In Central Asia
One Collective | May 8, 2018
At One Collective, we are committed to coming alongside people and communities long-term. We believe that in order to care for a person well, we need to focus our work on needs that are economic (food), physical (freedom), and spiritual (forgiveness). Doing this takes listening well and building meaningful relationships over time. Below, one of our community leaders in Central Asia tells a story about how caring for a community's physical needs eventually lead to spiritual transformation.
“Our work takes place in an area with roughly 20-30 villages spread throughout a valley. Each village is home to 300-1500 people, and one of the greatest physical needs in the area right now is access to clean water. Many people get their water directly from open canals or rivers which carry diseases, but many of these villages have clean springs nearby with no way to access the water. We partner with another NGO who helps these communities cap these springs and create pipeline systems that lead back to their homes. We’ve been gradually working our way from one village to the next, equipping each village with the tools and design to make these projects happen. By providing access to water we not only meet this critical need but also begin relationships that allow us to care for other needs (physical and spiritual) over time.
Two years ago, we were having talks with a particular village in a different valley order to start a drip-irrigation project. During our talks, we built relationships with some key leaders including a woman named Martha. This particular village had two sides, and she was the leader of one half. During these talks, we learned about her family and her history with faith. She was a mother to a son and a daughter named Laura who has been in a wheelchair since childhood. Martha and her family are from a Muslim background. Although they had heard about Jesus, they had never known that He came to die as their Savior.
During this time, our team was finishing a 40 day fast, asking God to move in the villages where we were doing work. We were invited to Martha’s house on day 40 to break our fast and talk more about our upcoming project. We had been praying for Martha and her daughter Laura throughout. On the night of the fortieth day, I woke up at 3 am and prayed, asking God for a sign that He had heard us during the fast. I experienced a dream in which I saw an earthquake. I knew clearly that the dream was a sign that God had heard me.
That evening, our team went to Martha’s house. While we were there, we decided to pray for healing for her daughter Laura in person. After we prayed, we sang a worship song and as we were singing, there was a literal earthquake in the room. Walls were shaking and rattling, and afterward, I stood in awe, remembering my dream earlier that morning. Laura (Martha’s daughter) came to know Jesus shortly thereafter and has become one of our greatest advocates in that community.
We kept praying for Martha. We knew she had already experienced transformation in her family, but there was something keeping her from Jesus personally. One year later, as our team finished up a 21 day fast, we were invited back to her house where she shared with us about a dream in which Jesus had appeared and spoken with her. She told us that she asked Jesus where He had been, and He responded: “I have been here, but you have not let me in.” She shared with us that she had decided to let Jesus in. She and Laura have continued to seek growth in their relationships with Jesus and are now considering beginning home-groups in the village where they will share their faith with others!
For us at One Collective, this is a great example of what can happen when we stick with people long-term. Coming alongside whole communities