The Word of God- the Power to Transform People and Societies

The Word of God- the Power to Transform People and Societies

By Hideo Kanda, Director of Friends with the Voiceless International

●This article has been featured on the January 2013 issue of New Life Ministries’ Tsunagari newsletter

I have learned many valuable lessons over the past 30 years, serving at the Christian NGO that we started out of a desire to provide those in poverty and to be an answer to the prayers of Japanese Christians for the Lord to ‘provide the daily bread’ for those in need.

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In times of crisis, it is crucial to provide food and supplies for those in need. However, I have unfortunately witnessed firsthand how providing supplies for people over a long period of time can create a ‘dependency’ mindset, where people lose the drive to work, and they consequently draw further away from becoming independent. Just providing for those in need with money and supplies does not ultimately solve the heart of the issue when it comes to hunger.

In the Book of Acts, Chapter 3, when Peter and John met a man who could not walk since birth, they told him, ‘Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you’. They knew from their own experience that money cannot buy a real solution to the problem. What they shared with this man was the healing that they themselves received when they met Jesus and were touched by His Word.

エチオピア伝道師と

With an Ethiopian evangelist

A ‘Hopeless’ Worldview

In the 1980’s, I worked for my first relief program in a village in Ethiopia that was facing severe food shortage, with most everyone in the village nearly starving to death. Without question, the first response was to provide emergency food supplies. The Muslim village was gripped by this notion that the state they were in was their fate, as a punishment from Allah for the sins that they commit. The feeling of ‘condemnation’ seemed to be covering the entire village. Although we wanted to share the Word of God to them, since it was a Muslim village, it was not permitted. We decided to obey and focus on the Bible’s calling to simply serve our neighbors.

The Biblical Perspective that Changed a Village

Over time, people started asking us why we are acting so kind to them. Even in a Muslim environment, as long as we are asked a question to answer, we are free to give a response. It was from there that we were able to share about the Gospel and what Jesus had done in our lives. When they started to understand the values we presented from the Bible, there was change in their hearts; they started to have self confidence. They found the true meaning of being valued as God’s creation. Their attitudes started to change, and they became more active in improving their lives. A true ‘sharing’ of lives started to happen in the village. Others saw the change in their lives and started reaching for it themselves. Soon the whole village was transformed. I give glory to God after hearing that currently, there are 35 new church plants in this village.

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