Social Change and the James 1:27 Trust

Probably the greatest lesson we are leaning is that it takes time to bring about change. Measuring impact is also a lot more complicated. But what we know is that when we are relationally present and have contact in a community, family and in a child’s life, we can bring hope. What this means is being physically present, listening, opening our hearts to feel and to share whatever resources we have. There is something transformational in being available to God to be His eyes, ears, heart, hands and feet. However, the greatest difficulty is to be His voice, to be a prophetic call to action proclaiming Isaiah 58 and Mathew 25, encouraging, enabling, facilitating and warning people that they have an obligation to focus where the Lord is focusing. The Greek and Hebrew languages make no real distinction between the words for justice and righteousness. Logically therefore if the Kingdom of God is about, righteousness, Shalom and joy then surely Shalom and joy require justice. Therefore as we relate to ourselves, each other, and our community and society, we need to be righteous meaning to act justly. What this means of course is that we no longer are living a life of self-realisation, accumulation and being upwardly mobile, but rather one that is sacrificed in order to realise Christ. Giving away rather than buying more and using ones knowledge, wealth, influence to come down the social ladder. Just as John the Baptist in preparing for Christ’s first coming called for the sharing of two tunics, “if you have two tunics give one away”, we in the social justice space are also preparing for the Lord and saying if you have two tunics give one away.

This simple act of obedience has meant that we at the Trust can share in carrying the heavy load of other community development partners. A recent breakthrough is in Zama Zama, an informal settlement outside greater Tshwane, where 197 families live and struggle for survival. Our community health partners from the University of Pretoria have identified malnutrition among the children at 40%. This tragic indicator is of course symptomatic of other systemic problems. But the God we serve is not just compiling base line statistics, He has enabled the funding of a school for 50 pre-schoolers which is probably the most beautiful school I have seen. Simple, yet beautiful. It carries hope and speaks of the heart of the Gospel. We also now in partnership with community orientated health care workers and specialists, building our own contribution to the rest of holistic care. Emotional, physical, social, psychological and spiritual care is happening, with many partners involved. From a nutrition project and emergency supplements to food gardens to boreholes and solar generated pumps to community meetings and attempt at income generating activities. Complex, fragile and fraught with relational challenges we go on week by week believing that our service no matter how modest can be used like the 2 fish and 5 loaves making a difference. Those of you that make this possible. Thank you!. Also remember that our income mobilisation is based on word of mouth and getting those that give to find others to give as well. Just as I have asked you and you have kindly responded, please ask others. Some will always ask questions and never give, others will be cynical and justify their indifference, but there will be those that will say yes. Unfortunately we have to experience the whole gambit of responses, to find those that say yes!

Social Change and the James 1:27 Trust

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