18 January 2023Tassie Ghata visiting the UK this spring
Our international coordinator Tassie Ghata will be in the UK from 24 March to 7 April, spending a week in southern England and then a week in the North.
She is looking forward to meeting as many supporters as possible during these two weeks.
Events already organised include afternoon tea for supporters in and near London on 25 March, and speaking at The Hub Upper Beeding the following morning.
Let Jo Ann Eastgate know if you would like to join our London supporters event or the details for Upper Beeding.
Tassie is also interested in meeting new congregations and church groups. Do contact Jo Ann if you would like to invite her to visit. Jo Ann’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Please pray for:
- Safe travel for Tassie as she flies to London and then as she drives around the UK
- A warm welcome at the many churches and groups Tassie visits during her two weeks
- Strengthened relationships with the charities and trusts that support Grace & Light
- Wisdom as we plan Tassie’s itinerary so we can fit in everyone who wants to meet her.
18 January 2023Activism to end violence against women and girls
Grace & Light has helped amplify the voices of female survivors of gender-based violence as a supporter of the UN’s campaign 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence.
Staff and volunteers in Jos and Yola hosted or joined activities on 12 of the 16 days including visiting churches and speaking at events.
Highlights include speaking in Agingi town square on market day and offering HIV/AIDS counselling and testing to visiting farmers and local residents on World Aids Day 1 December. Fifty-two people chose to be tested. Agingi is a poor rural community near our Jos office.
Highlight in Yola was participating in a day long series of lectures before 400 people from across local churches.
“We shared our experiences of sexual and gender-based violence from the many churches we support in Yola and other areas, plus answered lots of questions about how churches should respond and what signs to look out for,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.
16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence is an annual campaign that begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until International Human Rights Day on 10 December.
On its website UN Women says
Violence against women and girls remains the most pervasive human rights violation around the world. Already heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic, its prevalence is now being further increased by the intersecting crises of climate change, global conflict and economic instability.
Against this setting, a backlash against women’s rights is underway around the world. Anti-feminist movements are on the rise, attacks against women human rights defenders and activists are up, and the legal status of women’s rights is increasingly imperiled in many countries.
Regressive new laws are exacerbating impunity for perpetrators of domestic violence, governments are using force against femicide and gender-based violence protestors, and women’s rights organisations are being increasingly marginalised.
Please pray for:
- Women and girls in Nigeria who are facing violence in their families and places of work, that they will have courage and support to persuade their abusers to change behaviours
- Men and boys in the Agingi community will treat their wives, sisters, mothers and daughters with respect as equals.
18 January 2023Lutheran trainee pastors embrace social righteousness
Trainee Lutheran pastors in Adamawa State have deeper understanding of social righteousness following a Grace & Light workshop.
International coordinator Tassie Ghata led the three day workshop in late November at the Lutheran seminary in Mbamba for 348 theological students and local pastors.
“We spent lots of time looking at what scripture says about wealth and poverty, work and corruption, sexual and gender-based violence, and politics. Then we talked through what it all means in practice in their communities and churches,” said Tassie.
“Even though they are church leaders they still struggle with what everyone in Nigeria struggles with. They are in church every Sunday but don’t know why they are Christians.
“We shared that we aren’t born a Christian, we become Christians when we give our lives to Christ and step into a personal relationship with him. This was a new idea for many.”
Partly this is because many of the students had chosen to study at the seminary because it was the only further education college available to them after secondary school.
At the end of the workshop, Tassie and her team offered HIV/AIDS counselling and testing. One hundred and fifty four people were tested and none was positive.
One hundred and seventy-two rededicated their lives to Christ and ten made a first commitment.
Please pray for:
- Trainee pastors who rededicated their lives or made a first commitment, that they will mature in relationship with Christ and as church leaders
- Seminary leaders will see positive changes in their students and invite Grace & Light back to share with students in 2023.
18 January 2023New team formed after latest training
A new team has formed in Abuja following new volunteer training in late October.
Five people have joined the volunteer team in Masaka a town near Abuja and visited their first local church for its Sunday service in November.
“We are encouraged to see the team is active in their community so soon after completing training,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.
In total 28 people joined our four day training programme at our Jos headquarters between 19-23 October. During the training, they explored in depth the scriptural basis for social righteousness, which underpins all we do.
This includes our response to HIV/AIDS, medical and societal aspects of the disease, counselling, care and support, team work and relationships, how to contact churches, preaching, establishing voluntary savings and accountability groups and action committees that administer Grace & Light activities in each church.
They also learnt how to share Grace & Light’s four key social righteousness focuses – poverty and wealth, work and corruption, sexual and gender-based violence, and the politics of righteousness.
“When many of them heard about these four areas they realised they were not doing very well and committed to better serving God. They had realised they didn’t understand about how to live as Christians,” said Tassie.
Participants were able to put what they learnt into practice on the final day during vision sharing, counselling and testing in three Jos churches.
The other 23 participants have joined four existing teams – Mangu, Jos, Yola and Lafia – and have been visiting churches in their areas.
Please pray for:
- The new volunteers will remain motivated and join their volunteer teams in visiting at least one church a month in their area
- Churches will welcome Grace & Light volunteer teams into their Sunday services to preach, counsel and test for HIV/AIDS.
18 January 2023Social righteousness changes lives
Congregations recognise the difference between serving God and attending church, dramatically changing their lives when they hear Grace & Light’s message of social righteousness.
Many Nigerians believe their lives are okay because they go to church each Sunday; they assumed this is what God wants of them. Then they hear Grace & Light’s message with its call to live lives that honour God.
“Our message challenges them to commit to serving God, not just attending church,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata. “It penetrates deeply into their hearts. When we return we are struck by the changes in their lives.
“We find they are more honest at work and say they are now working for God not men, there is less corruption in their lives.”
Grace & Light volunteer teams visit each church at least once a year, focusing on one of our key areas each visit – poverty and wealth, work and corruption, sexual and gender-based violence, and politics of righteousness.
“If the topic is poverty and wealth, when we return we find the congregation is no longer begging. Instead they have work and are saving for their futures,” said Tassie.
“If work and corruption, a year later we find they are behaving honestly with customers and employers.
“If sexual and gender-based violence, we return to find they are treating their spouses and children with respect and honour, neighbours and families are reconciled.
If politics of righteousness, they are voting and participating in politics in ways that honour God, rather than buying and selling votes.”
Nine volunteer teams have been active during 2022. Between them the Jos, Yola, Gombe, Lafia, Zing, Hong, Jalingo, Abuja and Mangu teams visited 96 local churches.
In total these teams shared the gospel of social righteousness with 26,603 people and tested 3,296 for HIV/ AIDS. Only 13 people tested positive and are now receiving ongoing support.
Out of those who tested 3,152 people (96%) chose to be open about their HIV status with family and close friends.
Many stepped into deeper relationships with God. 3,613 people rededicated their lives to Christ and another 417 made first commitments.
The teams are finding fewer people are coming forward for HIV/AIDS screening as most have been tested in the past and know their status.
Please pray for:
- Our nine active volunteer teams, that members will be committed to visiting at least one church each month during 2023
- Our non-active volunteer teams will overcome barriers and begin visiting churches in 2023. They are Bauchi, Obudu, Michika, Langtang, Fufore, Zaria, Izzi, Agubia, Echaria, Ndiegu-Azu, Ankpa, Biu, Damaturu and Potiskum
- Church congregations will encourage and support each other as they seek to live lives that honour God
- Pastors and other leaders of the 96 churches will encourage and support their congregations.
18 January 2023Committing to shaping the future
During 2022 we helped shape the lives of students who now want to make a positive difference to Nigeria’s future.
It is becoming harder to visit schools and share Grace & Light’s message of social righteousness with students. During 2022 our Jos and Yola teams visited12 schools in the first three months of the year, three schools in June and July and then one in October.
They were unable to arrange visits for six months of the year, while four teams who were actively visiting schools prior to Covid have been unable to restart visits.
However, when we do visit our impact is huge. Students recognise they are bullying each other and their teachers, abusing and being abused sexually, and cheating in exams or sitting tests for each other.
“When they hear us speak they realise they are the future and can help shape the future of Nigeria making it better for themselves and their families,” said international coordinator Tassie Ghata.
During 2022 the Jos and Yola volunteers visited 16 secondary schools. They shared the gospel of social righteousness with 3,301 students. Of these, 1,338 chose to be tested for HIV/ AIDS, just two students tested positive.
Eight hundred and eighty-eight students rededicated their lives to Christ (27%), and another 336 made a first Christian commitment (10% of the total).
Please pray for:
- More schools to open their doors to Grace & Light teams during 2023. Our aim is to visit a minimum of 30 schools each year
- The Jalingo, Lafia, Gombe and Bauchi teams restarting their visits to secondary schools in their areas
- Students who commit to honouring God receive support and encouragement to continue in their changed lifestyles