When Ben Allsop visited partners in Zambia, he was struck by the strength of relationships the Christian staff members have with the communities in which they work. Returning home with his own faith encouraged and uplifted, he reflects here on how faith permeates through the daily interactions between staff and community.
For me, the most outstanding part of visiting our partners was to see first-hand the warm and trusting relationships that their staff build with local people. What these remote communities in Zambia have been able to achieve in less than 3 years is remarkable. The progress so far has quickly created momentum and appetite for further change.
This is happening because of the faith-filled work of our partners and their staff. Watching workers like Asten, Elyna and Kentmore in action is very encouraging. They respect the community; they care for the community and often travel hours to get there. They sacrifice other careers, ambitions and time with family to participate in what God is doing. Clearly, they see their work as ministry – a calling that reflects a heart for God, using God’s gifts to them.
It’s also clear that their work is shaping their faith, and their faith is shaping their work. Some of the staff reflected back to me how their relationships with community are helping shape their practice of loving God.
It’s a huge encouragement to me too. Although thousands of kilometres separate me from these communities, it’s reassuring to know that the calling to use our skills to work towards justice is just as relevant here in Australia, as it is in Zambia. The same faith and trust in God unites us, motivates us and inspires us.
– Asten Nyau, Community Development Worker (ROCS).
Asten’s work takes him into villages several hours from his home and young family, but fatigue never seems to be a problem. He enthusiastically engages with each person, no matter where they are, or how much time it took to get there.
– Elyna Zulu, Community Development Officer (ROCS).
Softly spoken, Elyna’s calm and gentle demeanour is evidence that you don’t need to be an extrovert to motivate and encourage others to pursue change.
– Kentmore Phiri, Community Development Worker (RCZ).
An agriculture specialist, Kentmore is passionate about improving crop yields. Over his 14 years with RCZ, he has seen many remote communities improve their harvests.
Related projects have received support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).