"I have been reflecting on community transformation in relation to the parable Jesus shared likening the Kingdom of God to a mustard seed growing from a small seed to a huge tree that provides shade, food and a resting place 'to birds of the air.' He also likened it to yeast in Mathew 13:31-33.
Every time I visit communities in Northern Uganda, I’m encouraged by small adult literacy groups and savings and credit groups that are growing faithfully and changing the lives of families and whole communities. These men and women are bringing hope and life just as the Bible says about the small Mustard seed, growing and becoming 'a tree, so that the birds of the air can come and perch in its branches.'
One of these groups, the Abalokweru adult literacy group, started in 2004 and grew from a class of 20 adult learners to a bigger 'tree' that is spreading hope and life in the larger community. In 2004, our partner, the Diocese of Lango with support from CRWRC (now known as World Renew), responded to a request from this community to start an adult literacy class.
'We started learning under a tree,' one participant says. 'But our class also became a place we could fellowship and share the word of God each time we meet.' On Sundays, the group members would also talk together as they walked the three kilometers to the nearest church for worship.
'As our number grew, we thought, why don’t we build a church here?' One of the learners donated some land to build the church. That church now has 103 regular worshipers. The church members have mobilized the community as well and established a preschool with 47 children that is run by community members in the church building. 'Our children do not have any nearby school and since we know the challenge of growing up without knowing how to read and write, we decided to establish our own school here at the church.'
The adult learners in the Abalokweru literacy group have also established village savings and loan associations that have grown to more than 90 community members who meet every week. Group members save and can then borrow between $20 and $100 (US Dollars) for small scale business development."
What mustard seeds has God planted in your community?