30 March 2021Volunteer teams strengthened
Jos, Jalingo and Gombe now have full strength teams equipped for vision sharing, counselling and testing following new volunteer training.
In total, 24 people participated in the five-day training in early February in Jos that was designed to strengthen existing teams and also equip the members of the new Bogoro team.
Participants learnt techniques for clearly communicating the gospel of grace, openness and love, as well as the biblical perspective on social righteousness.
There were lots of practical sessions about how to build relationships with local church leaders, organise vision sharing, counselling and testing, and establish life sharing support groups in churches.
At the end of the programme participants were invited to commit to volunteering with Grace & Light for two years; all did. On the Sunday they experienced their first church visit, as they joined Jos team for outreach in a couple of local churches.
“At the beginning some of the volunteers were motivated by the allowances they hoped to receive,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.
“By the end they had rededicated their lives to Christ and were inspired to serve their local churches. In their feedback they said they had got something much bigger – stronger relationships with Christ, ministry skills and confidence to serve.”
Please pray for:
- New volunteers will continue to grow in their relationships with God and commitment to serving him as Grace & Light volunteers
- Churches continue to open their doors to Grace & Light teams, receive our message of social righteousness and change their lives to honour God.
30 March 2021Fruitful Day in Bauchi
Churches in Bauchi open their doors to Grace & Light volunteers.
Mid-January Pofi Josiah and Alfred Mshelizah spent a day in Bauchi State 150 kilometres from Jos. In the morning they met 15 potential volunteers attending churches in COCIN Bogoro regional church council area.
This was a time for the participants to hear more about Grace & Light as well as the roles and responsibilities of volunteers. Five people have now formed a new Bogoro team. We are delighted to welcome then into Grace & Light.
Then in the afternoon Pofi and Alfred met leaders of COCIN Tafawa Balewa regional church council to restart their relationship with Grace & Light.
“We explained what Grace & Light is all about, and reminded them they’d had a volunteer team but it has been quiet four years now,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.
“These leaders were supportive and promised to gather local pastors and wives for a workshop.”
This happened on 11 February when 137 people came together for a full day workshop on social righteousness from the biblical perspective.
The pastors and their wives split into four groups and each group explored one of the topics – corruption, wealth and poverty, the gospel and HIV, and sexual and gender-based violence.
“They recognised that in the gospels Jesus and openness defeat these issues. Before the workshop many of the leaders did not know much about HIV and issues of stigma and discrimination,” said Tassie.
“Now they are inviting our Jos and Bogoro teams into their Sunday services to share these issues with their congregations and test for HIV/ AIDS.”
Please pray for:
- New volunteer team in Bogoro as they organise Sunday visits to local churches to share the gospel of social righteousness and test people for HIV/ AIDS
- Congregations in Tafawa Balewa will be open to the gospel message and call to live lives that honour God at work, in their homes, with their money and relationships with others.
30 March 2021COCIN Vwang churches tackle sexual and gender-based violence
Churches in the COCIN Vwang regional church council area are inviting the Jos volunteer team to deliver our sexual and gender-based violence workshop for their congregations.
This follows a half day seminar for church leaders on 13 February at which international coordinator Tassie Ghata introduced Grace & Light and gave a taster of our full day sexual and gender-based violence workshop.
One hundred and seventy people attended, representing all the congregations in Cocin Vwang.
As a result Grace & Light is being invited to deliver the workshop in numerous churches. We are now fundraising so we are able to both deliver the workshop and establish the gender champions programme in these churches.
Vwang is south of Jos in Plateau State, and not an area where Grace & Light has been active until now.
Please pray for:
- Jos volunteers as they deliver the training in churches
- Jos headquarters team as they manage the gender champions programme in multiple churches
- Church leaders as they encourage their congregations to attend the training and volunteer to become gender champions
- Gender champions as they mentor victims of sexual and gender-based violence, as well as the perpetrators.
30 March 2021Honouring God at work and home
Christians in a rural community commit to living lives that honour God at work and in their homes.
Two hundred and fifty people joined our three day workshop in mid-January at Cocin Chemet, a church in a rural area outside Jos. We looked at what social righteousness means in practice for them.
The community has a number of issues including multiple rape cases. Many of the young people are unemployed even though the village has a lot of agricultural land that is not being used.
“In talking about work and corruption we compared them to the Muslim village nearby where people work hard at farming and explained that what God gives them they need to use,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.
“We said nobody should be lying down thinking they are poor, waiting for others to fix their problems. Instead we encouraged them to support each other, share what they have and not suffer alone. We will follow up to see how they do.”
The volunteers also shared that women and men are created equal and both are made in God’s image. They honour God when they treat each other with respect, support each other and work together better.
This includes men being willing to help in the home and women being willing to let them help.
“People had been keeping quiet when they see things that are wrong. Instead we challenged them to speak out and do something about the rapes and other gender-based violence.
Please pray for:
- Young people will be inspired to work hard and support themselves
- Healing for people who have been raped, and for the perpetrators who live in the same community
- Strong, supportive loving relationships between wives and husbands
- Wisdom for parents as they bring up children to know and fear the Lord
- Funding so we can deliver this three-day workshop covering work and corruption, wealth and poverty and sexual and gender-based violence in more Nigerian churches.
30 March 2021Tough message changes hearts
Church congregations continue to accept Grace & Light’s tough social righteousness message and commit to changing their lives.
“Nigeria is in turmoil at the moment. Our volunteers are helping congregations see that they are part of the problem and need to be part of the solution,” explains international coordinator Tassie Ghata. “They are recognising that Christians need to take responsibility rather than blaming others, especially state and federal leaders.
In church after church, when Grace & Light volunteers speak about changing to lives lived according to gospel values, people are transformed. They begin to talk about how they are going to change their lives. This is particularly encouraging for our volunteers as people are taking our message to heart.
“They say they will arrive on time at work and leave on time. They’ll no longer cheat in business, They will be calling corruption ‘corruption’ rather than ‘business’” adds Tassie.
Jos volunteers held a rededication service at a church near the University of Jos for Valentine’s Day. Using I Corinthians 13 and Ephesians 5 they called on men to show practical love to their wives and girlfriends, parents to show love without spoiling their children.
“It is a church full of students and many did not know sex and love are different. Parents thought spoiling their children was showing love. Now they have a clearer understanding of how to love the way Christ loves them,” said Tassie.
Three volunteer teams have been active in the first two months of 2021. Jos, Yola, and Jalingo team between them visited nine local churches in January and February.
In total they shared the gospel of social righteousness with 1,936 people and tested 440 for HIV/ AIDS. No one tested positive.
Of these 413 people chose to join life sharing accountancy groups in their churches, 379 people rededicated their lives to Christ and another 52 made first commitments.
Please pray for:
- life sharing groups: members remain committed to meeting regularly, trust each other to share openly, listen to each other and show understanding and support, hold each other accountable for behaviours and growing relationship with God
- New converts and those who rededicated their lives: they will live out their commitment to behaving in ways that honour God at work, at home with family and with friends
- Volunteer teams struggling to visit churches: Gombe, Lafia, Biu, Damaturu, Potiskum, Bauchi, Mangu, Michika, Hong.