I am Deaconess Febby Chela, trained as a full time Church Worker at the United Church of Zambia University, in Kitwe Copperbelt province. I work with youth, women and the vulnerable and also preach the word of God. Training for Transformation (TFT) has helped and enhanced the way I understand and work with people in various ways.
Changes Linked to TFT
Through TFT Training I have learned many things and changed my perception and understanding of issues in the community and through change management which says that change begins with me, then the community. For me to help along with change, I need to be clear of my intentions and know that all things are connected.
TFT has taught me the importance of participation in all things we do. Previously, projects were imposed on people but now they decide on them. This has made people appreciate the church for making them part of decision making processes. Personally, I have learned to pay attention to people’s challenges with empathy by attentively listening to them.
The knowledge I gained at TFT helped me to organize community meetings aimed at sensitizing people about the dangers of drug abuse, early marriage and alcoholism. We have seen positive change and some people have confessed that they have stopped the abuse of their children because of what they learned. One of the youth who participated in our meetings admitted that he used to abuse alcohol but now he has reformed, got employed and has become active in the church and community. He told me: “mum our community meetings which we hold has improved my wellbeing and has made me understand the danger of alcohol abuse, hence I have stopped.”
When I left TFT I decided to implement a process of Gender Reconciliation where men and women should be partners in their work, be aware of their behaviors and respect each other as men and women and in addition see the importance of each other’s views positively. Previously women’s views were usually underrated, now they are being seen as important views in the development of the church and the community. Now we have women who have been voted into influential positions such as chairpersons, secretaries and treasurers. This is a positive development towards equality.
The Covid-19 Pandemic
Covid-19 created fear in the church and in the community at large. At first the meetings we used to have were reduced and also the number of people. Later I reduced the number of people who attend the meeting by increasing the number of sessions at different times. Our church introduced two services per Sunday to achieve social distancing, sitting one meter apart. All the people who attend are required to wear face masks to reduce the risk of infection as per health guidelines. We managed to continue our work by going around the challenge of Covid-19.
I used to struggle with people’s failure to understand the value of working together – there was too much division/ disunity in the community. The skills I acquired from TFT helped me to overcome these challenges. I learned to approach people differently, using positive body language and utilizing listening surveys.
As a Church Worker, I find pleasure in working with the community. In church I do God’s work with fellowship members. Spiritually I am built for this and continue to grow.In the Community outside Church, I interact with people whom I encourage to be self-reliant and build confidence in them and they also encourage me to be a community leader. We have achieved beautiful things together.