or were going to sell their vote because they believed it didn’t matter.

“Now they recognise their vote matters and they are committing to voting wisely for the good of Nigeria and Nigerians.”

The volunteer teams are also hearing many cases of rapes and violence in homes between wives and husbands. When they talk about sexual and gender violence they highlight that men don’t need to be aggressive and carry heavy emotional loads.

“Husbands say they are pleased to hear this message, they are willing to face what is happening in their  families, are sorry and open to changing,”said Tassie.

“Instead they commit to sharing responsibilities with their wives and working as a team with their families.”

Six volunteer teams have been active between May and June. Between them the Jos, Yola, Lafia, Jalingo, Hong and Zing teams visited 21 local churches. We are delighted the Lafia, Hong and Zing teams are active again after quite some time.

In total these teams shared the gospel of social righteousness with 6,187 people and tested 750 for HIV/ AIDS. Five people tested positive and are receiving ongoing support and care.

Of those who tested 722 people (96%) chose to join voluntary saving and sharing accountancy groups (VSAGs) in their churches, 730 people rededicated their lives to Christ and another 65 made first commitments. Just 28 people chose to keep their results confidential.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • The people who tested positive, that they will stay AIDS free, take their medications and enjoy healthy lives
  • People who made a first commitment or rededicated their lives, that they will mature in Christ and become salt and light in their communities
  • Active volunteer teams – Jos, Yola, Gombe, Lafia, Jalingo, Hong and Zing – will visit at least one church each month to share the gospel of social righteousness, test people, and set up voluntary savings and accountability groups
  • Volunteer teams struggling to visit churches regularly – Bauchi, Obudu, Mangu, Michika, Langtang, Fufore, Abuja, Zaria, Izzi, Agubia, Echara, Ndiegu-Azu, Ankpa, Biu, Damaturu and Potiskum. Many are in areas of unrest.

22 July 2022Servitude in return for schooling

Changing the narrative for children working as domestic servants in return for schooling and accommodation.

In government schools in Jos many of the children are from the Hausa ethnic group. They are not living with their parents. Instead they are living with grandparents, or wealthy relatives and providing free domestic services in return for schooling.

“Many are unhappy. They are not part of loving families, are treated badly and some suffer significant abuse,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.

“They feel they have no control over what happens to them, their lives are oppressive and they don’t have futures.”

Jos volunteer team members encourage the students by explaining that they are able to change the story of their futures; that where they are now is not the end of their lives even though it feels like it.

“We share this practically through the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers and rose to become the second most important person in Egypt after Pharaoh.

“We call on Christian families to treat any young people they have living with them as well as they treat their own children.”

During May and June the Jos volunteer team visited one government secondary school where domestic servitude was an issue for many of the pupils. Here they shared the gospel of social righteousness with 265 students. Of these, 88 chose to be tested for HIV/ AIDS, no students tested positive.

Sixty-eight students rededicated their lives to Christ, and another 30 made a first Christian commitment.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • Students living as domestic servants with family members, that they will be included with love and affection
  • Students will see they have futures despite their current circumstances
  • Students who made a first commitment or recommitted their lives, that they will grow in maturity and relationship with Jesus Christ.

22 July 2022Arun River fundraising successful

Thanks to the 18 people who joined our fundraising walk along the Arun River to raise funds for volunteer training in Nigeria; and for everyone who supported them financially.

Between us we raised over £400 for a five day new volunteer training programme planned for in the second half of 2022.

Our 10 mile (16km) circular walk took us up and over the spectacular South Downs and along the Arun River.

We begin our walk at the war memorial in Arundel, walking up the steep high street and along the side of Arundel Castle and Arundel Cathedral, through Arundel Park and up onto the South Downs for fabulous views to the sea.

We then walked down and along the Arun River to Houghton Bridge where we stopped for lunch in the secret garden at the delightfully quaint Bridge Inn.

In the afternoon we walked along the opposite bank of the Arun River, to North Stoke and back past the Wetlands Centre and Swanbourne Lake to Arundel for afternoon tea.

There was plenty of time in Arundel to explore its array of antique, book, craft and sweet shops.

Prayer Requests

Please pray for:

  • Grace & Light staff planning the new volunteer training in the autumn

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