Walking in another's shoes

Understanding povertyZambia

By Tearfund’s Lucy Dunne

The glorious, warm Zambian sun beats down on the leafy green trees as David Temfwe, director of the Jubilee Centre, welcomes us and smiles warmly. We’re standing in the grounds of the Jubilee Centre’s offices in Ndola, a far cry from the small house where the charity began nearly twenty years ago.

Founded in 2000 by David’s father in his family home, the Jubilee Centre may have grown in size, but their vision has always been big. With a passion to equip the local church to address poverty, they work to raise up and support leaders to work out God’s justice in local communities. As we chat, David shares how working with Tearfund volunteers has been a key part of this mission.

One church
‘For us, the global church means different cultures interacting, growing, challenging and empowering each other. It would be very easy for us to simply ask Tearfund to send money or donations to support our programmes. However, hosting Tearfund volunteers is so important in our vision to be part of God’s global church, and can go even further than donations.

‘Many people living in impoverished areas of Ndola are used to being overlooked. They never get any attention from people in government. So when volunteers give up their time and money to work in the poorest parts of the community, it reflects Jesus’ heart.

‘Jesus went into the darkest places and wanted to spend time with those who were seen as the lowest people. When volunteers do the same it reminds people how much value they have in the sight of God, but importantly it also reminds them that they have something to give.

‘When teams leave they are able to explain how much they have learnt from Zambian culture; from the people, the worship and the way we look at God, community and love. In Zambia we are often consuming content from the western world. But when volunteers share all they’ve learnt from us, we are reminded that we have something to show other people.’

Changing together
Talking to David is a reminder that through sharing experiences and taking the time to understand others, people are changed. But the impact isn’t just local. David explains the changes he also sees in the volunteers themselves.

‘When teams come and experience life here, it’s very rare that they aren’t impacted and changed. Some people even describe it as being ‘wrecked’ because their lives are never the same again. Often they’ve seen the effect of poverty on television or in the news reports, but when you walk with people who are barefoot – not because they like the feel of the sand on their feet, but because they don’t have the money to buy shoes.

‘For us it's an opportunity to grow people's mindsets and help them understand what poverty looks like. When volunteers return home, they have a different outlook on people and situations.

‘At the Jubilee Centre we are really passionate about getting boots on the ground, and having people actually go through what we’re going through. We want them to feel the reality of the situation for those living in poverty, because that’s what solidifies what Christ did on the cross. Jesus wanted to bring cultures, nations and peoples together under one banner. When we understand each other’s joys and challenges we are united. That’s what really transforms the church.’

PLEASE PRAY

Father God,

Thank you that we are part of one global church. Would you strengthen your church, and replace any division with unity and love.

Bless the work of Jubilee Centre, and all our partners around the world as they work through the local church to tackle poverty. Thank you for the opportunity to volunteer and spend time learning from and supporting our brothers and sisters around the world.

Amen.

Find out more about volunteering with Tearfund.