The Kingdom is Here!
June 22, 2009
The Right to a Healthy Community
by G. Stephen Goode
Some Pharisees asked Jesus when God’s kingdom would come. He answered, “God’s kingdom isn’t something you can see. There is no use saying, `Look! Here it is’ or `Look! There it is.’ God’s kingdom is here with you.” Luke 17:20-21
What do the values of the Kingdom of God look like in a country where freedom of religion is restricted… with a government that is Communist… where the International Fund of Agricultural Development (IFAD) reports that 17.7 % of the population of 86 million people live on less than 1 US dollar per day … or where women have less education, little voice and fewer opportunities than men despite bearing heavy responsibilities?
YWAM team leader JR meets regularly with government leaders and local families in the Southeast Asia nation where she serves. Their goal is to assess the needs of the community, with the people who live in the community, and to empower them to pursue solutions. This is what Kingdom living looks like there…
…Animal excrement flowed openly through the village in one of the most polluted communes I have ever seen. JR and her team showed families how to turn this awful situation around through the use of more than 800 bio-gas units. Clean stalls for animals prevent disease and provide free methane gas for cooking. Other villages are learning from them as women and children save hours every day by not having to cut and transport wood.
…The team is also committed to influencing local families through early child care and development, whether their children are in school or not. The local preschool teachers organise concerts about early childhood care where the whole community takes part. Most of the village turned up for a recent concert where humour was used in songs, skits and dances to address difficult issues affecting families in the area. JR was delighted when the teachers came on stage in their beautiful national dress, singing, “YWAM is investing in our future. YWAM is helping us care for our children!”
…In a rubbish-strewn village which seemed to be beyond help, it was the village drunk who had a solution. He shared about his dream of making this village a clean village. I simply encouraged him in his dream while JR and the team facilitated a model of waste management which turned this into the cleanest village in the area, profiled on national TV. The village drunk is now a respected man who has shown the power of a dream being fulfilled.
JR recently had lunch with high government leaders from her nation and the nation in Southeast Asia where she serves. Their conversation was about the poor, women and children and the vulnerable and about what JR and YWAM are accomplishing as they champion the dreams and ideas of local people to help alleviate poverty in this country.
When I visit JR and her team, when I meet with government officials and community leaders who want to help their nations, I see the Kingdom of God has come and is coming. Through Kingdom living people feel valuable and empowered and they become a part of the process of improving their own lives. A simple idea but one that Jesus modeled.
Steve Goode is YWAM’s International Director for Mercy Ministries.