When Heaven meets Earth

Up until two years ago, every single day was a new battle for Patience and her family in Alwego, Tanzania. But today, things couldn’t be more different. Here is her amazing story.

Patience and Isaac got married at 18. Neither of them had any way of making a living, and life was hard from day one. They were struggling to keep themselves and their children alive.

‘I had lost all hope,’ Patience remembers. ‘I no longer dreamed, no longer visualised anything better. I had accepted that this was going to be my life situation until my last day on earth.’

In search of solace, Patience and Isaac started to go to church. Life was so difficult; they believed heaven was the only thing they had to look forward to. But things took an unexpected turn, thanks to a new thing happening at church. Supported by Tearfund partner AICT, Alwego Church had started a process called Church and Community Transformation (CCT).

This is a unique approach to tackling poverty, where people are empowered to grow in the skills and confidence to build their own solutions to lifelong problems. For Patience and Isaac, it was a revelation.

‘I had never associated Christianity with physical wellbeing,’ says Patience. ‘We were so amazed when the CCT facilitators talked about God's vision for his people while on earth. We were trained on how to utilise local resources to transform our own lives, through the potential that God has put in everyone that he created’.

First, Patience joined a self-help group, where people saved small amounts of money. She’d received agricultural training at church, so Patience took a small loan through the group to grow vegetables to eat and sell – a huge step forward.

Another thing the couple learnt through CCT was the value of time, and using it well. They put their heads together, and decided to farm in the mornings and use their afternoons to launch a new business.

The couple started to make and sell soup and donuts. ‘It was this business that blew my mind!’ says Patience. ‘I am among the few self-employed people in my village. I no longer call myself poor. Actually, my average monthly income is £172, which is absolutely unbelievable to me and my husband.’

The new restaurant is so busy, Patience now employs a neighbour to work there. The transformation just keeps on growing and spreading.

1901 Fair2All

‘CCT has not only brought physical transformation in my family life, but has also significantly enhanced our spiritual wellbeing,’ says Patience. ‘We are now a happy and flourishing family.

‘I have realised there is no one in this world who is born to be poor, but that poverty is a state of mind caused by lack of knowledge, and therefore it’s never too late for anyone to realise his or her dreams.’

Dear God,
We praise you for this amazing change in the lives of Patience and her family. Thank you for creating all people with the potential to do great things in and through their lives, and the lives of others. We celebrate your church, through which your love and transformation can flow; and we pray for all those around the world still longing for the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty. In your name we pray, amen.

Powerful, permanent change like this can only happen with the regular support. Thank you to all who support Tearfund with regular giving – If you feel God has blessed you during the last year you may feel led, to give thanks by giving a one off or regular gifts to Tearfund. Your giving makes the transformation of lives like Patience’s possible.

See www.tearfund.org or have a chat with me Mandy McIntosh (at fair2all or by phoning 01530 417286 shop)

Tim Phillips, 01/01/2019