Communities of Grace
Today there are 37 Life Groups in Uganda. This is thanks to a number of people we’ve got to know over the last year. Each one of them has come to us in a different way, but in every case, we’ve provided them with Village Journey, our Life Group pioneering course, and encouraged people to study with friends.
Through a church leader in Northwich, we met Deus and Richard. We were introduced to Victor by New Thing, a fellow mission organisation. Bwambale reached out to us after seeing our website, and we reached out to Cosma after finding Oasis Uganda online. Through these friendships we are seeing others pick up the idea of Life Groups and apply them to their unique circumstances.
Here is the story of one of the men mentioned above who has helped start some of them.
Victor Muhumuza, a trained social worker based in Kampala, Uganda had been in a church for a long time when he noticed that many people attending were not spiritually mature; they weren't growing in faith or reading the Bible. He felt called to do something about this and began helping villagers start Discovery Bible Studies, where they could learn God’s Word and consider how it effects their life.
We introduced Victor to the concept of Life Groups, and he was greatly encouraged to hear how Dignity works. Using our pioneer training course, Village Journey, he’s been able to identify a few missing pieces from the groups he has helped start. He’s always had a heart for the poor and the suffering. The idea of Life Groups has helped him see how he can bring people together to bring about change. He has seen churches oppose new things so he loves the idea that a Life Group unites the Christians so that they may expand their love for others.
‘Life Groups are small communities of grace, appreciation, comfort, refuge, healing, and unity’ he said. ‘Life Groups are arenas for people to know and be known, to value and be valued. Believers in Jesus Christ learn how to turn strangers and even enemies into friends. Friends practice authenticity, acceptance, kindness, patience, and sacrifice. Good friends support and enrich each other. They raise up new leaders, uphold others who are suffering, and serve others in the community. They find ways to serve and be served in tangible and personal ways.’
As well as adding strength to the Bible study groups he had already planted, Victor is now helping villagers to start groups with the principles of Life Groups from the very beginning. He is supporting two women from the Lyantonde district. Constance is a teacher and can reach out to the corporate class and Christian leaders in her location. Sylvia is younger and can reach out to the least educated, uneducated and youth in her community.
‘I have learned that Life Groups create a space for people to intentionally share their lives with others, grow spiritually together, and encourage each other through the highs and lows.’
This is a great example of the influence Dignity has been able to have on others doing similar things to us, and how we’ve enabled them to strengthen work that was already happening.