This year, our theme for Prayer and Self Denial is ‘Made New’. We asked a few of our overseas team what being made new meant for their community. Below Helen, who serves in South Asia, shares her reflections:
When I hear the phrase Made New in my context, I think of transformation.
But how can anyone be transformed/made new, when life is a struggle and there is no work? How can they hear about the one who loves them if they are hungry?
There is a scripture that says:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. James 2:14-17 NIVUK
I regularly encounter women and their families whose lives have been transformed since beginning work in the freedom businesses in our area. I work in one of these businesses – freedom businesses are about transforming the lives of women and men who are trapped in poverty and/or prostitution.
When people work in one of these businesses they receive more than economic security. Transformation occurs physically in better health. Social transformation happens when they are free from shame. Now they enjoy the dignity of earning a good wage to pay for food and rent. Transformation happens in the family when their children are educated.
When they encounter Jesus they are made new. This is where spiritual transformation occurs.
One of our businesses has 700 women on the waiting list for a job. Before more women can be employed, the wonderful weaving already done by those who work at the business, must be sold. There are thousands of hand woven scarves waiting to be sold. Please do what you can to promote this...in doing so you become part of their transformation story. Scarves can be purchased from marketplacers.co.nz.
Helen and her husband John serve with Tranzsend in South Asia.