After years of getting to know the Christian blogging community, I knew they could tell powerful stories, and I wanted them to know Tearfund’s.
I knew that we were so proud and confident about the work we do that we could take bloggers there, let them loose and ask them to say what they see – in their own style and in their own voice.
So after more than a year of plotting and planning, three brilliant bloggers are finally in Uganda seeing for themselves the many ways the church is changing lives. Bex Lewis, Dave Walker and Liz Clutterbuck are visiting churches and communities and living alongside people in poverty in a community called Ogongora, and others nearby.
See For Yourself is an initiative I’ve talked about quite a lot on Big Bible. It’s Tearfund’s way of allowing supporters to journey with a community in Africa, Asia or Latin America as they donate regularly. They will see for themselves the ups and downs of development in action and exactly how their money is being spent. Using the power of technology and social media, supporters receive films from the community, along with monthly prayer updates and news via email or mobile phone.
In 2011, I was lucky enough to be able to go and visit the same community in Uganda that Liz, Bex and Dave are in right now. Just like them, I had invested time before the trip watching their videos, reading prayer updates and absorbing as much content as I could about these people before I met with them in person. When I arrived in the village it was like I already knew them.
Richard, who used to drink too much and is now a follower of Christ and valuable member of his community. Grace, a widow left with eight children who has finally learned how grow enough food for her family. Moses, a 12-year-old football-mad boy who lives in constant fear of malaria, and wants to be a doctor someday.
I knew this people before I met them. People who live in the most rural, remote parts of the earth. People who Tearfund is helping to help themselves. Because of the amazing power of our digital world.
Through a digital initiative like See For Yourself we can really get to know people and communities who need our help, yet have so much to teach us.
Not everyone will be able to travel to these remote places and meet with the poorest communities to learn about what life is really like for them, but technology is providing us the next best thing. It’s providing the opportunity to look poverty in the face and say “I’m with you, I understand”.
I am so incredibly proud of Liz, Bex and Dave out in Uganda this week – enduring weak wifi, dirt track roads and African heat to bring back beautiful reflections and insights into our work. Their talent and creativity can help reach people in the UK and offer them a chance to connect with poverty like never before, and it’s so encouraging to see people interacting and engaging with them while they’re in the field.
Liz, Bex and Dave will be in Uganda until this Sunday, 3rd March, and are still updating like mad – so keep up with them over at www.tearfund.org/bloggers, use the hashtag #tfbloggers and show them your support on this amazing journey.
Click on this image to keep up to date with the team!