We believe in Africa and the Caribbean. That it is the Global South’s time to rise, take a stand, and lead. We know that those who the world labels as poor can be surprisingly rich. We’ve seen God at work when local church and community leaders recognize the abundance Christ has given them and openly share it with others.
Since we were founded over 27 years ago, Life In Abundance has always been focused on empowerment and sustainability in the communities we serve. We have never been about handouts, but instead want to give people in need a hand up so they can take ownership of their own transformation and true, lasting change can take place. The Lord has already provided all of us with everything we need to live rich, hope-filled lives. We just want everyone to know and experience this.
Yet for a long time, there was a disconnect between this message that we firmly believed and how our work was resourced. When we reflected on the state of our organization, we realized we were deeply dependent on the Global North for our financial needs. We started dreaming of what it would look like to strengthen resource mobilization within our program countries and challenge the communities we serve to assess what they have been given by God and how they can openhandedly use those gifts to meet needs around them.
Today, we are aiming for 40 percent of our work to be funded and resourced through our 14 program countries and we have seen generosity grow in the 59 communities we walk alongside. This year, over 1,090 people have gone through our Seeds of Generosity training where they’ve been inspired by all the ways the Lord is generous and challenged by how the Bible calls people to give sacrificially.
Through this focus on generosity, here are a few recent local resource mobilization stories where we’ve seen God moving and transforming lives:
Leaders in Burundi
Pastor Julien in Burundi represents the impact LIA’s training has had. After going through the program himself, he started teaching his church and now they are implementing many projects that allow the church congregation to give to their community. In July, the church raised money to support 38 leaders from poor areas to attend their national leadership conference. The church leaders were amazed at how ready and willing people were to help with the need. Another opportunity allowed church members to serve 150 prisoners though support.
Financial Discipleship in Egypt
In Egypt, Pastor Jamal started a weekly sermon series on financial discipleship and the congregation began a practice reminiscent of the early church in Acts. The church placed blue and green baskets in their sanctuary. When people would come to worship, they’d bring items like rice, tea, and bread as offerings to put in the blue basket. Items for community use would be transferred to the green basket and at the end of the service people in need could freely receive provision.
Rwanda Rabbit Rearing
Youth running clubs in Rwanda are also learning the value of generosity as many children have participated in a rabbit rearing project. They are taught responsibility and use their free time to care for their rabbit farms and assist each other. When one of the children needs school supplies or money for education fees the group sells some of the animals to generate income. Through reimagining what giving can look like and encouraging all those we walk alongside to be people who sow generosity with the seeds they have, we’ve been grateful to see how God has blessed and expanded the work of his people.
“All of us have something that we can give to advance the kingdom of God. We can impact a community through planting seeds of generosity.” – A Pastor In Jamaica
This year, gifts have looked like sewing materials and medicines, meals served, grants from foundations, offerings from churches, volunteered time, prayers, one-time donations and monthly commitments, smiles and kind words and ideas and so much more. We are so grateful for every act of generosity that continues to spur on God’s kingdom work. Our joint generosity across the globe truly breaks chains and spreads hope.