We have a saying in DML: Dream big, start small, go deep. Dreaming is easy and fun. Starting is often difficult and overwhelming. Going deep is challenging because it requires time and often intense relationships.
Pastor Anthony and his wife, Leticiah, have their shovels out and are digging deep. Leticiah, a lawyer who has been working on women’s rights cases for many years, said that the day that they heard the message from DML about the role of the church being one that equips people to go rather than bringing people into the church to “receive” was the “best day ever.” She had been working at the Women’s Legal Aid Shelter and it was very discouraging work. She just wanted to leave the work of being a lawyer and “work for God” (meaning work at a church). But the message of DML changed her perspective on her work and she didn’t sleep the night after she heard our talk.
Since then, she has poured herself into her work with new energy. An opportunity came to her to work with 80 women in her community, which is made up of many poor, many Muslims, and many people with AIDS. Many of these individuals have access to the antiretroviral medication, but they often don’t have the money for the food that must be taken with the medicine for it to be effective. Leticiah shared that many have told themselves that they are dying, so why do business? Leticiah was asked to offer counsel to these individuals in different forms, including spiritual counseling and vocational counseling. This was an excellent shift for her and the stories then began to pour out about how she is doing her work as an act of worship, as well as teaching others to do the same. Leticiah and Pastor Anthony do this at their church, which has now doubled in number. The stories they share are amazing as they have poured themselves into these individuals and have developed 25 different businesses that can be successful in their area.
Let me share just a couple of these stories:
- Aleema* is a Muslim woman with AIDS. She became a Muslim when she married her husband. He passed away from AIDS not too long ago. Aleema has now become a Christian and has learned from Leticiah how to make liquid soap and doormats. For the first time in her life, she now owns a phone and is able to pay her own health insurance. Her children are amazed that they no longer need to send money to take care of Mom!
- Danah* was a Muslim and married to a Muslim man. Both are HIV positive. Her husband is a habitual offender and has served a total of 26 years in five different sentences for armed robbery. Even while he was in prison, he continued to do illegal business. In going through the counseling with Pastor Anthony and Leticiah, Ahmed* first discovered with great surprise that Christians are loving. Then he learned, with his wife, to do business. They are now doing rabbits, ducks, chickens, and shoemaking. He is also doing something with cockroaches – extracting the milk for something but I was shuddering too much to understand what! He comes early to the church (this group meets at the church four times per week) and sweeps, mops, and cleans the place voluntarily. He is successful and people are trusting him for the first time in his life. His wife has given her life to Christ but Ahmed has not yet. We can pray for him!
(*Names changed to protect confidentiality.)
Pastor Anthony and Leticiah have also started three savings and loan groups in their community, where the people save, lend money to themselves as a group, and receive any interest paid as dividends. They can’t seem to open enough of these before they are full and needing to start another one. One woman, doing business now because of this program, has saved $450 and has bought a plot of land. She is amazed by this!
Pastor Anthony and Leticiah continue to share the good news that work is a good thing – that we have been put on this earth for a short period of time to give of our time, talent, and treasure to bring the Kingdom of God on earth a little more each day. They have been invited to speak on TV and radio and because of that we had a great gathering of leaders to share the message with while we were in Tanzania.
God is moving among His people and we give thanks!
We are now in Kenya which is a little more shut down because of COVID, but we look forward to seeing what God is doing here!