Object: To explore the meaning of Lent and how this season can be used to help others.
What do you think this video was about? What happened to Jesus whilst he was in the desert? How do Christians remember this time? What is this season in the Church calendar called?
In the Christian church, Lent marks the time when Jesus spent time in the wilderness, fasting – not eating - thinking about the path that he wanted to take in life and, the Bible says, being tempted by the devil. Luke's Gospel says: ‘Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and at the end of them he was hungry.'
To mark this idea of trying to resist temptation and fasting, many Christians try to give up something for Lent such as chocolate, meat, sweets, takeaways etc.
The SEED Project This year ‘The SEED Project’ are challenging you to give up something, which saves you money, and then donate the money to empower those who have no luxuries to give up. SEED helps Zimbabwean communities to work themselves out of poverty.
What SEED does The SEED Project works in communities in Zimbabwe where unemployment, ill health and hunger are high, and opportunities, hope and education are low. SEED empowers disadvantaged communities to meet their own needs so that they do not have to rely on financial and practical aid given by others.
Examples of SEED’s impact 1. Skills Development Unemployment in Zimbabwe is around 90%. Many people drop out of education and become trapped in a cycle of poverty. In 2009, SEED started a skills development programme. Training includes basic business skills.
Examples of SEED’s impact 1. Skills Development (cont.) Skills taught include carpentry, electronics, welding, banking, basket weaving, bicycle servicing, and shoe repair. Trainees use their new skills to earn an income, even employing and passing their skills on to others. Their income enables them to afford proper housing for their families and to send their children to school, all while making a valuable contribution to their local communities.
2. Market Gardening SEED equips village families to maintain wells and raise crops that are highly marketable and possess rich health benefits.
3. ‘Little Stars’ Play-Centre SEED helped a church in Zimbabwe to set up a pre-school for local children.
4. Health Education Campaigns In 2009 there was a cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. SEED worked in 24 communities to train 280 women as peer education volunteers. These volunteers reached an average of 260 families each with basic messages about hygiene, healthy living, disease prevention, and what to do if they or a family member got sick.
SEED has helped so many people... but wants to help even more! Changed Lives SEED taught Constance how to make polish and household cleansers, which she sells in the market. With her earnings, she is now able to send her children to a better school in the city and look after her extended family better. Granny Prisca is a 79-year-old widow who cares for her three orphan grandchildren. SEED taught her some basic business and agricultural skills. Now, she is able to feed her family more nutritious meals and market vendors come to her in the hope of being able to sell her produce!
Small Change Challenge This is where you can help! Traditionally, people give up something for Lent. This year, how about making a small lifestyle change that will make a big difference in the wider world? Then, donate the money that you save - for instance, by giving up chocolate - to The SEED Project to help empower people in Zimbabwe who have no luxuries to give up. Lent 2015 begins on Wednesday 18th February and finishes on Saturday 4th April.
A few ideas Walk to school - ask your parents to donate the bus/fuel money to SEED. Pocket Money Exchange – instead of buying sweets/magazines, try going without and donating some of your pocket money to the work of SEED. Meat Free Mondays - ask your parents to donate what they would have spent on meat to SEED.
Small Change Challenge Every little helps! For people who have very little and who live in poor countries like Zimbabwe, even a small donation can make a big difference! Just £2.50 can give a family a tree in a community woodlot that will provide them with fruit and seed, firewood and building materials for years to come. The cost of skills training for one parent is £100. So, for the price of just a second class stamp each day (53p), SEED can train two parents in a year.
Reflection Task On your SEED – Consider what lifestyle change you might be able to make this Lent and write it down. On your LEAF – Write what you hope your seed of change may grow into for example sending a child to pre-school, training a carpenter etc.
For more information visit seed-project.org/SCC