News for Middle of May 2005
Global Village Next Door!
"The Earth Institute at Columbia University is launching its first Millenium Village, a new global approach to lift developing country villages out of the poverty trap that afflicts more than a billion people worldwide."(internet, 21st April 2005)
I have recently discovered that the UN have chosen a neighbouring village
(3/4 hours cycling distance) to my home as their African trial for achieving 'Millenium Development Goals'. The idea (as far as I can gather from the
internet) is that they are to pump a lot of money into this village (3/4 million dollars plus seems to be being talked about) in order to prove that more money and more resources is the answer to the 'problem of poverty' in the world. Once this trial has run for 3 years (2 years to go) then if the Millenium Development Goals are met here, massive investment will begin throughout the Continent.
That simple description may be inaccurate. For more details, put Bar Sauri
(the name of the village) into a search engine on the net. I was actually cycling
through the village once a few years ago, and was surprised to meet a convoy
of about 30 big 4WDs on a dirt track - these were presumably the UN folks. It
is hard to know just what to say in response to this happening.
Big projects usually create a lot of distraction from real issues in life, rarely last very long and have a negative long term impact. New investments become like older ones that are already lying derelict. It is just a bit extraordinary that the UN should choose to focus on a village that is on my doorstep in Yala!
Prison To Christ
Give thanks that the father to one of our YTC teachers has recently both been released from prison, and accepted Christ to rule his life! Our teacher had often told us how his father had spent all his adult life in and out of prison, typically held for violent robbery, and how he was consistently totally unrepentant. Last Saturday he dreamt that his father had been released. He decided to home to check (1 ½ hours walk), and ound him there not only freed but now also a born again Believer!
The day after receiving the news above, I visited another friend in my home
village, only to be surprised to see a certain lady where I did not expect her.
This wife to a colleague of mine left her husband about a year ago, as he was
possessed by ghosts that were making his behaviour unpredictable.
Give thanks that he has been healed, and that his wife has now returned to> him!
Recognising that the whole of life is dependent on spiritual forces gives people in this part of the world a great affinity for prophecy. This to the extent that a colleague of mine was developing a reputation for spending up to 2 hours ever Sunday in church services healing a string of people of various ailments by praying for them until they fall down, sometimes repeatedly. This excess was beginning to trouble people, especially as it made church services very long, and healing came to be more the centre than Christ. Give thanks for the counsel that the above is these days getting to help him to put this healing ministry into perspective.
One of the improvements brought to village life by the colonial age has been
the digging of toilets. Instead of people helping themselves behind trees and
in the bushes, almost every homestead these days has its own toilet.
This is constructed by digging a deep hole (20 or 30 feet is typical), then covering the top with timbers and soil except for a small hole. A screen of some sort, typically with a roof is then constructed over the hole for the sake of privacy.
Unfortunately timber is liable to rot, and in this part of the world also to being eaten by termites. This means that there is a danger of toilets collapsing, and the person helping themselves suddenly finding themselves in the bottom of a deep hole. This has recently happened to two ladies who I know well in churches with whom I am working. Both are giving thanks to God for coming out alive and well, and for it having been them and not a visitor to the home or some other person who fell in. Prayer needed for toilets to be strong enough!
KIST / YTC / STC
All the above schools are now up and running! KIST classes began on 4th May, YTC on 6th, and STC will begin this Saturday (14th May). Pray for opening days, which are so far encouraging.