When we’re talking about poverty, transformation and empowerment, what really makes a World of Difference? Is it simply full bellies where before there was hunger? Or is there more?
Claude lives in Rwanda. Inspired, supported and encouraged by Tearfund’s local church partner through a self-help group – a programme where people work together to build their faith and grow their resources – he’s gone from unable to afford food and education for his children, to a respected man with his own home. His family has plenty to eat and there is enough money to send his seven children to school.
It’s a wonderful story of practical transformation. People need food and shelter. Children need access to learning. Parents need ways to provide.
But there’s so much more than cash and clothes to truly seeing a World of Difference in people’s lives. We were created in and for relationships – with the Father and with those around us.
Freedom to the captives
Claude was in prison.
For 12 years, in a Rwandan jail, he paid the price for his involvement in the 1994 genocide. His government, in the interests of restoration, began to offer people like him an opportunity to be pardoned and return to their communities. Claude confessed to what he had done, apologised sincerely and was released.
It didn’t fix things. The bars and locks were gone, but he wasn’t free.
‘It was very difficult,’ says Claude, ‘because in me, I thought I had no right to go and stand in front of the person whose family member I had killed… When I was released from prison, yes, I was free because I was at home, but really, in my mind, I was still in prison.’
Claude’s wife bore the brunt of his guilt and unhappiness. He mistreated her and drank heavily, using up the family’s food money. People from our local church partner became aware of his situation and invited him to come to a meeting.
So Claude went. He says it was as though the message he heard was written for him.
The pastor was sharing from Luke 4:18.