Enjoy Your Marriage reaches Mozambique!

The Community of Fusion believes that people don’t do their best at work if they’ve got problems at home.  That is why Timoteo Bila and Ibrahimo Hamido, the HR staff, integrate family building sessions into their regular work training programmes.  The Community of Fusion is a Christian grouping of companies and enterprises serving the people of Nampula, Northern Mozambique and especially reaching out to the many small-scale farmers in the name of Jesus.

In 2014, Timoteo and Ibrahimo with their wives Sara and Carmenica visited Family Impact in Zimbabwe to see how our materials and programmes could help them in their family ministry.  The couples went on an Enjoy Your Marriage weekend at Shalom Campsite and enjoyed the experience.  They are passionate about building strong families and marriages.  As well as including family in training and development at work, they now run regular Enjoy Your Marriage weekends for the staff and their community.  Their goal is to enable 125 married couples to come on a weekend in 2016.

 

Timoteo & Sara

Timoteo & Sara

Ibrahimo & Carmenica

Ibrahimo & Carmenica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When David Cunningham visited Mozambique in June, he was able to attend the third Enjoy Your Marriage weekend for this year and was very impressed. The seminar was run over a Friday and Saturday and everything was excellent – romantic atmosphere, well-presented talks, time for the couples on their own, quality meals and refreshments.  It is not surprising that those who attended thoroughly enjoyed it all.  Two more weekends are planned this year. It is exciting and encouraging for Family Impact to provide materials and training to organisations who are then able to use these to strengthen families and marriages in their staff and communities.

 

Here are some encouraging testimonies from couples who attended the June Enjoy Your Marriage weekend:

 

DiasDias, working at Novos Horizontes: “We had a lot of misunderstandings in our marriage and we learnt a lot about COMMUNICATION. We discuss new ideas now and make our decisions together. From my last salary we went out and bought building material together, we have never done something like that before. We are enjoying making choices together!”

 

 

 

Agostino

 

Agostinho, working at Mozambique Fresh Eggs: “I did not know WORDS had such an impact! I have realized I can use affirming words to build up my wife and family!”

 

The Intentional Family Business

Equipping Families and Small Businesses in Africa to be Productive and Profitable

We’ve been searching for a title for what we’ve been calling our ‘family in business’ training series. As we’ve been finalising the facilitator’s manual, a theme began to emerge, which was one of intentionality.

Intentional is an adjective meaning ‘done with intention or on purpose’ or it is ‘an action performed deliberately and consciously with awareness’. So you don’t fall into success. You don’t run a home accidentally, you don’t keep a marriage or partnership together accidentally and you don’t build a successful, profitable business accidentally.

intentional successful

A family that is in business together needs to know their values and goals, to manage their time and money, to practice and develop emotional intelligence, both at home and in the business. And you cannot do these things if you are not intentional about doing so.

The series of 6 trainings provides a lot of information, tools and tips for people to digest and implement. But most of all it asks people to think – really think – about what it is they are doing in their family and in their business and why they are doing it. And then to do it intentionally, or on purpose. Because family shouldn’t suffer at the hands of business and business shouldn’t suffer at the hands of family.

This course is not for the faint hearted – it digs deep and it touches two things that are very personal – family and livelihood. But the rewards of being intentional about developing both your family and business are worth it.

At Family Impact we desire to see people experience the fullness of life, freedom and wholeness that comes from being part of a strong family. Which is why we are so excited about the potential for The Intentional Family Business to impact the millions of families in Zimbabwe and beyond who run businesses together.

If this excites you, why not support us? Click here to donate: every donation makes such a difference!

Family Culture and God’s Unchanging Principles

Did you know you have a family culture? Your family culture is the unique way your family forms itself in terms of rules, roles, habits, activities, beliefs etc. You might not think of it in those terms, but even as small children we learn that when we visit other families, even other households in our own extended family, that things are done differently in different households. In some families, dessert is only served when they have visitors, while others eat ice cream every night. Some families have robust discussions about any and every topic during dinner, while in others only minimal small talk happens during a meal. When you’re young these different rules are sometimes confusing, but sometimes it’s exciting, cause the rules at grandma’s house are usually a bit more flexible and involve more treats and TV!

These are mostly meal-time oriented examples, but the differences we see in families are found in all areas of life, including money, discipline of children, TV watching, birthdays, Christmas traditions, division of household chores and the list goes on. How your family does each of these things is what makes it uniquely your family.

universal principles

Now, one of the reasons families are so unique is that the Bible doesn’t have a list of specific do’s and don’ts around every single detail of life. Nowhere does it spell out who should get served first at meal times or what type of conversation should be had over the evening meal. But what we can see in the Bible is that God has universal and unchanging principles for marriage, family life and relationships. There will be differences in the way these principles are worked out in different cultures but the foundation remains unchanging. It is these principles and how they can be worked out practically in families to bring wholeness and fullness of life, that we want to share and teach through everything we do at Family Impact. We are passionate about seeing families in all their differences and variety thrive, and in doing so, to transform their communities and nations!

Chosen and Trusted to Father

Question: Why did God choose Abraham?  Answer: To be a faithful father!

“The Lord said, ‘I have chosen Abraham so that he will direct his children to keep the way of the Lord’” (Genesis 18:19). The Bible is the story of Abraham’s children. We still talk of Father Abraham today. Trusting God and fathering his children were Abraham’s lasting contributions to the world. Bringing up his children mattered more than caring for his camels and his gold.

father

Could the same be true for fathers today? Our children and our children’s children will live on long after our camels and gold are forgotten. ‘Children are a heritage from the Lord.’ (Psalm 127:3). If the Lord has blessed us with children, fathering our children has to be an important part of our life job description.

God our Father has trusted us with the big task of fathering. On Father’s Day let us commit to give serious time and attention to becoming the best father for our children. We will never regret it.

What is your faith vision?

familiesglorifyGod
Throughout this month on social media we have been sharing on the importance of having a vision for your family and your marriage. But not just any vision; a vision that’s based on God’s plan for families and marriage. We have been sharing bible verses, quotes and articles to help you think and pray about what God’s vision for your family and marriage is. Having a vision helps you keep focused, gives you a goal and helps you work out what you need to be doing as a couple and a family to achieve that vision. And as you pursue this faith vision, your marriage and family will be a blessing to all who you come into contact with and you will shine a light for Jesus.
As Family Impact we have a vision for the families, communities and nations of Africa: God is for family and we desire to see people experience the fullness of life, freedom and wholeness that comes from being part of a strong family. One family living God’s way may seem unimportant, but hundreds and millions of godly families will bring a flood of blessing to Africa and the world. Malachi 4:5-6 says “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the Lord arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.” (NLT)
So we invite you to join us in this adventure into bringing God’s big plan for families to the households, communities and nations of Africa!

What is a Real Man?

This is an important question and it is one being asked around the world in a number of forums and campaigns. Many are secular, but there are also plenty of Christians talking about the topic. Let’s take a snapshot of some of the big campaigns:

  • Men Care is a global campaign focused on fatherhood from the perspective of encouraging and equipping men to become active, equitable and nonviolent fathers and caregivers.
  • Front Page Father is a media campaign in South Africa that ‘aims to create awareness of the value of involved fathers and to empower men to become more involved in the lives of their children and families.’
  • HeforShe is a major UN campaign for gender equality fronted by celebrities such as Emma Watson. The campaign takes the position that gender equality is a man’s issue just as much as a woman’s issue, with both genders benefiting from a more equitable world
  • Restored is an international Christian alliance working to transform relationships and end violence against women. They ask the question – where is the church and where are men in ending violence against women. They also highlight that violence in women happens in churches too.
  • There’s even a jewellery & accessory chain for men called William Henry in the US who are running a ‘what is a real man’ campaign. They produced a great video challenging the stereotypical response to that question.

Now, William Henry is running this as a marketing campaign, likely to connect with and broaden their customer base, but it shows how pervasive and relevant this question of ‘what is a real man?’ really is. As you look at these campaigns (and there are many more), there are so many positive things being advocated for. There is a significant push for paid parental leave for men as well as women. There are initiatives to encourage and equip fathers to be more actively involved in pregnancy, birth and child raising. There are many initiatives addressing gender based violence, which is not limited to men, but they do form the vast majority of offenders.

At their heart, all of these campaigns are asking questions and attempting to give answers around the identity, roles and stereotypes around being a man, or a real man, in today’s society. And many also seek to address the negative and destructive behaviours that often stem from or are justified by these stereotypes.

William Henry state in their campaign that it’s a complicated subject. And yes, it is, but at the same time it isn’t. It’s complicated because no two men are the same, because we all bring our own worldview and experience to the issue, because our world is so much more global and connected, and because there has been centuries of stereotypes and assumptions. And some will argue that even the helpfulness of the term ‘a real man’ can be debated.

Fullness of life

But for us at Family Impact it’s also not that complicated…..

At Family Impact we believe that the family is core and that God’s plan for family can transform individuals, families, communities and nations. Our desire is to see people experience the fullness of life, freedom and wholeness that comes from being part of a strong family. But over the past couple of years we have been challenged by the fact that when we offer trainings on marriage and parenting, which is core to what we do to build strong families, we struggle to get men in the room. We believe this is related to both the format of the training and the content. It’s not that men don’t care about their families or about their role as men in their family and community. But they often feel that they are being made out to be the ‘bad’ parent or spouse. The one who doesn’t care enough, or spend enough time or express their feelings enough. Yet often they are really feeling the pressure to provide for their families in what is an extremely challenging economic environment. And they would probably love some help, encouragement and inspiration in their role as a husband, father, colleague, son and friend. But they just don’t want to sit in a room and feel like they are being ‘lectured’ or ‘talked at’ about it and they especially don’t want to be pressured into attending by their wives.

real-man-champion

So after much thought, prayer and planning, Family Impact decided we needed to add our voice to those around the globe who are inspiring, challenging, equipping and encouraging men to be the best son, father, husband, uncle, friend and colleague they were made to be. In February this year we launched the Real Man – Living the Life of a Champion campaign. It’s a digital campaign focused on men in Africa, with a dedicated Facebook page and a section on the Family Impact website. The campaign has its own brand and tone and it draws on Family Impact resources and messages. But at its heart, it’s inspiration for what defines a ‘real man’ comes from the one place where we all can go to find our identity and learn who we were made to be – God’s word. We bring these messages in a variety of packages – we share good stuff that others are writing, we generate content ourselves, we interview men to give them an opportunity to share their wisdom and experience and we are encouraging men to write content for us. And we have a bit of fun while we do it.

Some may argue that there’s already enough being written on this topic, but for Family Impact we see a gap in Christian organisations speaking into the lives of African men and reaching them through the digital space with a message on God’s plan for family and men’s role in family and communities. We are passionate about our strategic plan goal of reaching 1 million men, women and children in Sub-Saharan Africa with the message of God’s plan for family by 2019 and the Real Man campaign is a big part of that.

To find out more or support the campaign, visit the Real Man page or contact us here.

Living as a First Man Standing – addressing Gender Based Violence through the church

At Family Impact one of our great privileges is to partner with other organisations to deliver projects that benefit local communities and churches in Africa. Often these projects involve taking resources that were created in the ‘west’ and contextualising them so that they can be used effectively in Sub-Saharan Africa. This might involve changing the stories and examples to things that are more relatable or adjusting the content to address different cultural norms or beliefs.

The most recent example of this has been a project addressing gender based violence with our partner from the UK, Restored. Restored is a global Christian alliance that is working to address the issue of violence against women. Particularly they are asking ‘where is the church, and where are the men when it comes to ending it?’ The church has enormous influence and coverage in communities and this is particularly true in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet we don’t really see the church or men speaking out on the issue of violence against women. In fact, as our current project highlighted, some church leaders have very little awareness and understanding of the issue, and even if they do, they are not equipped to help the church take the lead in addressing it.

At Family Impact we desire to see people experience the fullness of life, freedom and wholeness that comes from being part of a strong family, so the opportunity to help the church address gender based violence is something we jumped at the chance to be involved in.

Restored and Family Impact have partnered to mobilise the church and men to address this serious and pervasive issue with a pilot program in Kenya and Zimbabwe. In the first phase, a group of pastors, church leaders and Family Impact staff held a workshop in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe to contextualise the church pack produced by Restored in the UK for use there. The result is the Living as First Man Standing training manual for churches and church leaders in Sub Saharan Africa. Drawing on material on relationships between men and women previously produced by Family Impact, and the teaching and practical tips for churches in the Restored training pack, the training seeks to highlight the issue of gender based violence in our communities and churches, provide biblical teaching on the topic and challenge and equip the church and men in particular to speak out and address the issue.

LAFMS

The material was then trialled at two pilot trainings; one in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe and the other in Nairobi, Kenya. Pre and post training questionnaires revealed that the training had a significant impact on the church leaders and pastors who attended. For instance, prior to the training there was an assumption that domestic abuse is mainly physical, however this expanded post training to include many other forms of abuse as being domestic abuse. Those who attended were very keen to take the material back to their churches to train others as well as to make changes to the way in which their church provides support for those who are victims of domestic abuse. In Zimbabwe there was even consideration of establishing a 24 hr counselling and conflict resolution centre staffed by local pastors. While sparking plenty of healthy debate and discussion, the material itself was very well received and some good feedback from the trainers and participants will allow improvements to be made before the final version is published.

Restored and Family Impact are now actively planning a broader roll out of the Living as a First Man Standing training to churches and church leaders in SSA.

To find out more or support this project, email Family Impact.

Trent Vineyard Gap Year Encounter’s Zimbabwe

Lydia and Zach are serving at Family Impact for 6 weeks as part of the Trent Vineyard UK Gap Year program. Lydia is doing some writing for us each week, so we hope you enjoy…..

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As a foreigner coming to Zimbabwe, two things have come to my attention: 1) don’t drink the tap water and 2) everyone here (or at least at Family Impact) is genuinely passionate about what they’re doing despite having comparatively fewer people, and quite a lot less money than a UK charity of a similar size.

As an international volunteer, I get to spend time with Lynne and learn about the range of organisations she (and Family Impact) have their hands in, as well as see firsthand how Lynne’s objectives of supporting grassroots organisations, raising leaders and building bridges plays out in reality. One of the organisations Zach and I get the opportunity to help out with is Encounter Kids’ Club, run by Hlulani Clauke.

Founded just last year, Encounter Kids’ Clubs have reached over 1,000 children across Zimbabwe through in-school classes, after school clubs and summer camps, all with the aim to allow kids to have fun while learning about Jesus.

Zach and I went with Hlu to the Western Suburbs and Tshabalala last Saturday to help out with 2 kids’ clubs. Despite the (painfully) early morning and a kombi ride (14 seater commuter bus) that really took human contortion to new levels, it was amazing to be a part of something so exciting. We had about 20 kids between the ages of 2-10, and entertained them with games, crafts and songs about the Bible and God’s love. And while it was quite funny to run around after a bunch of kids who spoke little English yet still had a persistent interest in my hair and trainers, it was genuinely lovely to watch these kids respond to songs about Jesus and Scripture through games and songs. A few kids in the second club who definitely put me to shame on my Scripture memorisation! Hlu’s passion for these children and her heart for seeing kids come to know and experience Jesus is the driving force behind all of the 7 clubs Hlu oversees; armed with little more than a few songs and balloons it was incredible to help support Hlu in bringing light and joy to these kids even if only for an hour and a half each week.

Zach from Trent Vineyard helps out at one of Encounter's Kids Clubs

Zach from Trent Vineyard helps out at one of Encounter’s Kids Clubs

Encounter Kids’ Clubs is an example of an organisation supported by Family Impact, and Lynne is so excited to see it grow and flourish in the hope that it continues to reach thousands more kids. If you are interested in volunteering at Family Impact with people like Hlu at Encounter, you can send us an email here.

Written by: Lydia Bernard-Brooks

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Why not financially support the work of Family Impact through giving? Even small, regular amounts make a huge difference to our work. Click here for giving options.

#FirstManStanding – Bible Studies for Men

Our partner Restored is producing a series of Bible Studies as part of their First Man Standing campaign:

  1. Masculinity and Identity
  2. Men and Relationships
  3. Men Relating to Women
  4. Life Partners

If you have any feedback or want to know more, visit the Restored website or contact us at Family Impact here.

Family In Business Training

In the last 12 months we have been working with various members of Family Impact in Bulawayo to build a set of materials called Family In Business.  It’s about families running businesses together. We have 6 modules, most of which have been facilitated and rewritten about 3 times each, and it is really starting to take shape!  We have been training predominantly chicken farmers at Higrow Business School in Bulawayo. This is a fantastic and fun opportunity, which will enable us to let this material go to the wider Turning Matabeleland Green farmers across Zimbabwe later in 2016.

intentional-success

The basic premise behind this series was to really think about how families in Zimbabwe run small businesses together.  So it tackles things like: running your home verus your business.  How to define roles in your business as a couple, and how that translates to your home.  How to manage children, who you might “employ” in your business, and the ramifications that can have when everyone goes home at night.  And for the most part, this is exactly what this training has done.  But with one unusual development – Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence was not the main topic when we started to conceive this training and put it together, but it became a central theme.  We realised that Emotional Intelligence in the people we are training, and in fact throughout most of Zimbabwe, is incredibly low. People are so unaware of how their emotions affect and drive decision making, how to manage that process, understand the deeper issues and then read those challenges in other people.  In recent studies across the corporate world there is lot of information that points to CEOs with a high EQ are actually more likely to succeed than those with a high IQ and little social awareness (read one article here).

As we embark on finishing the development of this training series on Family In Business (ideas for a better title are very welcome), we am seeing again and again the importance to emphasis: you are the same person at home as at work.  Therefore, things that stress you at work will come home, one way or another, and the same the other way around.  In fact, it is possible that your work stress affects your family a whole lot more than you realise.

We are looking forward to sharing with you the final set of modules and training on this, for you to read through and test in your location.  The thinking behind this training is not rocket science.  It is just finding ways to articulate the incredible benefit of doing business as a family, of managing and growing your family and your money in ways that help your small business succeed, as well as the rest of life!  So far with the 50 or so people who have gone through this training, the result has been overwhelming: “This training has helped me understand that I need to be as proactive in my family as my business.  They are interrelated”.

So, what have we learnt? Well, people are not aware that family affects work.  And they are not aware that the stronger the family relationships are at home, the better their business will do – whether they are employees, employers or owners.  Strong families have an incredibly positive and proven impact on profitability.  So. You want to make more money?  Invest in family: both your own, and those of the people you employee.

family_business-money-cut-outs

You can find more of the Family Impact resources in the resources section of our website and we encourage you to download them and use them for free!